“A new doctor!”
This is the most common line I am hearing as I kick off my medical practice in Port Hardy. I feel blessed to be the recipient of the gratitude in this season of giving. I am grateful to be a messenger of hope for our community. That our North Island has been so starved of doctors and nurses is a real shame - but I for one will work tirelessly to turn this ship around - to attract new physician and nurse colleagues who, like me, are deeply committed to working here long term.
We have something special here. It is not a hard sell. As I meet locals who were born and raised here, and more recent arrivals who’ve made the North Island home after coming from places like Newfoundland, Japan, Syria, South Africa and beyond, one thing stands out. The North Island is full of rugged, self sufficient people who care deeply about contributing to their community while working and playing on these spectacular Indigenous lands.
The biggest draw for me to the North Island is the richness of the Indigenous Nations. From Alert Bay to Fort Rupert, to Quatsino and the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw, I have already learned so much from the amazing elders and youth in our community. So much resiliency and strength in the face of the deep history of historical trauma and present-day addiction. Ours is a community that can define what Jody Wilson-Raybould has termed “True Reconciliation”.
By the time the Big House is complete, I hope to be able to pronounce Gwa’sala and the ‘Nakwaxda’xw.
My goal with this column is to generate dialogue around the main medical and social issues affecting our North Island. Doctors have a lot of training - I hope to share the insights I’ve learned so far in my 10 years as a doctor working across BC, Manitoba and Quebec.
For ideas/topics you would like explored, please email suggestions to: alexnatarosMD@gmail.com. Please note that this is not for personal medical questions - for those you should present to clinic/emerg or call 8-11. I look forward to learning with you and building a healthy community. Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and yours. I hope to meet you soon - but hopefully not in emerg!
Dr. Alexander Nataros is a new resident to Port Hardy and will be writing for the North Island Gazette on a regular basis
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