Standing together for Truth & Reconciliation
"On Friday, Sept. 30, Canadians will mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Together, we will acknowledge the harmful legacy of colonialism, including the residential school system and the work we must continue to do as a country toward a better future" - IH President and CEO Susan Brown
Interior Health podcast
Please join podcast hosts Tracy Mooney and Jade Chaboyer-Kondra for a conversation with Kukpi7 (Chief) Willie Sellars about Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Serving as Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) Chief since 2018, Chief Sellars also sits on Interior Health's Board of Directors.
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If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health – you’re not alone. Learn how to access different support services and access helpful resources. Reach your local Mental Health Centre for community-based supports by calling 310-MHSU (6478).

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Stories@IH

Stories@IH

Community & Culture
It is now recognized nationally, marked by the colour orange. But Orange Shirt Day has deep-seated meaning for Kukpi7 (Chief) Willie Sellars of the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) – because its roots are entwined with the horrific history of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) and Canada’s dark legacy of residential schools. Many children from WLFN, along with children from Ulkatcho First Nation, Mt. Currie First Nation and other First Nations communities were forced to attend St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School. Their stories, and the stories of children who attended residential schools across Canada, are now being told – and remembered every year on Sept. 30, now known as Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Chief Sellars recently discussed the Sept. 30 days of recognition on Interior Health’s Interior Voices podcast. "Intergenerational trauma is a real thing," he says. "What are we doing to address the intergenerational piece, break the cycle and start seeing healthier families and communities?"
2 Minute Read
Community & Culture
Name: Madison Waddington (she/her/hers) Job Title: Ultrasound Technologist Years of Service: 10 Worksite: Royal Inland Hospital Community: Kamloops Ancestral Territory: Secwepemc / Shuswap Interior Salish Advice to live by: Live your life to the fullest; we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Madison Waddington is an outgoing, energetic ultrasound technologist. She works at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) in Kamloops, the city where she was born and raised. “I first got into the medical field because I was following in my dad’s footsteps to become an X-ray technician.”
2 Minute Read
Community & Culture
The other day, Jered Dennis heard something alarming – in one South Okanagan secondary school, it was estimated that at least half of the students vaped. “Now, this was an anecdotal story,” says Jered, one of Interior Health’s tobacco and vaping reduction coordinators. “But behind the story is likely some kernel of truth, and that’s concerning. It reinforces to me the importance of talking directly with young people about smoking, tobacco use and vaping.” But how can a group of adults working in health care do that effectively? The teen audience typically doesn’t travel the same social media circles as people in their parents’ age group. This prompted Jered and his Tobacco and Vapour Reduction teammates to think of new ways they could spark conversation with youth. The result was a new poster contest called Take A Breath: Teen Voices on Tobacco & Vaping. Starting Oct. 1, youth living in the Interior Health region in Grades 8-12 will be invited to submit original artwork that shares a message about the impact of youth smoking/tobacco use and vaping, inspired by one of the following themes: The importance of ceremonial tobacco for Indigenous traditions, and how it differs from everyday (commercial) tobacco use Important facts about smoking/tobacco and vaping products Tobacco and vaping companies’ strategies to promote use Impact of smoking/tobacco and vaping on my life Environmental impact of smoking/tobacco and vaping The contest judges will be teens from the McCreary Centre Society Youth Council, which means the entries will bear the acid test of whether people in the teen age group can relate to the poster messages. A winning poster will be chosen for each of the five themes, professionally printed, and offered to schools for display throughout the Interior Health region as well as in IH hospitals and health-care centres. More importantly, by virtue of coming from youth artists, their messages will hopefully resonate more with people in that age group. “Youth know better than adults about youth smoking, tobacco use and vaping,” say Priscila Nabuco, who works with Jered on the IH Tobacco and Vapour Reduction team. “It’s important to hear youth voices and views on how smoking and vaping impacts them and their friends, and also their families, schools and communities.” Adds Jered: “Through this poster contest, we want to create opportunities for conversation between teens and their peers, and also with their parents and teachers, about smoking, vaping and tobacco use. And that, ultimately, young people will educate themselves, so they can make informed choices about nicotine use.”
2 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
A whole new language has been introduced to our daily conversations, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Words and phrases like variants, mRNA vaccines, and rapid antigen testing have become commonplace as we have learned about coronavirus and how to keep ourselves safe and healthy from the disease. And now a new set of words has entered the local lingo – monovalent and bivalent vaccines. So what exactly do those words mean? We asked Kristiina Smith, an immunization specialist with Interior Health, to help us better understand these terms, which most people will start hearing more about as invitations for COVID-19 booster shots begin going out this fall. “Simply put, a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine targets a single strain of the virus, while a bivalent vaccine targets two strains,” Kristiina says. “The booster shots you’ve had previously have been monovalent – targeting the original COVID-19 virus. This fall, the booster is a bivalent vaccine, formulated to attack both the original virus and the Omicron BA.1 virus which we’re seeing more of in our communities.” For this fall’s boosters, Health Canada has approved the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for use as a booster dose for people 18 years of age and older. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine with two strains available in Canada, and is expected to provide better protection against the Omicron variant that is making people sick in the community. Kristiina says vaccines that target more than one variant of virus are not new. In fact, your annual flu shot is usually a trivalent or quadrivalent vaccination – targeting the three or four strains of influenza that scientists predict will be most prevalent in our communities during respiratory illness season. “Because viruses change over time, it’s important that we continue to get our booster shots for COVID-19 and for the flu when they become available,” she says. “That’s how we’ve been able to resume our day-to-day lives, like attending sporting events, school events like graduation and music concerts. It’s all about establishing immunity for your community.” Learn more: For information about COVID-19 vaccinations for those over age 11, visit our COVID-19 Immunization Clinics page. For vaccination information for children, visit the COVID-19 Children Under 12 Vaccines page. Register for vaccinations in the provincial Get Vaccinated system.

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Interior Health at a Glance

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834000+

Population
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4800+

Hospital Volunteers
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23000+

Staff
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1900+

Physicians