St Catharines, ON–The Niagara Ontario Health Team-Équipe Santé Ontario Niagara (NOHT-ESON) extends sincere condolences to the family, friends and the Indigenous community of Heather Winterstein, a 24-year-old Anishnawbe Kwe community member who died on Friday, December 10, 2021, while she was in the emergency room of Niagara Health.
“Our thoughts are focused on supporting the people most directly involved,” says Carol Stewart-Kirkby, Co-Lead of the NOHT-ESON Planning Table, echoing the collective concern expressed by the 47-member partnership of healthcare providers in the Niagara Region. “This incident is a tragic reminder of the urgent need to work to understand how the legacy of colonization continues to impact health care systems.”
“We strongly support working with the family and Indigenous community to understand and address the circumstances in this situation.” says Stewart-Kirkby, “We also acknowledge the need to address the realities of systemic racism, confront Anti-Indigenous bias, and find new ways to engage all citizens in transforming the health system”.
“NOHT-ESON continues to commit to ensuring that Indigenous voices are a priority, recognizing the importance of equity and safer care as foundational principles of every NOHT-ESON organization delivering care in Niagara.”