As the youth coordinator at the Kitselas First Nation Health Centre, Gerald Nyce is a familiar face in the small town of Gitaus, BC, a small community of 400 people east of Terrace.
The role didn’t come without its challenges, however. Says Gerald, “Working with people and their feelings, handling sensitive and confidential information – it’s like night and day compared to natural resource management. I had to learn a lot on the go.”
While Gerald found that some of his career skills were transferrable, he still felt he needed more formalized training in administration and interpersonal skills. In 2017, he enrolled in the Aboriginal Health and Community Administration certificate program (AHCAP) offered at UBC through a partnership between the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health and UBC Extended Learning. The award-winning program, taught online and in five residency weekends in Vancouver, focuses on service delivery, program administration and healthcare leadership.
The first day Gerald walked into class, he didn’t know what to expect. He soon found, however, a welcoming forum for sharing ideas and approaches on health and social issues facing First Nations communities.
One of the program’s modules, Indigenous Health and Wellness, helped Gerald learn about the application of traditional medicine. “The module opened my eyes to different ways of healing people with traditional culture and medicine.” Other modules on administration, policy and research lent themselves well to Gerald’s efforts around Kitselas Centre volunteer programs.
Gerald has his sights set on becoming a healthcare director. “I feel the experience I’m getting now is key, and the AHCAP program was so helpful. For anyone involved in First Nations health and wellness, it’s a great program to gain competencies.” Adds Gerald, “All of our communities face similar issues. We are all in this together.”
To learn more about Kitselas First Nation and the Youth Health and Wellness Centre, visit:
To find out more about the Aboriginal Health and Community Administration Program at UBC Extended Learning, visit: