Nurturing our roots toward health and healing: the story of Iiyikinaami (Spirit Helper)*
Oct. 14, 2023
Grey Eagle Resort & Casino
6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Debbie Smith, BN'94
As part of Alumni All-Access, UCalgary Nursing is holding its 2023 Marguerite Schumacher Memorial Alumni Lecture featuring Debbie Smith, BN’94.
On Oct. 14, come celebrate the 10th anniversary of UCalgary Nursing’s Marguerite Schumacher Memorial Alumni Lecture! On this special occasion, follow Debbie Smith, BN'94, Siksika First Nation member and coordinator of Iiyikinaami - Spirit Helper, as she leads you through her personal journey into Canada’s Indigenous health-care traditions and practices.
“Nurturing our roots toward health and healing: the story of Iiyikinaami (Spirit Helper)” will introduce you to Smith, a Blackfoot woman with a 30-year career in First Nations health. She will share the importance of family, relationships, the community and relationship with the land and tell you about Iiyikinaami - the fusing of Indigenous and western ways which will move health care forward for us all.
*Iiyikinaami meaning Spirit Helper is the Blackfoot name gifted to the Indigenous route of UCalgary Nursing’s Bachelor of Nursing
About our speaker
Debbie Smith received her BN from UCalgary Nursing in 1994 and has spent the past three decades working in First Nations Health. She comes from the Siksika Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy and was given the name Apaastaki (“Bridge Woman”) by a Siksika Elder. She learned early on the many issues faced by First Nations people, including those in the health-care system and hopes to make a difference in her new role as coordinator of Iiyikinaami (Spirit Helper) where she will encourage Indigenous students at Old Sun Community College to become proud registered nurses.
Watch the 2023 Marguerite Schumacher Memorial Alumni Lecture
Closing remarks from Elder Herman Yellow Old Woman
Dr. Claire Betker, MN'91
Dr. Claire Betker has been a registered nurse in Manitoba for more than 40 years. She began her career in southwestern Manitoba at a rural single-nurse public health office and has worked in public health, home care and primary health care in a variety of positions and levels at a local, regional, provincial and national level. Claire is currently the Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, hosted by St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Claire completed her Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Manitoba, a Masters of Nursing at the University of Calgary and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Saskatchewan. Her PhD work focused on the capacity for public health leadership to advance health equity in Canada.
She is Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) certified in Community Health Nursing and has held a number of leadership positions, including past president of the CNA and the Community Health Nurses of Canada as well as a past chair of the Association of Regulated Nurses of Manitoba.
In 2019, we celebrated our 50 years of nursing excellence with an alumni speaker from each decade:
Dianne Dyer BN'76, MN'93
Dianne has 43 years of registered nursing experience. She has worked in emergency, trauma, public health, regulatory affairs and now on strategies to address the opioid crisis in Alberta. She is a past board member for the Legal Nurse Consultant Association of Canada and has published articles on trauma care. Dianne served on CARNA Provincial Council and is past president. In June 2014 she was selected as the UCalgary Alumni Distinguished Graduate and has been nominated twice for the AHS President’s Excellence Award. Her passion is nursing excellence, harm reduction, patient safety and support for vulnerable populations.
Pam Nordstrom BN'83
Upon graduating in 1983, Pam began her nursing career in neonatal intensive care and neonatal transport. Following a brief time in adult ICU, she engaged in faculty and higher education administrative roles. She held positions as department chair, director of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, executive director of enrolment and dean of a faculty. Her research has focused on assessment strategies for internationally educated nurses. Currently, she is vice-president, academic affairs at Ambrose University.
Shannon Spenceley MN'93
Shannon Spenceley is a proud mom, sister, aunt and daughter, and a passionate RN — and her Alberta roots are deep. A graduate of Foothills Hospital and the universities of Lethbridge, Calgary and Alberta, she has served as an AARN and CARNA Provincial Councilor, president of CARNA from 2013-2016, senior leader in the former Chinook Health Region and then AHS in Southern Alberta, educator at the bedside and in the classroom, and is currently assistant dean, nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge.
Her research has focused on the nature, prevalence and possible ways to reduce moral distress in nursing caregivers in long-term care settings, as well as on innovative models of community-based primary health care for vulnerable populations.
Derek Luk BN'07
What problem keeps you up at night? For Derek (RN, MN), it was addressing the issue of burnout for health-care professionals. His passion for supporting mental health in the community has been a driving force throughout his career. He also holds an MN from Athabasca University; his graduate studies explore how mindfulness training can promote resiliency in the face of adversity. It also led him to start his company, Mimentra, offering mindfulness programs in the workplace and community. Notable collaborations include Calgary Police Service, Calgary Military Family Resource Centre and UCalgary. He was recognized by Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 and CARNA educator of the year in 2018.
Suzanna Crawford BSc'11, BN'13
Sue holds baccalaureates in Zoology and Nursing from UCalgary. She is completing her Master of Nursing, studying the narrative experience of disability within families. She has a decade of experience in the disability community and is a RN with Psychiatric Emergency Services at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Sue co-founded ENABLE, a social enterprise matching people with disabilities to support workers who invest nearly 1,000 hours with their clients each month.
2018: Dianne Tapp
Dianne Tapp, RN, MN'93, PhD'97
"The Future of Nursing: health, human suffering and everything in-between"
2017: Barb Shellian
Barb Shellian RN, BN’79, MN’83
“They Smell Like Sheep”
2016: Lorna Estabrooks
Lorna Estabrooks RN, MN’97, NP’09
"Serendipity: My Nurse Practitioner Clinical Journey"
2015: Bonnie Johnston
Bonnie Johnston RN, BN’75
"Hope, Help and Healing: One Child at a Time"
2014: Jo-Ann Hnatiuk
Jo-Ann Hnatiuk, RN, MN'01
Celebrating Inspirational Leaders
Steve Chin, UCalgary Alumni