CHNC - National Nurses CHNC - National Nurses

Opening Keynote: Caring, Connecting and Leading for a Healthy Canada

Dr. Stuart Skinner, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan, Division of Infectious Diseases

Susanne Nicolay, RN, BA, BScN, ACRN, Clinic and Projects Coordinator, Wellness Wheel, Inc.

& Community Member, Name to come


This keynote session will offer a unique and innovative approach to providing care in Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. The majority of First Nations communities in Saskatchewan lack equitable and adequate access to primary and chronic diseases care within community. Further, access to care may also be a challenge in the context of jurisdictional boundaries, systemic racism, the systemic barriers which stem from colonization and the inherent lack of trust in both the system and providers.

Since 2011, Dr. Stu Skinner has been working directly with Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan to provide culturally safe, accessible care and treatment predominantly focusing on HIV and hepatitis. In 2016, several primary and specialist providers joined Stu with the intent to provide high quality care directly within community, utilizing a community-led, community-driven approach to care. Susanne joined this group, Wellness Wheel, in the late fall of 2016 to support the coordination and provision of care.


The Wellness Wheel is an independent, non-Indigenous non-governmental, non-profit organization,   providing clinical care, support and treatment dedicated to the unique needs of Indigenous people living on reserve for multiple First Nations. This program utilizes a client centered and community led approach to reducing health disparities in a culturally safe environment.


Through innovation and commitment to true partnerships with community, relationships develop and trust ensues providing opportunity to improve care and treatment uptake to reduce disparities and improve outcomes for Indigenous people.


This session will outline the Saskatchewan successes of health care providers in engaging with community, and working with community utilizing a community led approach. The session will further outline how Wellness Wheel ensures that its responsibilities related to OCAP Principles are met and maintained, that the Calls to Action as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report are acknowledged, addressed and implemented as a matter of course, and that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples remain central in the delivery of culturally safe care in Saskatchewan Indigenous communities.