Drew St. Laurent
BA, B.Ed, M.Ed – Senior Operations Manager
Drew St. Laurent, BA, B.Ed, M.Ed is of Métis (Cree) and German ancestry, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Drew grew up in the community of Powell River, British Columbia on (Tla’amin) Coast Salish territory.
Drew holds a Bachelor of Arts (Human Geography) from Thompson Rivers University, as well as a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) and Master of Education (Higher Education) from the University of British Columbia. During his graduate studies, he focused on Aboriginal access to post-secondary education within Canada. Drew has been a primary leader in the area of Aboriginal post-secondary access to education and presented his work to a variety of audiences including post-secondary institutions, provincial and federal governments and health authorities. He has worked as an administrator within Health Sciences at UBC since 2012.
Drew is an active member of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and sits on both the Aboriginal Recruitment and Retention Committee, and the Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellness Committee at the University of British Columbia. He is passionate about advancing Indigenous people’s access to healthcare through education and promoting Indigenous leadership of all aspects related to healthcare.
Associate Director, Education
Leah Walker is the Associate Director for Education at the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. She is of Danish, English and Nlakapamux ancestry and has strong kinship ties with Sto:lo Nation at Seabird Island. She is a mom of an amazing 14-year old, a wife, a gardener, sailor, lover of arts, cook among other passions. Leah is very interested in work that involves community partnerships, cultural safety, and working with medical and other health professionals in developing skills to better serve our communities. She currently leads UBC Summer Science, which brings Indigenous high school students to UBC to explore health careers; the UBC Learning Circle, a videoconference and webinar initiative supporting Indigenous knowledge, leadership and wellness; Aboriginal Health Community Administration Program (AHCAP) with Extended Learning, a one-year program that enhances Indigenous health leadership; and is the First Peoples Theme Lead for Indigenous Health curriculum in the Faculty of Medicine. Her research interests include cultural safety, anti-racism education and she is co-investigator of a five-year CIHR funded grant with partners in New Zealand, Australia and in Canada entitled “Educating for Equity: Exploring how Health Professional Education can Reduce Disparities in Chronic Disease Care and Improve Outcomes for Indigenous Populations.
Shannon Waters is Coast Salish and a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island. After completing medical school at UBC, Dr. Waters went on to train at the Indigenous site of UBC’s family medicine residency program, followed by an additional residency in public health and preventative medicine.
Today, Dr. Waters is committed to improving First Nations health as a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, as well as the Aboriginal Medical Director for the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Acting Aboriginal Physician Advisor at the Office of the Provincial Health Officer.
Learning Circle Manager
Cole is a member of the Chawathil First Nation but grew up in Courtenay, B.C. After coming to UBC from Vancouver Island, Cole completed his B.Sc. in Integrated Science and began working for the Summer Science Program to improve programming, increase public knowledge, and positively impact development of the program. After his final year with the Summer Science Program, Cole transitioned to working for the Learning Circle in his current capacity. In the near future, Cole hopes to pursue an MD degree, specialize in Emergency Medicine, and move his practice outside of Vancouver into rural areas.
Learning Circle Production Coordinator
Cynthia completed her B.Sc. in Combined Major in Science at the University of British Columbia. Cynthia has worked Digital Emergency medicine in the past and now expanding her field in health communication through her new placement at SPPH. Cynthia hopes to inform her community and promote a healthy nation through empowering people with her production and social communication skills.
Program Manager, Certificate in Indigenous Public Health
Rhonda is of Métis and German ancestry and currently resides on the traditional territory of the Tsawwassen First Nation. After completing Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English with a focus on post-colonial literature from York University, Rhonda moved into advocacy work for Indigenous peoples. As a former Chair of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (Kairos) Vancouver, Rhonda headed public education projects such as 500 Years of Resistance and Treaty-making in BC with various organizations. She was also the Associate Director of a unique community-based Master of Divinity Degree Program for Indigenous students at Vancouver School of Theology. As a Coordinator for Self-Management BC at the University of Victoria, Rhonda provided peer-lead community-based health education for people living with chronic health conditions. Rhonda is excited to bring together her passions for health, community-based education, social justice, and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to the work of the CEIH.
UBC 23 24 Curriculum Manager
Courtney Smith is a Scottish highlander from the McLeod clan on her paternal side and is of German ancestry on her mother’s. She was raised on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia on shíshálh swiya* and has strong ties to the shíshálh community and lands. Having completed her Bachelor of Arts in First Nations and Indigenous Studies from UBC with a strong focus in Education, she moved on to work for the shíshálh Nation doing rights and title work for a number of years.
Courtney’s most recent focus has been developing Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) curriculum and facilitating trainings for health care providers. As the Curriculum Manager for UBC 23 24 Courtney is responsible for the maintenance, sustainability and growth of the curriculum in the effort to support students and faculty in teaching and learning about Indigenous Cultural Safety in health care. Courtney is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary studies with a focus in reconciliation and allyship education from the University of Calgary. As a second-generation Canadian settler, Courtney is committed to improving relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada that are based on respect, reciprocity and healing.
*swiya: ‘swiya’ is she shashishalhem (shíshálh language) word for ‘world’. The word ‘territory’ does not exist in she shashishalhem, thus elders, knowledge keeps and government request that the word ‘swiya’ is used instead.
UBC 23 24 Program Coordinator
Levi Gordian, born in Victoria, B.C., is a member of the ʼNa̱mǥis First Nation from Alert Bay, B.C.
After completing his Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies from the University of Alberta, he made the decision to pursue a Master of Public Health at UBC.
As the Program Coordinator for UBC 23 24 ICS, Levi is committed to upstream measures that address the inequitable health outcomes of Indigenous Peoples. By providing future health care professionals with cultural competency training, he aims to bridge this gap.
Passionate about Indigenous health, his broader interests include using innovative and person-centered approaches to substance use.
Work Learn Students
Kahsennaro:roks Maddy Deom
CEIH Summer Science Program Work Learn Student
Kahsennaro:roks Maddy Deom is a second year Environmental Science student and is Kanien’keha from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Quebec. She is a member of the Sustainability Commission of the Science Undergraduate Society of UBC. She is very passionate about preserving the environment with Indigenous knowledge and hopes to get a degree encompassing those passions. She is very excited to work with the Summer Science Program along with like-minded individuals.
Learning Circle Work Learn Student
Caelin Finnigan is an undergraduate Human Geography student at UBC. They are a settler of Doukhobour and Scottish descent from Richmond, BC and Calgary, AB, with familial ties to the Slocan Valley. They live in Vancouver on the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
Certificate in Indigenous Public Health Work Learn Student
Seamus Damstrom is a proud Indigenous Canadian. Seamus’ maternal grandmother is from the Turtle Clan of the Oneida Nation of the Thames. The Oneida Nation of Thames is an Onyota’a:ka First Nations band government located in southwestern Ontario. Seamus was born in a small town in the East Kootenay area (Southeast BC) in a town called Cranbrook. Shortly after he was born him and his family moved up to Terrace BC where they spent nearly 18 years. Afterwards, Seamus decided to attend the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook to begin his post-secondary journey. Eventually, he made it to Vancouver where he is currently studying Dietetics at UBC.
Seamus believes that food can act as a vehicle for storytelling as it is can show the details of who we are, where we are, how we live. Due to the personal nature of food, he is drawn towards dietetics because a dietitian plays a fundamental role in empowering clients, patients and communities to understand, respect and embrace food. Seamus has seen first-hand how food insecurity can affect a community, thus he hopes to work in rural communities, specifically with indigenous populations to advocate for indigenous food sovereignty and increased incorporation of traditional knowledge within the Canadian food system and the field of Dietetics.
Seamus is currently working as the Program Assistant for the Indigenous Public Health Certificate Program at the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. He is tasked with supporting faculty, staff and students navigate through the program. Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
UBC 23 24 Work Learn Student
Madeline was born in Toronto, ON., and is of Tsimshian (Lax Kw’alaams), Scottish, and Irish descent. She is currently a third year Biophysics student at UBC, and is passionate about leveraging science and education to improve the health of Canadians. As the Program Assistant for UBC 23 24, she aids in the facilitation of training for healthcare students in ICS, and works on improving the curriculum and its delivery from many angles. Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers