Where are you From? Reframing Facilitated Admissions Policies in the Faculty of Health Sciences


  • Danielle N. Soucy McMaster University
  • Cornelia Wieman Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada




Understanding that Indigenous learners can face specific barriers or challenges when pursuing higher education, schools and programs within McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences have facilitated admissions streams for Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) applicants. The intent of reframing admissions policies is to provide equitable access while aligning with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, specifically Number 23. This work explores the development of an Indigenous-determined Facilitated Indigenous Admissions Program (FIAP), a self-identification policy that moves away from the politics of mathematical blood quantum to nationhood, community, and seeing the applicant as whole being. Further, it critiques (for example) medical school admissions as biased, in that they often replicate an elite and narrow segment of society. It also addresses how interpretations of decisions like Daniels v Canada, which speaks to the rights of Métis and non-status Indigenous peoples, are communicated or miscommunicated within emerging population groups in terms of rights and their potential relationship to admissions.

Author Biography

Cornelia Wieman, Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada

Canada’s first female Indigenous psychiatrist (Anishnawbe – Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Manitoba). In January 2018, Nel joined the First Nations Health Authority in BC as a Senior Medical Officer, Mental Health & Wellness, in the FNHA’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer. From 2013-2018, she was a staff psychiatrist at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, in CAMH’s Aboriginal Services Unit, Tele-psychiatry Service (Northern Psychiatric Outreach Program), Crisis Clinic and General Assessment Clinic. Since 2016, Nel has also served as the Faculty Advisor to the Indigenous Students’ Health Sciences Office at McMaster University. Prior to this, Nel was a member of the Clinical Support Team at YWCA Toronto’s Elm Centre providing psychiatric services to over 100 women living with serious mental illness and addictions, and was a special consultant to the Chief Public Health Officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada. From 2004-2011, she was the Co-Director of the Indigenous Health Research Development Program and an Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Nel began her career by providing psychiatric services at the community mental health clinic on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory (1997-2005) after completing her medical degree (1993) and while completing her psychiatry specialty training (1998) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. In February 2013, Nel was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. (Bio from IPAC website) 

President, Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada