May 29, 2023 – Thunder Bay, Ont.
Lakehead University’s Holly Prince has been selected to receive the Inclusion Vanguard Award at the annual Canadian Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award Ceremony on June 1 in Toronto.
Prince is an Anishinaabekwe and a member of Opwaaganisiniing in Northwestern Ontario. She has a master’s degree in Social Work and is a PhD candidate in Educational Studies at Lakehead University.
She is the Lead for the Indigenous People's Health and Aging Division at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health at Lakehead University, where she works as a Project Manager.
A part of her role involves planning, implementing, and evaluating palliative care education and research for Indigenous peoples across Canada.
“I am extremely excited to have been awarded this honour and to be part of a community of such impactful leaders whose contributions help make Canada more equitable, diverse, and inclusive,” Prince said.
Her research focuses on decolonial and Indigenist education, Indigenous health, and community-based research. She has devoted the last 20 years to advancing the right of Indigenous peoples' access to culturally appropriate and equitable palliative care and has mobilized her efforts as a national champion of human rights and dignity for people at the end of life.
“I feel humbled and extremely responsible as an Indigenous scholar, ensuring that my work responds to community needs and contributes to more equitable health care for Indigenous peoples,” she said.
“I want to say miigwetch to my colleagues and peers who nominated me. Knowing that I have their support and dedication makes me a better person and makes the journey such a positive and rewarding experience.”
Prince’s work is guided by Elders and Knowledge Carriers and responds to the identified needs of Indigenous communities. It acknowledges that Indigenous peoples must lead the way forward in developing approaches to caring for people at the end of life to achieve equitable and culturally safer care.
“It was an honour for me and the team at CERAH to be part of the national group who nominated Holly for the Canadian Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award in the category of Inclusion Vanguard 2023,” said Dr. Katherine Kortes-Miller, Director of the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health at Lakehead University.
“Holly is a courageous Indigenous woman and a powerful health equity activist, role model and changemaker focussing on accessing health services, especially palliative care, for Indigenous people across Canada.
“We are proud to work with her at CERAH and are grateful for the unique contributions she makes to the Lakehead community. It is fabulous to see her work and contributions recognized with this award,” Dr. Kortes-Miller said.
Prince also works closely with the Canadian Virtual Hospice, an organization that provides support and personalized information about advanced illness, palliative care, loss, and grief, to people living with illness, family members, healthcare workers, educators, and researchers through a web-based platform.
She is the Project Lead for the Indigenous Voices: Stories of Serious Illness and Grief project. With guidance from a national Elders and Knowledge Carriers Circle, resources on living with advanced illness, dying, grief and advanced care planning were developed to educate and empower patients, families, and communities.
A series of learning modules were also created to enhance healthcare providers’ capacity to deliver culturally safer care.
Prince will travel to Toronto for the ceremony with her husband and Dr. Mary Lou Kelley, a retired professor and researcher who Prince has worked closely with.
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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2023 World Universities Rankings for the fourth consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 10,000 students in THE’s 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.