Q&A with Marion Crowe - CEO First Nations Health Managers Association
- | November 05, 2020
Marion Crowe, a citizen of Piapot First Nation, was the founding Executive Director and now Chief Executive Officer of the First Nations Health Managers Association. With Covid-19 sweeping our country, Marion and the folks at the First Nations Health Managers Association have been hosting weekly Facebook Live seminars for health workers on reserves across Canada. We are impressed by her passion and sent her a few questions about herself and career to help introduce her important work to the rest of Saskatchewan. Enjoy
How did you get into the health management field?
My career in health management started with a summer student posting at Health Canada, Medical Services Branch, now known as Indigenous Services Canada, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. For our younger readers, stay positive, you never know where life will take you! I was pushing a mail cart and working in Finance in my humble beginnings. I worked in the Federal Government, all in Indigenous Health in: Finance, Administration, Policy, health services accreditation, e-health in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Ottawa Headquarters. This is where I learned about health human resources and found my journey and home in health leadership administration with the First Nations Health Managers Association. I was with the Federal government on an Interchange Agreement to support the building of this organization as the Founding Executive Director. As the current Chief Executive Officer, I have never looked back. I am home here with this FNHMA Family.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
The most rewarding aspect of my career is in working with nations and communities to support quality and equitable health services across turtle island. I have seen many nations and have learned the stories of resiliency, challenges and heartbreak. The commitment, dedication and honour in serving. There are so many amazing leaders who are humbly serving their populations with grit and heart. Seeing the success in others and supporting them in finding their voices and inspiring confidence is the most amazing part of my job! I once called a health director to tell them they have achieved certification through FNHMA. It was a Friday at 4:00 before the long weekend, the health directors later admitted that they didn’t want to pick up that call, could only be bad news… as I began to tell them the good news the person started to cry. I knew right then and there that I was home. This person needed that news. This person was recognized amongst their peers and obtained a national certification by us and for us. These are the moments I remember when I am having a bad day or tired. That is why I love what I am privileged and honoured to do.
What are the main things we can do as a community to improve our health outcomes?
There are many things a nation can do to improve our health outcomes. From my perspective, we have to prepare for the evolution of health services to our own control. Prepare and enhance leaders with the competencies, skills and abilities to lead our own organizations. We can prepare health and wellness plans, know the social determinants of health and how they contribute to our nations. Celebrate our own inherent knowledge while balancing management principles. Weave our First Nations values, teachings and culture into all aspects of program delivery and governance. While doing so we need to remember to incorporate our leaders of tomorrow and recognize the wisdom of yesterday to shape better tomorrows.
Who are your role models and why?
Growing up in the Federal government gave me access to many role models, I look to my family leaders, I look to people like Dr. Valerie Gideon who is an amazing trailblazer in Indigenous health leadership. Women like Carol Hopkins and Brenda Restoule…. Those making impacts at the community level and nationally. Women who have owned their spaces at leadership tables and have spent their lives dedicated to supporting wellness! Women who are inspiring, challenge you to grow, do better and who give their lives to serve. I hold up and celebrate all the other First Nations leaders who serve and thank them for their generosity, knowledge and commitment. And to all the other health managers and directors, I thank you for your commitment to take the journey with FNHMA in achieving your certification.