First Nations Health Directors Association

Board of Directors

The FNHDA Board of Directors is made up of three regional representatives from each of the five health authority regions in BC. The Board’s key purpose is to ensure that the Association is meeting the appropriate interests of their members related to the FNHDA Constitution and Bylaws, mandate and strategic plan.

Our Board has strong representation, talent and skills – coupled with a passion and commitment to faithfully advocate for the interests of their members.


Virginia Peters

Health Director, Sts’ailes (Secretary-Treasurer FNHDA)

Virginia (Ginny) Peters is a “Jr. Elder” born to William and Nancy Phillips from Chehalis, BC. Her immediate family consists of 3 daughters, 2 sons, 11 grandchildren, 6 foster grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. She has a large extended family (definitely over 1,500). Her family is very close-knit and is strongly linked with the extended family.

Coming from a strong matriarchal system, Ginny’s professional life began with several years of volunteering. She began Community Services in 1960. The Community Services she was involved with at Chehalis.

included Religion (Church) Committee, Longhouse, Youth Group, Youth Native Dance Group, School Board, Band Councilor (4 terms), Chief (1 term), and Social Development Portfolio (Sto:lo Tribal Council). Her professional experience started in 1972 and included Secretary/ Bookkeeper, Manager of Health, Social Development and Family Services, Coordinating  Health Transfer Plans, Coordinating  Special Projects and Accounting.

Being a family and community oriented person, Ginny continues to dedicate much time and effort to assist in the community development and healing. She firmly believes that culture and spirituality is the key to healing and rebuilding the strength of our families and communities.

Peter D. John

Health Director, Chawathil First Nation

Peter John comes from the Chawathil First Nation, located near Hope, BC in the Fraser Region. His First Nation name is Xa Xa Moqw which translates in English to Holy Bird. Peter has recently completed Herbal Medicines course 11 months Graduate at Seabird Island College with Instructor Dr Jeanie Paul. He strongly believes that our environment is important and that we should take care of it to the best of our ability because our future generations will inherit this world and it would be sad if they got nothing. He emphasizes that, “we can change our habits and help others find better ones. That education is not an end to it all but an opening to another door to more learning and that is what helps create better self-culture.”

Kelowa Edel

Health Manager, Sto:lo Nation

Kelowa Edel is from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba but she has resided in Chilliwack, B.C. (Stó:lō Territory) since 1996. She works for the Stó:lō Nation and has been a Health Director for three years.  Kelowa has 23 years of work experience with Stó:lō Nation in various positions primarily social work, community development, management, and acted the ED for CFS.

Kelowa has 4 years of University in BA Psychology concentration in Human Services, many personal development and managerial courses, and many years of personally facilitating workshops for the community and professionals. Kelowa loves working with the community and setting health and wellness priorities as a Health Director.  Her favourite best practice as a Health Director is building a healthy team of professionals that are able to share their unique strengths with each other.

In maintaining her health, she enjoys walks with her dogs and maintaining a healthy diet rich in good plant-based carbs and animal protein. She is the oldest out of five siblings and helped raise four of her beautiful nieces. In her personal time, she loves hiking and trying new activities such as pottery, felt work, carpentry and wood work. Kelowa honours the land, powers down, and weaves support networks by taking walks by the river, learning traditional medicine, wild crafting, and connecting regularly with family and friends.

Kelowa practices lateral kindness by never making assumptions and she never takes things personally. She always checks things out, strives to be impeccable with her word, and always does her very best in treating people how she would love to be treated.  Overall, Kelowa believes that we can accomplish anything that we put our hearts and minds- if we have both believe and operate from a place of love.


Jacki McPherson

Health Director, Interior Region

Jackie McPherson is a proud member of the Okanagan Nation with over 25 years of experience in Aboriginal health. Mrs. McPherson currently serves as Manager of Health Services for Osoyoos Indian Band, a position she has held and enjoyed for three years.

Jackie brings a wealth of community-based experience to her role as Interior representative on the First Nations Health Directors Association. Beginning with home-making, Mrs. McPherson has held almost every position imaginable in First Nations Health. In her recent past Jackie has focused on management of contribution agreements and contracts, teaching, facilitating and program design.

