Introducing… an aboriginal outreach coordinator

Introducing… an aboriginal outreach coordinator

Glenn Checkley is an aboriginal outreach coordinator. He has been with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for less than one year. Glenn is the link between the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program (HNHB) and the Indigenous community.

What do you love most about your role?

As far as what I am doing today, it’s more about what I don’t love. There are so many ways the regional cancer program already works in Indigenous communities. I’m excited to help develop that work in the region, which takes a collaborative approach based on the mutual goals of each community or group.

What do you find challenging?

Waking up in the morning. All joking aside, every job comes with its challenges. Though I might struggle to keep all the plates spinning, I enjoy the balancing act. There are some long days and evenings, but they are always rewarding.

I establish relationships with the local Indigenous population to promote the importance of improving health outcomes.

Describe a typical day.

I establish relationships with the local Indigenous population to promote the importance of improving health outcomes. My main objective is to encourage and support increased cancer screening in these areas. This means implementing various engagement strategies that recognize the unique needs and interests of different Indigenous groups. As it is a relatively new role – and only one of five in the province – every day is different, challenging and exciting.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.

In partnership with the Reclaiming Well Being: Cancer Free Lives Committee, the HNHB co-hosted the ‘Stick it to Colon Cancer’ health event in March. Our team worked hard to plan an exceptional experience that blended collaboration, community engagement, community empowerment, community education and cultural connectivity. We wanted to encourage residents of the Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the New Credit territories to make cancer screening part of their personal wellness journey and self-care routine. Over 200 participants visited, and many took the opportunity to talk to a doctor about their health-related questions. For a new employee, this was a great experience and the event was a huge success.

We want to encourage residents to make cancer screening part of their personal wellness journey.

Describe how you use social media in your work.

Social networks allow me to stay connected to the community without relying on just email, texting or word-of-mouth. It makes community activity much more visible, which is super helpful when trying to reach out to our regional program. I mostly use Facebook to develop relationships, increase awareness of local news and events and, ultimately, encourage more people to go for screening.