We are Women’s offers the WCH community a chance to get to know each other and share our stories.
Name: Selena Mills
Title & Department: Lead, Strategic Communications & Education, The Centre for WISE Practices in Indigenous Health (WCH)
On the WCH team for: Two years
1. What does your typical work day look like?
I wear many hats in my role and throughout the course of the pandemic. Since I work a mix between onsite and remotely (living in Barrie), a typical workday might look like organizing educational events, leading the creation of Knowledge Sharing Hubs (Maad’ookiing Mshkiki Sharing Medicine, Four Directions and More Than Words), or symposiums (virtual now, in-person pre-pandemic), or liaising referrals for Indigenous patients to receive timely access to traditional healing practices and/or medicines or to see a Healer, Elder, Traditional Practitioner or Indigenous doctor. These referrals also include providing concurrent care with Indigenous partners (community, health and educational) for patients and/or learners.
Throughout the pandemic a workday also consisted of working with WCH COVID teams to help ensure culturally safe and trauma informed care for testing and vaccines, working closely with Indigenous partners and WCH pandemic team leads. One of the ways in which we did this was to offer Indigenous Cultural Safety training facilitated by myself, Dr. Lisa Richardson (or Strategic Lead of Indigenous Health at WCH), or with another Indigenous educator; as well as offering waves of San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training certification and also collaborating with WCH’s Community Response Team to host bi-weekly COVID-19 Community Rounds. Aligning with WCH executive to support our partners throughout these challenging times; has been perhaps my biggest stretch in capacity building a nd use of my skills, especially in the in the beginning stages of the pandemic, to support Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong (The Place of Healthy Breathing) and Anishnawvbe Health and the Call-Auntie Hotline through Seventh Generation Midwives.
As a quickly growing program into full department, managing partnerships and projects (internally and externally), has meant a very necessary expansion of our team. These days, my role is more focused on Knowledge Translation Communications, project management for educational events, graphic design, and leading the creation of our soon-to-be-launched Centre for WISE Practices website, Education, Resource & Knowledge Hub and app! I also work closely with our Decision-Making Counsel Elders Kahontakwas Diane Longboat and Banakonda Kennedy Kish Bell and all CWP-IH team members of our team, striving towards decolonizing pathways as we work in a collaborative, non-linear way.
For example, some members of our team just returned from Soul of the Mother Lodge in Six Nations of the Grand River where we held a governance and strategy building retreat with our Elders, as well as convening Solstice and kinship healing ceremonies. Some of the Solstice Teachings with our Elders and sunset Traditional Grass Dance performances were filmed to host a watch party Giveaway throughout this week. We’ll be publishing that across our social platforms so stay tuned!
Everyday, my role is community-centered and one of advocacy.
2. What excites you the most about working at WCH and how does your work contribute to creating a positive patient experience?
Humbly supporting amazing Indigenous leaders and trailblazers to provide culturally safe care is what drives me. Working with learners and non-Indigenous learners and youth is also most definitely my jam. Also, sharing resources and amplifying Indigenous Brilliance as much as we share and teach about Indigenous trauma: linktr.ee/WisePractices
- 3. Tell us one (or three) thing(s) that your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m an avid permaculture enthusiast and used to be a 4 seasons gardener, mom-blogger and artisan selling my wares at markets and the One-of-a-Kind-Show.
- I used to live rough on the streets and in shelters as a teen.
- I’m a damn good cook and charcuterie board master.