Conciliation Working Group

The FHD Conciliation working group comprises AU alumni and faculty. The working group aims to integrate Indigenous knowledge, perspectives and teaching methods into FHD programs and courses, and to advance its purpose and activities.

Working Group Members (current)

* founding members

  • Venise Bryan, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU
  • Jeff Chang, PhD, R.Psych., Associate Professor/Regulatory Affairs Coordinator, Master of Counselling Program, AU
  • Kristin Petrovic, RN, MN, Academic Coordinator, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU
  • *Margaret Rauliuk, Academic Coordinator, Master of Nursing: Nurse Practitioner, AU
  • Lorraine Thirsk, MN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU
  • *Rose Schroeder, RN, MN, Academic Coordinator, Bachelor of Nursing, AU
  • Myreene Tobin, MA, APO, Academic Advising, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU
  • Yevgen Yasynskyy, Instructional Media Analyst, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU

Venise Bryan, RN, PhD

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Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU

Venise is a daughter of the Caribbean living and working on Treaty 6 Territory. She is interested in nursing education, interpersonal relations from a teaching and learning context, development practice and authentic leadership. She is involved in mission groups that take health care to people living in various countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Venise is passionate about nursing and her students, as she aims to improve the product of nursing and nursing education.

“Being a member of a visible minority group, I see the importance of decolonizing higher education for greater equity and inclusivity. I am honoured to contribute to conciliation work in the Faculty of Health Disciplines.”

Jeff Chang, PhD, R.Psych.

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Associate Professor/Regulatory Affairs Coordinator, Master of Counselling Program, AU

Jeff brings his 34 years as a Registered Psychologist to his work with Master of Counselling students. Children’s mental health, family violence and family resilience have been his main foci during his career.

“Practicing and teaching in First Nations communities early in my career started a journey of learning that was accelerated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

Kristin Petrovic, RN, MN

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Academic Coordinator, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU

Kristin focuses primarily on undergraduate nursing education. She is the co-curriculum committee lead for the Bachelor of Nursing program, and is also a student completing her Doctorate in Education - Distance Education. Kristin has a focused praxis and research interest in critical and open practices in digital health education.

“Being part of the Conciliation Working Group is an honuor and a privilege that allows me to participate at a systems level in advocacy and activism. My conciliation commitment is to first hear the voices of those wronged, to continue personal and professional growth, to wear a critical lens and to commit to cultural humility.”

*Margaret Rauliuk, MN, RN NP

Academic Coordinator, Master of Nursing: Nurse Practitioner, AU

Margaret is a practicing family Nurse Practitioner in northeast Winnipeg and a doctoral student at the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University. She is past Chair of the Association of Registered Nurses of Manitoba and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Nurses Association.

“Conciliation involves making peace with our history as a nation and recognizing a debt owed to Canada’s Indigenous people. It also involves recognizing that we are stronger when we work together.”

*Rose Schroeder, RN, MN

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Academic Coordinator, Bachelor of Nursing, AU

Throughout her 35 year nursing career, Rose has focused on the areas of mental health, family nursing, care of the older adult and nursing education. Read more about Rose on the FHD website.

“The TRC has served to increase my awareness of Indigenous history, and actively work toward a greater understanding of conciliation. As an educator, it is my responsibility to support students to provide culturally safe nursing care.”

Lorraine Thirsk, MN, PhD

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Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU

Lorraine is a registered nurse interested in how nurses support families facing serious illness through therapeutic conversations. She is a settler from fifth-generation British ancestors, living and working on Treaty 6 territory.

“Being a member of the Conciliation Working Group, and the Council of Allies, is an exciting and humbling learning experience. I am committed to responsibly and openly engaging in this work and supporting conciliation work in the Faculty of Health Disciplines.”

Myreene Tobin, MA

APO, Academic Advising, Faculty of Health Disciplines, AU

Previously a nurse and with extensive experience in health care administration, Myreene has taught both online at the master's level and in face-to-face environments. She lived and worked in the Northwest Territories, where she was further oriented to the lived experience of Indigenous Peoples and forged deep friendships. She has an abiding interest in the work of AU’s Nukskahtowin Centre.

“We have much to learn from our Indigenous friends and I feel a debt of gratitude for their patience allowing us, the privileged, to walk a piece of this journey together. Mahsi cho.“

Yevgen Yasynskyy

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Instructional Media Analyst, Faculty of Health Disciplines

With over 17 years of experience in online education, Yevgen works as an instructional designer for the Faculty of Health Disciplines and provides direct input into designing and developing courses.

“I believe that current models of higher education are centred around colonial-based education that meant to assimilate and segregate people (Indigenous in particular) from their communities and world views. Educational systems need more inclusion and change in how we reconceptualize our curriculum to include marginalized communities and Indigenous ways of knowing.”

