A new Indigenous doctor now serving patients in Wallaceburg and Walpole Island is hoping to help bring a better understanding of traditional medicine into mainstream healthcare.
Dr. Samantha Boshart is currently working part-time at clinics in the community and will begin working full time in the spring.
"I'm hoping we can develop the traditional healing programs such that when we have patients I can actually sit with the traditional medicine person with the patient and we can kind of negotiate what approach might work best," she said.
As an Anishinaabe person, her background also helps her understand why some First Nations people don't trust the western health system, she added.
"My family's history, my history, we share that commonality, which leads to an inherent understanding of the colonial history in the country and why there might be a lack of trust based on systemic racism or residential schools." said Boshart.
The doctor spoke with members of the Walpole Island First Nation before moving to the area and said they were "excited" she was going to be practicing in their region.
Boshart added she only knows about a dozen Indigenous doctors working in Canada, but recent recruiting efforts have seen more young people from their communities try a career in healthcare.
"It's still not enough, but it's moving in the right direction," she said. "There needs to be more because it really breaks down a lot of barriers and gives people better access and better trust."