As an emerging health systems researcher and aspiring medical student, Teyohate Brant is passionate about bridging the health gaps and working to establish equity for marginalized and underserved populations, particularly Indigenous communities. Brant, a third-year undergraduate student at Dalhousie University, participated in Women’s College Hospital's summer student program this year working with Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care’s (WIHV).
“Growing up in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, I came to recognize the health inequities experienced by my community. For as long as I can remember, I have been unable to drink water from the tap at my home in Tyendinag” said Brant.
Witnessing a lack of access to essential resources, like clean drinking water, as well as high rates of chronic disease within her community lead to her interest in the fields of health and medicine.
“There is a common belief that all Indigenous patients are the same,” Brant explained. “This is obviously not the case. Collectively, Indigenous patients can experience racism and discrimination within the healthcare system. However, I also believe it is critical to understand that Indigenous experiences with the health care system differ.”
For example, the healthcare experiences of patients living on reserve differ from those in an urban setting. For patients who live on the reserve, treatment outcomes may be delayed or negatively impacted because, in many cases, reserves do not have access to health services and important resources
During her internship at WIHV, Brant had the opportunity to develop and advance her research skills in the area of health equity, as well as learn more about potential career pathways and develop meaningful mentorships. Going forward, Brant hopes to further highlight the impact of marginalization and inequity on the health of Indigenous peoples, in an effort to improve health outcomes and demonstrate the diversity of needs within Indigenous communities.