Mrs. McPherson looks forward to further development of the First Nations Health Directors Association. As one of the Associations founding members, she sees the Association’s grassroots connection to the communities as critical to building a credible and sustainable First Nations health governance structure. Further, Jackie is excited by the opportunity bring community voice to bear on future program development. Mrs. McPherson is grateful to the community and administration of Osoyoos Indian Band for their flexibility in supporting her work at the provincial level.

Happily married for 24 years, Jackie has 3 children. In her spare time, Jackie enjoys reading, spending time with her family and playing the occasional game of bingo.

Teresa Johnny

Health Director, Tl’esqox Nation

Teresa Johnny is of Kwaiguilth decent and is trained as a Practical Nurse.  She worked in the Royal Jubilee in Victoria from 1976-1989, and worked in the Cariboo Memorial Hospital for two years on call as a Practical Nurse. Her other experience include working as a CHR in 1993 for the Toosey Indian Band, 2005-2009, and for Three Corners Health as their CHR for the Williams Lake Indian Band.

With working for their Prenatal Program she was chosen nationally along with Franny Alec from her region after this session they were supposed to have prenatal training for workers from this national get-together from Health Canada.

In December 2009, Teresa started as the Health Director for the Toosey Indian Band, where a new building for Health & Band Administration is under construction and due to open in June 2014.

Teresa was born in Alert Bay, where her late mother Joyce Grey (Scow) was from, and raised in her late father Paddy Grey’s community of Cape Mudge. She has three children— Patrick (married to Clarissa), Kyle (partner Jewell) and Alyce. She is the proud grandmother of Amerea Joyce Grey and Jewell Daisy Allen. She is married to Toosey band member Douglas Johnny. Teresa has been 24 years in sobriety.

Shelley Lampreau

Health Director, Simpcw Health Centre

Bio and picture forthcoming


Genevieve Martin

Bio and picture forthcoming

Lauren R. Brown

Health Director, Skidegate Health Centre

Lauren Brown is from the Haida Nation and graduated with a BSN in 1998 from UBC. She has been working towards improving Aboriginal Health and has held positions which have helped her towards this goal.

Lauren has worked in various provincial based organizations in Vancouver (Chiefs Health Committee, Healing Our Spirit, Patient Advocacy in Women’s and Children’s Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital). Lauren gained experience in policy and program development, teaching, and liaising with government. She decided to move to her northern, remote and isolated community where she is realizing that the greatest impact is working with her own people in her own community as a Health Director.

Although very challenging, working at the community level has been fulfilling. Lauren is the proud mother of two girls. Tang gu naay Grinder and Xyaala Emma Grinder and loves kayaking and recently completed a half-marathon.

Patricia Hoard

Health Manager, West Moberly First Nation

Patricia Lynne Hoard is the Health Manager for West Moberly First Nation in Moberly Lake BC, and is a regional representative for the FNHDA Board for the North East.  Ms. Hoard’s main work history has been with First Nations, both in health management and as an Executive Director of two Northern Friendship Centers. She also has experience working with a number of boards.

Descended from Cree/Beaver and Métis ancestry, Patricia has lived in BC for most of her life. Patricia has been a strong advocate for family health and wellness and is the mother of three grown children and grandmother to four grandchildren. Patricia gained experience in various different areas, she is a great advocator, strong communicator and understands how important our Health and Wellness is for an individual as well as the family and community.

Patricia is pursuing a Liberal Arts degree with a major in communications and a minor in Aboriginal Studies.  She has owned a business since 2008.   Patricia hails from the Tallcree Reserve in Fort Vermillion Alberta. Patricia was a ‘sixties scoop kid’ whose grandparents both attended Indian Residential School. She lives in Moberly Lake and enjoys living at the lake and skidoing right to her favorite fishing spots. Patricia’s main passion is to help those who can’t help themselves.  She knows the importance of giving a voice to those who can’t speak.  Patricia is a strong advocate and loves the work that she does.  In her free time she loves to enjoy Mother Nature by way of quading or sledding and hunting and fishing she believes the best way to find peace is to be outdoors. We welcome her to the FNHDA family.

