Vice Dean Indigenous Health

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The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health reports to the Dean and is a member of the leadership team of the College of Medicine (CoM).  As an academic and operational leader of the college, the Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health is the senior leader in the College for all matters relating to Indigenous health and Indigenous engagement strategies and as such their work is expected to transcend disciplinary boundaries within the College and beyond and in this capacity, will act as the Dean’s designate, as required. The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health is accountable for positioning the College of Medicine in a place of prominence to achieve its long-term Indigenous strategies.  A major responsibility of the Vice-Dean is to impact how medical education incorporates Indigenous knowledges and systems to equip practitioners to provide informed and appropriate medical services to Indigenous people and communities.

The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health is responsible for building authentic, trust-based partnerships and collaborations with internal and external Indigenous communities. The incumbent will lead transformative decolonization efforts; working to respectfully weave Indigenous concepts, methodologies, pedagogies, languages, and philosophies into the tapestry of learning, research, scholarship, creativity, and community engagement.

The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health will provide visionary leadership to advance teaching pedagogies and research ecosystems to meet Indigenous health needs and address health disparities. They will authentically engage with community and collaborate with senior leaders, faculty, staff, and students of the college and university to co-create an integrated approach to Indigenous health strategies and build alignment with ohpahotân | oohpaahotan , the Indigenous Strategy-, initiatives and priorities.   

The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health will be informed by ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan - the Indigenous Strategy, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action as well as the mission, vision, principles, values and strategic plans of both the university and college.

As a leader, this role will have direct supervision over other senior administrative positions to be determined by the Dean.  In consultation with the Dean, the Vice-Dean Indigenous Health is responsible for determining the nature and extent of the academic and scholarly activities that are engaged during the term of the appointment.   

Nature of the Work

The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health works as an integral member of the senior leadership team of the college on strategic academic objectives and leads strategic initiatives to accomplish them. This responsibility includes advising and providing direction to the college on all strategic initiatives linked to the Indigenous Health and Wellness portfolio. The Vice-Dean may be called upon by a wide variety of collaborators to provide guidance, advocacy and support related to emerging opportunities linked to Indigenous engagement, wellness or health. The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health fully participates in the college planning process and is expected to represent the Dean on committees, in the community, and with university stakeholders, as well as act as the Dean’s delegate when necessary. The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health, participates as a senior leader for the college and works collaboratively with the Vice Provost, Indigenous Engagement, other colleges and administrative units to enhance the capacity for authentic engagement on topics related to Indigenous health.

The Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health operates in a demanding, but highly rewarding, academic environment that requires a focus on multiple priorities. The Vice-Dean proactively addresses these challenges in the context of a strong team ethic and collaboration, while balancing competing demands and limited resources. Exercising communication that is empathetic, transparent, and responsive will be of paramount importance.  The needs of the position call for the highest levels of competency, integrity, creativity, energy, commitment, and character.

The work is interpersonal, requires a high level of independence and entails constant scanning for issues and challenges while balancing multiple priorities and demands. The work is of high volume and complexity and requires decisions to be made on a wide array of topics.


The specific outcomes for the Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health include to:

  • Complete the establishment of the Department of Indigenous Health and Wellness as an academic department recognized by University Council.
  • Grow, facilitate, and sustain an authentic community engagement framework.
  • Develop, foster, and ingrain the role of the Indigenous Health Advisory Council.
  • Position the Indigenous Health and Wellness portfolio to align with internal, local, provincial and national opportunities.
  • Foster successful partnerships and relationships with leaders from across the USask campuses.
  • Commit to modelling and uplifting Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct in Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada (TCPS 2 – Chapter 9).
  • Plan for the short, medium, and long-term success of the portfolio.

Strategic Planning, Budgeting and Resource Allocation 

  • Participate in setting strategic directions for the college and lead the development of the college’s strategic goals and objectives with respect to Indigenous health and engagement ensuring integration with other portfolios across the college.
  • Represent the college and provide leadership to university-level initiatives related to Indigenous health and authentic community engagement.
  • Bolster organizational capacity for change by fostering an environment that builds on strengths and showcases community-engaged knowledge translation initiatives that are innovative, and collaborative.
  • Lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive and integrated multi-year Indigenous health and engagement plan for the College. Ensure alignment with the strategic directions of the college and university.
  • Create and report on key performance metrics for the Office of the Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health
  • Promote Indigenous health as a consideration in all relevant college decisions by promoting the Indigenous health and engagement strategies within the college, ensuring goals are considered in the college decision-making forums, and by advocating for resource allocation to support program and service development and delivery.
  • Develop and effectively manage annual portfolio budgets in accordance with college and university policies. Identify innovative revenue opportunities and seek solutions to resource challenges to ensure a strong Indigenous health program is delivered.
  • Pursue prospects for financial support from external stakeholders and prospective donors to enhance scholarship opportunities or other supports for Indigenous health learners and residents.
  • Ensure the efficient and effective management of the portfolio and safeguard fiscal viability.
  • Influence the college’s organizational accountabilities.

Strategies and Academic Programming

  • Promote and facilitate a culture that supports innovation and enhances the scope and quality of the education related to Indigenous approaches to health and wellness.
  • Provide guidance in the creation and support of Indigenous educational initiatives that align with college and university priorities.
  • Establish and safeguard a process by which Indigenous teachings and experiential learning opportunities are offered in an ethical manner.
  • Collaborate with other vice-deans to facilitate Indigenous learner support initiatives that foster progression, retention, and success across the comprehensive suite of educational programming.
  • Collaborate with units and committees to support the evolution of the college’s Indigenous curriculum.
  • Support and promote the principles of Indigenous health for the betterment of programs and communities.

Engagement and Leadership

  • Support and build upon strong purposeful partnerships with internal and external partners; positioning the college to engage in knowledge translation. Learn from and with partners to best influence clinical care for Indigenous people and communities.
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to build engaging educational environments where positive learning experiences lead to meaningful and enduring relationships.
  • Promote an environment that engages Indigenous learners, faculty, and staff and supports them to thrive in the college.
  • Develop approaches to faculty engagement that are welcoming for Indigenous faculty; foster the view of faculty as role models for future clinicians, scientists, students and staff.
  • Lead the continual transformation, innovation, and advancement of authentic community engagement strategies for the college.  Create and support strategic and educational initiatives that model or showcase authentic community engagement and outreach.


Leadership, People and Environment

  • Encourage faculty, staff, learners, graduate students, and residents to participate in activities leading to increased awareness, appreciation, and understanding of Indigenous cultures, knowledges, and traditions.
  • Promote positive, diverse, and inclusive work and learning environments encouraging a culture of professionalism, dignity, humility and respect consistent with the college and university core values.
  • Interpret and apply collective agreements, labour legislation, and employment law with respect to the administration, allocation and reallocation of human resources, faculty complement, and other direct reports.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of policies and procedures required to support and advance the Indigenous health strategies, priorities, and initiatives of the college.
  • Identify opportunities to engage with the media regarding Indigenous faculty and learner expertise in areas related to the portfolio.
  • Receive and respond to concerns, complaints, and issues relating to the Indigenous health portfolio.
  • Raise awareness of mechanisms for Indigenous learners, graduate students and residents to safely make complaints, report issues or provide feedback.
  • Collaborate with the Indigenous Health Advisory Council to co-create a quality and safety improvement framework to address systemic issues that arise via formal and informal feedback mechanisms. Lead related policy and systems-level changes.  
  • Mentor others and undertake succession planning initiatives to support continuity of operations.

Risk Management

  • Engage, consult, and negotiate with other senior leaders, internal and external stakeholders to ensure the long-term growth and sustainability required to support the Indigenous health strategies of the college.
  • Foster and promote a culture of responsible risk-taking within the context of decolonization and change.
  • Incorporate the identification, assessment, and management of risks into all planning processes.
  • Manage projects effectively, identifying critical success factors, accountabilities, and ensuring transparency of activities and outcomes. 
  • Communicate and ensure compliance with university policies and practices, federal and provincial laws and regulations, collective agreements, ethics standards and protocols.
  • Ensure high standards with respect to health and safety requirements, including cultural safety of learners, residents, faculty, and employees.
  • Identify and proactively manage key instructional and academic programming risks.
  • Ensure that the activities, information, and reports being developed out of the portfolio of the department are accountable and transparent.

