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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.


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Listen to Nel's story on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Soundcloud.

Spotify logo Apple Podcasts logo Google Podcasts logo Soundcloud logo


Show notes

(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

Helpful links from this episode

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.

Find more resources from UWaterloo Indigenous Initiatives to continue your learning.