PODCAST: Professional moves and personal revelations
Nel Wieman (BSc '88, MSc '91) explains how her career as a health care provider brought her personal fulfillment and self-discovery
Nel Wieman (BSc '88, MSc '91) explains how her career as a health care provider brought her personal fulfillment and self-discoveryBy Megan Vander Woude Office of Advancement
Our careers don't exist in a vacuum — they're an integral part of our personal development. Nel Wieman's (BSc '88, MSc '91) career journey is an amazing example of that fact.
She began at Waterloo as a kinesiology student, fascinated with biomechanics. Then, she became Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist. And today, she's a public health official at the First Nations Health Authority in British Colombia. Nel joins the podcast to tell her career story and share the personal revelations she uncovered with each new step.
(1:35): Nel shares why she came to Waterloo
(3:25): What did Nel learn about herself as a student?
(6:52): Nel explains why she made the move to psychiatry
(8:47): "No journey is wasted"; finding transferrable skills after a career switch
(10:40): Nel shares the self-discovery she underwent as a Sixties Scoop survivor working in Indigenous health care
(13:12): "I've always wanted to work with communities that have the most need"
(15:11): Nel shares the personal reason why her work with Indigenous communities has been so fulfilling
(16:36): Why Nel made the move from clinical physician to public health official
(20:05): Nel speaks about the health emergencies faced by Indigenous communities today: the toxic drug crisis, COVID-19, anti-Indigenous racism, retraumatizing effects of residential school discoveries
(21:58): "I have observed a significant momentum and change…"
(23:01): Reconcili-action and what's required to make Canada a better country
Sixties Scoop: Learn about Canada's history of child apprehension and its lasting effects.
Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada: Learn more about the organization that supports First Nations, Metis and Inuit youth who aim to become medical doctors.
First Nations Health Authority: Learn more the provincial health unit and what they do to provide better care to First Nations peoples.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action: Read the calls to action from the 2015 report.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.