Education and Experience:

  • The University is committed to employment equity, diversity and inclusion, and are proud to support career opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to reflect the community we serve. We continue to grow our partnerships with Indigenous communities across the province, nationally and internationally and value the unique perspective that Indigenous employees provide to strengthen these relationships. Only Indigenous candidates will be considered for this position Verification of Indigenous Membership/Citizenship at the University of Saskatchewan is led and determined by the deybwewin | taapwaywin | tapewin: Indigenous Truth policy and Standing Committee in accordance with the processes developed to enact the policy. Verification of Indigenous Membership/Citizenship with documentation is a condition of employment and a requirement to hold this position and the successful candidate must maintain those conditions throughout their employment.  
  • Preference for a candidate with an MD; candidates with a PhD and/or terminal degree in a relevant area may be considered.
  • Progressive experience and proven track record in an academic (or related) environment with recent experience at a leadership level is required.
  • Extensive experience working with Indigenous organizations and will possess expertise and knowledge of Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan and across Canada.
  • Proven commitment to uplifting Indigenization to a place of prominence at the University and strong awareness that Indigenous engagement is a strategic priority at the University.
  • Must possess knowledge and understanding of issues affecting Indigenous Peoples (including cultural, socio-economic, and other factors) and significant awareness and understanding of Indigenous health needs impacting Indigenous people and communities in the province.
  • Must possess the capacity to lead the college in matters relating to the university’s strategic priorities, and especially with respect to Indigenous health, transformative decolonization, and reconciliation.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience working with diverse communities and stakeholders in a university setting is an asset.
  • Leadership experience is essential, as is demonstrated success in developing and implementing a vision and leading people to achieve exemplary performance and outcomes.

Commitment to Institutional Competencies

  • Engage: commitment to advancing the aspirations of the people of the university, province and beyond.
  • Include: building a welcoming and accessible place where diverse students, faculty and staff feel a sense of belonging.
  • Collaborate: intentionally seeking relationships across teams, disciplines and capacities to achieve results.
  • Advocate: developing and supporting each other, innovative ideas, and Indigenous knowledges in pursuit of the university’s strategic priorities.


The demonstrated ability to build a shared, compelling, and credible vision of the future; influencing people to ensure outcomes that support achieving the vision and a culture of leadership.

  • Fosters positive work and learning environment;
  • Values and considers differing points of view before making a decision;
  • Makes timely decisions even when unpopular or difficult;
  • Anticipates how decisions affect people;
  • Delegates authority and responsibility;
  • Holds others accountable for making and meeting commitments;
  • Provides continuous, honest and supportive feedback;
  • Supports development and continuous improvement.

Support for Progress

The demonstrated ability to initiate, implement, and support innovation and institutional change and enhance programs and services.

  • Challenges the status quo;
  • Advocates innovation and creativity, even when risk is involved;
  • Adapts and maintains productivity in an atmosphere of changing practices;
  • Demonstrates an optimistic attitude towards change;
  • Demonstrates emotional maturity and resiliency in difficult circumstances;
  • Engages and supports others in the change process.


Results Orientation

Focuses on results and completing objectives within the framework defined by the university’s plans and policies.

  • Readily accepts and responds to challenges;
  • Directly confronts problems and persists in finding solution;
  • Identifies shared interests to develop positive outcomes;
  • Celebrates successes and learns from mistakes.


Personal Effectiveness

Demonstrates an ability to reflect, clarify and commit to what is important, take responsibility for growth and development, and contribute to positive and product work and learning environments.

  • Demonstrates integrity and ethical conduct in words and deeds;
  • Keeps promises and commitments even when unpopular or difficult;
  • Accepts ownership and responsibility for outcomes;
  • Learns and recovers from setbacks / mistakes;
  • Shares expertise willingly and is sought out as a resource for others;
  • Forges personal recognition in support of success of others;
  • Takes responsibility for balancing work and personal commitments.



Demonstrates ability to convey information and ideas to individuals in a manner that engages the audience and helps them understand, retain, and respond to the message.

  • Communicates clearly and ensures understanding;
  • Actively listens to understand others’ point of view;
  • Provides useful and valuable information to others;
  • Demonstrates an awareness of the effects of communications on others.


Relationship Building

Demonstrates ability to develop the rapport necessary to build, maintain and/or strengthen partnerships inside and outside of the university.

  • Seeks out and promotes positive relationships;
  • Maximizes opportunities to achieve outcomes through or with others;
  • Proactively deals with conflict by openly addressing problems;
  • Demonstrates understanding, respect and concern for others.