Vancouver Coastal

Keith Marshall

Director, Community Health Programs, Hailika’as Heiltsuk Health Centre (Vice-President, FNHDA Board)

Keith is an experienced professional with over 30 years of experience working with federal, provincial and private organizations in managerial and senior administrative positions with these organizations. Keith possesses a Bachelors of Education, Bachelors and Masters of Social Work and a Master’s in Public Administration from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Currently Keith is the Director of Community Health Programs for the Hailika’as Heiltsuk Health Centre in Bella Bella BC. Keith began his career with the Department of Health & Social Services-New Brunswick-Senior Social Worker specializing in First Nations Child Welfare. It was during this tenure Keith developed the protocol for the placement of Aboriginal Children into foster care. It was through this protocol that First Nations’ agencies determined the priorities for Aboriginal foster homes in the community. Keith also worked with several other First Nations governments including Burnt Church and Red Bank First Nations in New Brunswick, Membertou and Millbrook First Nations in Nova Scotia and Katlodeeche First Nation in Hay River Northwest Territories. From 1999 to 2002, Keith was a member of the National Parole Board. In 2003, Keith was the Director of Community Health and Allied Services for the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority in Hay River NT.

Keith looks forward to serving with the FNHDA representing the Central Coast.

Kim Brooks

Department Head, Squamish Nation Yúustway Health Services (President, FNHDA Board)

Kim Brooks is a member of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation in northern BC. She was born in the lower mainland and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon and also Vancouver and Atlin, BC. Kim completed her post-secondary education at Simon Fraser University, and has worked within Federal, Provincial and First Nations governments as well as academia.

Kim has a broad scope of experience in policy, regional and provincial community engagement, provincial negotiations, Aboriginal health capacity development, academic research and organizational development. Kim has been honoured to work with the Squamish Nation as the Department Head of Yúustway Health Services since 2005, providing senior management leadership to a team of more than 50.

As a founding FNHDA Board member representing the Vancouver Coastal Region, the breadth of Kim Brooks’ professional experience in the health sector, her passion and commitment to collaborative partnerships align perfectly with the FNHDA’s vision and values.

Kim brings the right mix of skills and experience to guide the vital work of the Association alongside our members and partners, toward achieving our shared vision of “Healthy, Self-Determining and Vibrant BC First Nations Children, Families and Communities.”

Rachel Andrew-Nelson

Health Director, Mount Currie Health Centre

Rachel has worked in health since 1993, and is currently the Director of Health Services, Recreation and Child Care Services and is the representative for the sub-region for Vancouver Coastal, of Southern Stl’atlimx. She started her health career as a CHR, and has also served as a Health Office Manager, Database Development & Implementation, Assistant Health Director and then Health Director in 2002.She served two terms on Band Council for Mt Currie Band/Lil’wat Nation where she helped to develop a database with a programmer that the Health Centre used for 10 years.

Another accomplishment was the development of the Lil’wat Empowerment & Accessibility Program (LEAP) for physically and cognitively challenged adults and children Rachel left the Health Centre for 5 years due to compassion fatigue but returned having learned that she is not responsible for everyone’s health – each individual has to be responsible for their own health. She vowed to assist her people in learning how to take healthy ownership of their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness. Rachel believes strongly in living a holistic life with culture, traditions and other worldly holistic forms of healing.

Rachel strives to continue to improve health services in her community, sub-region (traditional territory) and for all First Nations in BC. She is passionate about Cultural Competency and Safety and is a strong believer that, “healing, health and wellness go hand in hand with one another.”

She and her husband have three children, two of which have special needs.

Vancouver Island

Charles Nelson

Health Director, Vancouver Island Region

Charles Nelson is from Nuxalk Nation (Bella Coola, BC) but lives on Snaw Naw As (Lantzville, BC) territory. He works for Snuneymuxw First Nation (Nanaimo, BC) as a Health Administrator. Charles has been a Health Director now for 8 years. Of these 8 years, Charles has worked for Nuxalk Nation for 6 years and 2 years with Snuneymuxw. Charles has a certificate in Management Skills for Supervisors and a certificate in Computerized Accounting Procedures.

