Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus

Diversity Speaker Series: Dr. Danièle Behn Smith

January 23, 2023

You’re Invited – Addressing Structural Racism in Canada’s Healthcare System – Featured Expert and Virtual Panel Discussion

Health and healing, both mental and physical can present major challenges for Indigenous people and others in marginalized groups to work, learn and thrive. One of the areas that Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified to address in its 94 Calls to Action is Health. The effects of generations of trauma continue to be passed down in these communities and barriers caused by systemic or structural racism is resulting in a significant gap in health outcomes for Indigenous people across Canada.

Join RRC Polytech’s Anti-Racism Committee for the final presentation of a four-part virtual speaker series featuring champions of equity, diversity, and inclusion accompanied by a moderated panel discussion designed to inspire change.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Danièle Behn Smith. As B.C.’s Deputy Provincial Health Officer – Indigenous Health, she works alongside Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to provide independent advice and support to the Ministry of Health to advance the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples and truth and reconciliation. 

Dr. Danièle Behn Smith

Dr. Behn Smith is Eh Cho Dene (Big Animal People) of the Fort Nelson First Nation in B.C. with French Canadian/Métis roots in the Red River Valley. As both a physician and health leader, her work recognizes self-determination as the foundation of health and wellness among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and the importance of Indigenous approaches and healing systems.

She advocates for upholding the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples by illuminating and arresting the ways in which inherited ideologies of white supremacy and racism insidiously show up in everyday public health practices, policies, and approaches.  

Following her 20–25-minute presentation addressing structural racism in Canada’s healthcare system – Titi Tijani, President of African Communities of Manitoba Incorporated will join the discussion to add her perspective, further the conversation, and respond to questions from the audience.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023 

Time: Noon – 1pm

Host: RRC Polytech’s Anti-Racism Committee via ZOOM

Moderator: Ginger Arnold, Instructor, Social Innovation and Community Development

Click to Register

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. If you require any accommodations, please contact kmichie@rrc.ca. For all other questions, please contact diversity@rrc.ca.

If you have technical difficulties when logging on to this Zoom event, please contact kmichie@rrc.ca or text 204-299-8000. 

Full Bios:


As a leader, internationally educated teacher, and activist, with over 25 years of experience in community development, Titi Tijani is a pillar in the African Community. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Ecology from University of Manitoba; and Certificates in Education, Community Leadership, NVCI Trainer and Conflict Resolution.  She has worked with Manitoba Housing, in Tenant Services since 1998 and currently as Director of Support Services.

Titi has volunteered in the African community for over 25 years, supporting the integration of newcomer women and their families.  As the President of African Communities of Manitoba Inc. (ACOMI) since 2017, Titi supports the African ethno cultural community organizations build and develop capacity to support their membership; preserve and promote African culture and heritage and promote cultural understanding in Manitoba. 

Her career in social services, education and her volunteer work with organizations like the Okin International Club of Canada (OICC), African Communities of Manitoba Inc., Manitoba Lung Association, Central Youth Justice Committee, Nigerian Association of Manitoba, the Black Community Collective and the Police Accountability Coalition have allowed her to advocate and support thousands of community members and organizations in their pursuit of building a more diverse, sustainable, and equitable Manitoba. 

It is for these reasons that Titi has been recognized by the Spirit of a Community Builder Award, the Premier’s Volunteer Service Award Certificate of Recognition, one of 100 most fascinating Manitobans in 2020, Manitoba Honour 150, Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award.in 2021 and most recently as a recipient of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Community Leadership Award in 2022.

Dr. Danièle Behn Smith

Effective October 13, 2015, Dr. Danièle Behn Smith has been appointed as the province’s aboriginal health physician advisor.

Dr. Behn Smith works alongside, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer. Dr. Behn Smith provides independent advice and support to the Ministry of Health on First Nations and Aboriginal health issues. In support of the Ministry’s strategic agenda, Dr. Behn Smith focuses on closing the gap in health outcomes between First Nations and other British Columbians.

Dr. Behn Smith is Eh Cho Dene (Big Animal People) of the Fort Nelson First Nation in B.C. with French Canadian/Métis roots in the Red River Valley. Since getting her Doctor of Medicine from McMaster University and completing residencies at the universities of Ottawa and Manitoba, Dr. Behn Smith’s career has spanned the country and the globe.

She has practiced rural medicine in remote communities across Canada and is currently a family physician at Tse’wulhtun Health Center in the Cowichan Valley. She was a board director for the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, the director of education for the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Health Initiatives Program and the site director of the University of British Columbia’s Aboriginal Family practice residency.

Dr. Behn-Smith was also the host of “Medicine Woman”, a 13-episode television series which explored traditional healing practices in ten countries on six continents.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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