OUR HISTORY – SERVING THE COMMUNITIES FOR OVER 20 YEARS
In the early 1990’s an agreement was signed by the North Shore Tribal Council Chiefs to renew and strengthen cooperation amongst the First Nations to achieve community governed quality health care. Research was conducted and the data confirmed that our First Nation population had higher incidences of smoking, alcohol and drug use, chronic disease, and mental health issues, compared with the rest of the Ontario. In addition, the research indicated barriers that limited access to culturally appropriate services, as well as screening and early detection of disease.
In 1995, Health Canada began transferring health promotion and prevention program funding to each NSTC First Nation. At the same time, provincial research was examining Indigenous health issues. A significant recommendation was developed from the research; in order to improve Indigenous health, the planning and service delivery needed to be under the control of the First Nation.
In 1995, N’Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre was developed and received provincial funding under the Aboriginal Healing & Wellness Strategy. The services delivered under this agreement were based on an outreach, collaborative and partnership model with each of the seven (7) First Nations and the Indian Friendship Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
In 2011 N’Mninoeyaa Health Access Centre along with the other ten (10) Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHAC’s) transitioned from the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. This was a move intended to ensure the AHAC’s received formal provincial recognition as Aboriginal primary health care agencies equated to mainstream models of primary health care agencies in Ontario.
In 2011 Mamaweswen, North Shore Tribal Council also established the Baawaating Family Health Team located on the Batchewana First Nation. This move was to expand primary health care services to local and off reserve Aboriginal people residing in Sault Ste. Marie who did not have a Family Practitioner. The creation of a Family Health Team was in response to the wait time experienced by many Aboriginal people living in Sault Ste. Marie when accessing N’Mninoeyaa Health Access Centre services located out of the Indian Friendship Centre. An expansion of the AHAC program was being lobbied at that time, however the only avenue to enhance primary health care agencies was through the creation of Family Health Teams or Nurse Practitioner Led clinics.
In April 2015, the two primary health care agencies – N’Mninoeyaa Health Access Centre and Baawaating Family Health Team incorporated under one entity called Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services. This move was under the direction and approval of Mamaweswen, North Shore Tribal Council Board of Directors. The two primary health care agencies had a strategic goal to obtain formal accreditation and engage in recruitment and retention efforts aimed at stabilizing our human resources.
On June 9th 2017, Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services was awarded a four-year accreditation by the Canadian Centre for Accreditation.