Yolanda Wanakamik, a member of the Whitesand First Nation, has been named as the new Director of Indigenous Affairs at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM).

Wanakamik assumed her new duties effective Oct. 5. This follows her most recent role as the Integrated Policy Officer for the Dilico Anishinabek Family Care based at Fort William First Nation, at Thunder Bay.

NOSM said Wanakamik brings a vast array of knowledge and skills that will support growth and a positive organizational culture to NOSM and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Education in Educational Studies.

Notably, she held several positions at Lakehead University in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives from recruitment and retention to senior leadership, said NOSM.

Wanakamik was also described as being passionate about health, education and community. The medical school said in a news release that Wanakamok brings “a vast array” of knowledge and skills that will support growth and a positive organizational culture to the school of medicine.

“Yolanda is an incredible asset to our team which is committed to social accountability and Indigenous health. In her role, she will help NOSM continue to meet the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other major directions in our new Strategic Plan,” said Dr. Sarita Verma, Dean, President and CEO of NOSM.

The medical school also revealed that Wanakamik has a diverse background in areas of governance, policy, politics and served as a band councillor at her First Nation.

Wanakamik replaces Dr. Joseph LeBlanc, who held the position of Director of Indigenous Affairs since Oct. 15, 2018. Dr. LeBlanc has been appointed NOSM’s inaugural associate dean of equity and inclusion.