By KA Smith
NORTH BAY – The Medicine Wheel Healthy Way Clinic has been making a noticeable difference since it opened over a year ago.
Over 300 people have already accessed on-going primary care at the clinic situated within the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre.
“Partnering with the Victorian Order of Nurses has been very successful, seeing to the health needs of so many patients in the last 18 months,” the words of Nancy Potvin. She is the executive director of the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre. Potvin knew there was a real need for aboriginals to access health care. “There are not very many family doctors in the community who are taking new patients. We have a growing population that travels down from the north. Many of them come down to go to school. They usually have families that come with them too.”
Potvin says the clinic shares space within the gathering place for people who are First Nation, Métis, and Inuit.
“Having the clinic at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre provides that comfort level so when you walk into the building you can immediately identify with the place”.
Potvin explains that someone may come through the doors for health care and then access other services such as a health outreach worker to help navigate the health system or a counsellor for psychological support.
The primary care at the clinic is provided by Brenda Taylor, a nurse practitioner with the Victorian Order of Nurses, which advocates for health care to be accessible to everyone.
Taylor provides all of the types of services you would get at a family doctor’s office: wellness visits, prenatal care, immunization, checkups, and disease treatment. Taylor can refer people to specialists and has physicians on her team. “With the aboriginal population younger and growing faster than any other in Ontario, you can see the positive impact the clinic has made in providing regular access to prenatal and children’s healthcare. There have been a number of infants born with moms cared for since we opened with really positive outcomes. That is a really big accomplishment.”
The Medicine Wheel Healthy Way Clinic in at 980 Cassells Street in North Bay and is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. The clinic asks that you call ahead for an appointment to 705-472-2811, extension 242.