For immediate release
June 30, 2021
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. is pleased to share that Dr. Barry Lavallee, Chief Executive Officer of Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc., has been named as a 2021 Honorary Fellow by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada.
Dr. Lavallee, along with his colleague Dr. Paul Komenda and team, also recently were the top winner of the UNIVANTS of Healthcare Excellence Award. The team won the award in recognition of their program called “Kidney Check: The Next Generation of Surveillance for Hypertension, Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease.” The program has reached more than 5500 Indigenous Manitoba citizens across 11 communities.
“It is my honour to congratulate Dr. Barry Lavallee on being recognized for his ongoing excellent work in Indigenous health and medical education,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “On Canada Day, I am grateful to know that leaders such as Dr. Lavallee are working to make significant, positive impacts on our communities despite any challenges he has faced during his lifetime. He is a role model for other young Indigenous people who hope to make a difference by pursuing a career in health.”
“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve witnessed the tireless leadership and passion Dr. Lavallee has for advocating on behalf of Indigenous people in Manitoba. I am so grateful and inspired to know such a strong leader who is dedicated to transforming health in Northern Manitoba,” stated Grand Chief Settee.
“Being raised in poverty, pursuing education to enable my career in medicine wasn’t the simplest path,” shared Dr. Barry Lavallee. “The awards are nice, however, what is really important is being able to inspire young Indigenous people with their own educational and career goals. I want young people to know that, despite the challenges we face as Indigenous people, you can be the best in your field. You can rise to the top. Our ancestors who attended and made it through residential schools suffered so that we didn’t have to. I encourage all young people to pursue your education and be the change makers for our communities—we need you.”
“I’ve relied on Dr. Lavallee’s guidance and wisdom for well over a year, especially as much of our focus was on responding to anti-Indigenous racism in health care and advocating for First Nations people to have priority access to the COVID-19 vaccines. I am grateful he accepted the role of Chief Executive Officer for the new health entity Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin as he is a person who naturally inspires others to take action,” said Grand Chief Settee. “I have no doubt that Dr. Lavallee will be successful in his role in transforming health care services and programs for Northern Manitoba residents. I also know he will continue to support and mentor young Indigenous people in the work he does. Dr. Lavallee, you make us extremely proud.”
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]