Prior to moving to Snuneymuxw, Charles was the Health & Wellness Director for Nuxalk Nation. Nuxalk Nation has a population of approximately 2000 with about 1000 of those members living on reserve. The services provided by the Nuxalk Health & Wellness centre include Health Programs, Wellness Programs, Early Childhood Development Programs and Justice Programs. The programs and services at Nuxalk Nation are similar to what Snuneymuxw receives.

While working in Bella Coola, Charles became involved with the First Nations Interim Health Governance Committee which eventually transitioned into the role of the First Nations Health Council. At this committee, Charles had a chance to become involved in the beginning stages of change for the First Nations Health Council. The role of becoming a provincial body for First Nation peoples’ health was both exciting and challenging. Charles thinks it is good to see the First Nations Health Authority now in place.

He loves being in a helping role and working with strong skilled people with the same enthusiasm. But he also really likes the opportunity that this position provides in working with the community in defining their needs for Health, Wellness & Justice.

Charles believes we are at a good place with our First Nations Health Directors Association. We’ve done so much since the last AGM and covering so much ground with the new Health Directors curriculum. This is all due to having a great team of Health Directors in BC and the best technical team that the First Nations Health Authority provides.

Georgia Cook

Health Administrator, ‘Namgis First Nation

Georgia Cook was born in Prince Rupert British Columbia. Her father is Andrew Clifton from Hartley Bay British Columbia and her mother is Barbara Clifton (nee Ryan) from Gitwangak, BC.

Georgia feels extremely honored to be a member of the inaugural Board of Directors for the First Nations Health Directors Association. This is an extraordinary time for First Nations in British Columbia in the aspect of Health Services. We the FNHDA in collaboration with the FNHC; have an opportunity to assist British Columbia First Nations create Holistic Health and Wellness Systems; responsive to each First Nations unique needs.

She brings to this position an awareness of the many challenges we have working in a system of care that is at times inadequate and insensitive to the needs of First Nations people. Georgia is the Health Administrator for ‘Namgis First Nation; other related experience has been in the areas of Mental Health, Community Health, Social Development and Addictions.

Georgia has attained an Honors Degree in Native Studies, Canadian History and Anthropology from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario and a Law Degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

Vanessa Charlong

Health Director, Hupacasath First Nation

Vanessa Charlong is an Administrative Officer/Health Director and is a Nuu-chah-nulth representative for the Vancouver Island Region. Vanessa is a member of the Hupacasath First Nation in Port Alberni, B.C. She has been a Health Director for fourteen years for her nation.

Vanessa’s work involves taking care of Education, Reception and Membership and a number of other items. She presents around the Kitchen table training, coordinates monthly lunch and learns, and helps with formulating crisis response protocols for the community. Her relevant training includes ATKT – HIV/STI training, TB- DOT training, Help, Healing and Safe Talk training and Brief Action Plan interviewing.

Dealing with community members and the bonds/relationships that are formed and making people happier and healthier are what Vanessa loves about her job as a Health Director. She maintains her health by eating healthy, laughing lots and spending time with her family.

Getting out in nature or going for long drives, traditional dancing, and spending time with her kids are what she likes to do in her personal time. Vanessa loves to spend her time with her Grandmother Nessie Watts, Mother, Sandra Vissia, one sister, and her two brothers. She also loves being silly and having fun with her kids.

Vanessa practices the Mental Wellness campaign objectives – Honoring the land, Powering Down, and Weaving Support Networks – by getting outside and spending time near the water and trees; hiding her IPad under the couch cushions across the room; and, getting lots of support from family, work, friends and community.

One of her favorite best initiatives is the around the Kitchen Table training which will eventually become monthly Womens’ dinners. She also enjoys the monthly lunch and learns and rebranding our Health Programs. She practices lateral kindness by complimenting people on ‘the little things’.

Vannessa is honoured to be a part of the Board and would like to thank the Nuu-chah-nulth Health Directors for their faith and support of her in this position.