Founding Working Group Past Members

  • Sandra Collins, PhD, Professor, Master of Counselling, AU
  • Karen Cook, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Master of Nursing and Master of Health Studies, AU
  • Lynn Corcoran, PhD, Program Director, Clinical Affairs, Bachelor of Nursing, AU
  • Chelsea Crowshoe (2018-19), Director, Indigenous Health Program South and Senior Advisor, Indigenous Cultural Competency, Alberta Health Services; AU Master of Health Studies 2013
  • Kimberley Lamarche, PhD, Associate Professor, Master of Nursing: Nurse Practitioner, AU
  • Julie Lys (2018-19), Indigenous Nurse Practitioner
  • Simon Nuttgens, PhD, Associate Professor, Master of Counselling, AU
  • Norma Rabbitskin (2018-19), RN, Senior Health Nurse, Sturgeon Lake First Nation; AU Bachelor of Nursing 2016

Sandra Collins, RPsych, PhD

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Professor, Master of Counselling, AU

Sandra’s research, writing and teaching focus is on culturally responsive and socially just counselling practices. She is committed to infusing these principles throughout the Master of Counselling program, which includes decolonization in both content and learning processes. Read more about Sandra on the FHD website.

“I acknowledge the colonial relationship inherent in my settler heritage. I welcome the call to accountability in the TRC and humbly seek to enhance my cultural learning and solidarity with Indigenous colleagues, students and clients.”

Karen Cook, RN, PhD

Assistant Professor, Master of Nursing and Master of Health Studies, AU

Karen is interested in the intersection of health and culture, especially where systemic oppression has impacted equal, respectful and reciprocal participation. Read more about Karen on the FHD website.

“The TRC is an invitation to reflect and reconsider what I have understood as cultural ‘givens,’ and to change as my awareness grows.”

Lynn Corcoran, PhD

Program Director, Clinical Affairs, Bachelor of Nursing, AU

Lynn Corcoran works in the undergraduate nursing program at Athabasca University. Read more about Lynn on the FHD website.

“I am interested in learning about, exploring and understanding the TRC Calls to Action and, in particular, the calls related to education and health.”

Chelsea Crowshoe 2018-19

Director, Indigenous Health Program South and Senior Advisor, Indigenous Cultural Competency, Alberta Health Services
Master of Health Studies, 2003

Chelsea Crowshoe is a proud member of Piikani First Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy located in Southern Alberta. Her professional career path has led her to a focus on Indigenous health and she has worked with organizations including First Nation Inuit Health Branch, Treaty 7 Tribal Council, First Nation communities and Alberta Health Services.

“My goal is to increase awareness, education and competency among health professionals and increase positive health experiences and outcomes for Indigenous patients and families.”

Kimberley Lamarche, PhD

Associate Professor, Master of Nursing: Nurse Practitioner, AU

Kimberley’s professional background includes work in community health development and emergency/trauma nursing, two very different disciplines that have combined to assist in her preparation as a primary health care nurse practitioner. She is involved, at various levels, with local, provincial and national nurse practitioner issues, committees and organizations.

Read more about Kimberley on the FHD website.

Julie Lys 2018-19

Indigenous Nurse Practitioner
Master of Nursing: Nurse Practitioner, 2007

Julie is a Nurse Practitioner in the Northwest Territories, with expertise in cultural safety and Indigenous health issues. She received AU’s Distinguished Alumna Award in 2016.

Simon Nuttgens, PhD

Associate Professor, Master of Counselling, AU

Simon is an Associate Professor in the Master of Counselling program. His areas of interest include ethics, postmodern approaches to counselling and First Nations Mental Health. Read more about Simon on the FHD website.

“Conciliation means walking the TRC path with awareness and humility. I believe that injustices can only be rectified through listening carefully to the voices of those who have been wronged.”

Norma Rabbitskin, RN 2018-19

Senior Health Nurse, Sturgeon Lake First Nation
Bachelor of Nursing, 2016

Norma is a fluent Cree speaker from Big River First Nation, Sask., with 30 years of diverse nursing experience hospital, community health and primary care settings in the North. For the past 20 years, she has been employed by Sturgeon Lake First Nation as the Senior Health Nurse, overseeing primary care, community health and home care program. Norma is a strong proponent in the continual enhancement of community-based programs and research initiatives, working with Elders/knowledge keepers to maintain traditional healing practices and to achieve wellness in all aspects of daily life.

“Conciliation is when everyone is in service to the well-being of the community. I hope to have students come into their own knowledge of Indigenous culture and become lifelong learners.”

FHD Conciliation Working Group Purpose and Activities

  • to increase faculty/staff knowledge and understanding of Indigenous history, worldview and the TRC;
  • to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples in our conciliation journey (AU Elder, alumni, community, and students);
  • to promote respectful knowledge and understanding of Indigenous Peoples as it relates to FHD course content, including:
  • to respectfully and accurately integrate Indigenous perspectives, culture and content into courses;
  • to effectively support Indigenous learner success (inviting, welcoming and engaging Indigenous students), and address systemic barriers that impede the success of Indigenous students in our programs.