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St. Michael’s librarian leading project to send educational health books to First Nation children

Toronto, May 13, 2016

By Kaitlyn Patterson

The Scotiabank Health Sciences Library at St. Michael's Hospital
The Scotiabank Health Sciences Library at St. Michael's Hospital

Sandy Iverson, manager of health information and knowledge mobilization at St. Michael’s Hospital, is leading a community service project to send books to children in First Nation communities to inspire them to pursue health care careers.

Despite increasing health concerns in First Nation communities, fewer than one per cent of doctors in Canada are Aboriginal. More than half of the adults in these communities live with one or more chronic conditions.

“There is a real problem around health issues in First Nation communities,” said Iverson. “Our hope is that this book collection will inspire Aboriginal children to become doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.”

The Mosaic 2016 international conference of health librarians taking place in Toronto this week has partnered with the Southern Ontario Library Service and Club Amick, a book club for First Nation children in Grades K-6 in remote northern Ontario Communities, to find schools in need of health and science books.

Iverson and other librarians selected more than 200 books for the collection. Topics include general health and science, mental health and Aboriginal approaches to health and healthy environments. The titles selected are relatable to Aboriginal children, with some featuring Aboriginal characters and North American animals. One book is written in the Inuktitut language and its English translation. Another is a graphic novel about diabetes.

“We are aiming to reach up to five schools,” said Iverson. “So far we have received 110 books, which will support about one school.”

“This project is consistent with St. Michael’s mission to help those in need,” said Iverson. “It will support under-resourced communities in Canada, which the hospital has a history of doing.”

Iverson said they were looking for donations from medical librarians and members of the public. Get information on how to purchase a book for the project or donate money.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.