Nicole Yawney accepted the Canadian Impact Award

Celebrating Excellence for Paediatric Indigenous Health Care

Youth Indigenous Wellness Consultant, Nicole Yawney, receives the Children’s Miracle Network Canadian Impact Award.

With a listening ear, a helping hand and an abundance of expertise at the ready, Nicole Yawney connects Indigenous children, youth and families with Mental Health wellness and Traditional healing at Children’s Hospital.

This connection can be a simple conversation or a nature-based fidget toy, the offering of an Indigenous book, games, an invitation to create ribbon skirts, dreamcatchers and most importantly access to ceremony and the four sacred medicines such as sage, cedar, tobacco and sweetgrass.

Nicole incorporates Traditional ways of healing into the care Indigenous children and families receive. She hopes to cultivate a space of safety and comfort that honours Indigenous identity and culture that is not only acknowledged but weaved tightly into healthcare.

In just ten short months as Youth Indigenous Wellness Consultant, Nicole has made a profound difference in the lives of Indigenous families requiring care at Children’s Hospital. Her positive impact has created a ripple effect in our community. So much so that Nicole is being honoured as this year’s Canadian Impact Award recipient!

Each year, Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations and Children’s Miracle Network of Hospitals honour one doctor, nurse, care giver or team in Canada who has made a significant impact on paediatric care, with their Canadian Impact Award. This year, Nicole is being recognized with this incredible honour! Children’s Health Foundation and Children’s Hospital are thrilled to congratulate Nicole on her life-enriching achievement and thank her for the healing she makes possible!

Every day of her work, Nicole creates an atmosphere of belonging and safety for Indigenous peoples at Children’s. Her expertise, compassion and lived experience helps open doors for Indigenous patients and their families to feel accepted, understood and welcomed in the hospital setting. As Nicole shares, “I realized at a young age how important it is to have someone who shares that lived experience and who can bring culture into care. I am able to bring a traditional lens to a Western approach to health care, which is what I’ve always wanted to do in my life; work with Indigenous populations as an Indigenous person.”

Throughout the year Nicole has made immense strides in building relationships with Indigenous families, communities and organizations in our region, opening the door to incredible possibilities. The support of Children’s Health Foundation donors made it possible to launch and sustain Nicole’s work at Children’s Hospital. Their generosity has helped ensure the best care for more families at Children’s and more hope for our broader community. As Nicole explains,

“When we invest in the healing of a child, we heal seven generations back and seven generations forward. We heal a part of their family, part of their community and their nation. It creates such a ripple effect.”

Together, we are creating a better health care community for our kids and their families.

“Each small show of support and appreciation means more awareness of Indigenous-led care and more impact on the lives of Indigenous children and their families. We are so excited to see Nicole’s hard work and dedication recognized in such a large way,” says Scott Fortnum, President and CEO of Children’s Health Foundation. “We want to thank our supporters for helping to bring this position to Children’s Hospital. Nicole’s role was made possible with support from donations by the Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation, General Dynamics Land Systems–Canada, GE Healthcare Canada, LCBO, TD and our generous community.”

“Ultimately, Children’s Miracle Network’s Canadian Impact Award is an exemplary beginning for Indigenous-led services at Children’s Hospital,” says Jackie Schleifer Taylor, President and CEO of London Health Sciences Centre. “We simply cannot wait for Nicole to continue these meaningful connections that ensure Indigenous children and families feel supported in their care. We cannot thank her enough for her incredible dedication and the meaningful relationships she is helping to build.”

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