Julie Francis Appointed L’nu Health Chair at Cape Breton University

Cape Breton University is pleased to announce the appointment of Julie Francis as the L’nu Health Chair at CBU’s Unama’ki College.

A Mi’kmaw Registered Nurse with a passion for Indigenous health and improving outcomes for Indigenous Youth, Francis strives to bridge gaps in knowledge, services and programs for community members of all ages. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier University in 2010, Francis served as a community health nurse in Eskasoni, First Nation. In 2011, Francis became involved in projects with the IWK Centre for Paediatric Pain Research, and has been part of the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative since its inception in 2013.

Francis is currently a Master of Science, Nursing student at Dalhousie University where she continues to mentor, encourage and support her fellow students. Her thesis research focuses on early childhood development and the experiences of First Nation families accessing programs.

“Julie Francis is highly skilled in the nursing profession and her dedication to Indigenous health and wellness will bring strong leadership and perspective to this role,” says David C. Dingwall, Cape Breton University President and Vice-Chancellor. “As we continue to Indigenize our University the L’nu way, this role is more important than ever and we are honoured to have Julie at the helm of this crucial work.”

The L’nu Health Chair is a unique, community-based research and practice initiative at CBU aimed at improving health outcomes in L’nu communities. Partners in the project include the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia Health and Tajikeimik (Mi’kmaw Health and Wellness Authority). The initiative strives to bring together Mi’kmaw health professionals and leaders with academic partners to deepen the understanding and implementation of Mi’kmaw ways of knowing and being in health promotion, service delivery and education of Mi’kmaw health professionals.

“Mi’kmaq language and L’nu perspectives are key elements that Julie demonstrates,” says Laurianne Sylvester, Dean of Unama’ki College. ”With these qualities and strong ties to L’nu communities and health professionals, Julie is already in a position of leadership to improve the health outcomes in L’nu communities.”

Francis recognizes the vital importance of educating health professionals to increase their empathy and understanding to eliminate racism in health care. “What I look forward to most in this role is working with our communities and partners. Together, we will achieve and witness a community-led transformation of health and wellness for the Mi’kmaq Nation,” she says. “There are many amazing initiatives taking place at CBU, and I am excited to be part of this community.”

Francis assumed her role as the L’nu Health Chair on May 2, 2022, and will work to reduce health inequities and support the promotion of Mi’kmaw leadership and self-governance in matters of health and wellness.