Island healthcare heroes honoured at conference

From left, Islanders Karen Pitawanakwat and Shirley Corbiere were named among this year’s three Heroes in Health by the Anishinabek Nation.

SAULT STE. MARIE – Two Heroes in Health from Manitoulin Island were named among the three award recipients at the annual Mosaadan Mino Bmaadiziwin (Walk the Good Life) health conference in Sault Ste. Marie on January 21.

Three Heroes in Health were named: Shirley Corbiere, community health representative of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, Karen Pitawanakwat, registered nurse community researcher from Wikwemikong Health Services and Wendy Tyson of Wahnapitae First Nation, the Anishinabek News reported January 22, 2020.

The Heroes in Health award is presented to individuals who help in building capacity in First Nations by empowering members to become more active, healthy and improve overall well-being in First Nations.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare was quoted by Anishinabek News saying of the three award recipients, “they are our team, our family, our friends and an integral part of our communities. We are very fortunate and are forever grateful for the many gifts and blessings they bring.”

“We thank those of you who have taken the time to nominate these individuals for this award,” said Grand Council Chief Hare. “We acknowledge that all nominations are the result of extraordinary care and consideration. All nominees today are recognized in this celebration honouring their long-time dedication and commitment to the health of the Anishinabek Nation.”

Anishinabek News reported that Shirley Corbiere is known for her passion in her work—especially for the community members with whom she interacts. She has been instrumental in providing consistent, relevant services for the community members, particularly the young moms, babies, and elders. Diabetes and high blood pressure are also areas that Ms. Corbiere ensures members are well-provided for, with various activities supporting the education, tracking and prevention of illnesses that can come with these diseases.

Karen Pitawanakwat has extensive nursing experience and takes much pride in the work she puts forward to address the priorities for elders. Her leadership in managing research to support the well-being of the aging population is evident as she responds to evolving trends. Ms. Pitawanakwat takes the time to listen and visit with people. Her knowledge and use of Anishinaabemowin is a true demonstration of respect for people. She will extend her support and offer her input to ensure community collaboration as it applies to offering new ideas to promote community wellness.