Dawn Thomas joined Island Health in June 2020 as the Executive Lead, Indigenous Health. She is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation on Vancouver Island, and her traditional Nuu-chah-nulth name is Aa ap waa iik, which loosely translates to “The one who says the right words about chiefly business.”
In her role, Dawn is responsible for enabling and facilitating system transformation and service delivery improvements that improve the wellness, health, and care needs of all Indigenous peoples across the Island Health service area including First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and non-status Indigenous peoples – both on- and off-reserve.
Dawn engages with a wide range of senior internal and external partners to foster effective relationships, leadership and service advancement while ensuring an Indigenous lens is applied to the development, review and revision of Island Health’s organization values, governance, administration, and decision-making.
Dawn brings more than 20 years experience with Indigenous children, families, communities and leadership to Island Health. In 2021/22, Dawn was seconded to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in the role of Associate Deputy Minister. Her experience leading how the province and the BC health system began to respond to In Plain Sight, the relationships she developed, and the innovations and best practices she brings back with her will help advance our shared work at Island Health. She also previously worked for the B.C. government at the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and at the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth.
Dawn holds a Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution, and a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care, both from the University of Victoria.