Native students health sciences co-ordinator appointed


McMaster has appointed a native students health sciences co-ordinator in its Faculty of Health Sciences to develop a partnership with the Aboriginal community and enhance opportunities for Aboriginal students.

The new co-ordinator, Cornelia Wieman, will work with the Faculty and the community to liaise with Aboriginal students, help develop curriculum relevant to those students and raise the profile of Aboriginal health care issues within the Faculty. Her duties address the recommendations of a McMaster University task force on Native Students in Health Sciences Programs.

Wieman is Canada's first and only practicing aboriginal woman psychiatrist. She practices at St. Joseph's Hospital as a psychiatric emergency consultant and also devotes a great deal of time to a clinic on the Six Nations Reserve.

Wieman completed her psychiatry residency at McMaster University in 1998. During her residency, Wieman played a prominent role in developing the Six Nations Mental Health Services in Ohsweken, Ontario. She played a leading role in developing the chief resident position in emergency psychiatry at McMaster.

“During my first year of medical school I joined the Native Physicians Association and soon realized that the best contribution that I could make to native health would be in family medicine or psychiatry,” Wieman said.

Wieman has received several academic and research scholarships and was elected chair of the native mental health section of the Canadian Psychiatric Association in 1997. She is a band member of the Little Grand Rapids band in Northern Manitoba and grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The participation of the Faculty is an extension of the existing relationship with the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster. The position is funded through the Ontario government's Aboriginal Education and Training Strategy.