Dr. Nancy Tatham (left), Dr. James Makokis (centre), and Donna Henderson.
Dr. Nancy Tatham (left) and her partner Donna Henderson (right) pictured with Dr. James Makokis in October 2019. Dr. Makokis was the inaugural speaker in the Dr. M. Nancy Tatham & Donna Henderson Lectureship.

Inspiring health transformation through a $1M gift to create a Chair in Indigenous Health

Dr. Nancy Tatham, Artsci’86, Artsci’00, and her partner, Donna Henderson, have donated $1 million to create a Chair in Indigenous Health at Queen’s Health Sciences (QHS). Dr. Sarah Funnell has been appointed to the role, and also named Associate Dean, Indigenous Health, effective Sept. 1, 2023.  

At a meeting of the Dean’s Advisory Council, Dr. Tatham heard Dean Philpott’s vision to create an Office of Indigenous Health. She was inspired by that vision to step up and fund the chair position.  

“We’re excited to play a part in helping Queen’s Health Sciences take an important step forward in more inclusive education—and with that the greater recognition of the wisdom and teachings of Indigenous communities and scholars,” says Dr. Tatham and Henderson.  

“To transform health sciences education, we need to use Indigenous-informed and culturally-safe practices; decolonize our curriculum; and, promote the overall health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples. The role of Chair, Indigenous Health will help lead these efforts and moves us further on the path to reconciliation,” says Dr. Jane Philpott, Dean, Queen’s Health Sciences and Director, School of Medicine.  

In the role of Chair, Indigenous Health, Dr. Funnell will develop and support scholarship and Indigenous ways of knowing within QHS and enable interdisciplinary community-oriented knowledge translation, mentorship, and collaboration with Indigenous communities and Queen’s colleagues. Dr. Funnell will foster and support the education, supervision, and mentorship of learners at all levels and promote continuing professional development for faculty. In conjunction with the new role, Dr. Funnell will establish the Office of Indigenous Health at QHS and will work closely alongside Dr. Colleen Davison, Associate Dean, Equity and Social Accountability. 

As long-time supporters and benefactors of QHS, Dr. Tatham and Henderson established the Dr. M. Nancy Tatham and Donna Henderson Lectureship to feature talks from scholars and experts with diverse backgrounds to help promote equity, diversity and inclusion in medical education. They also supported the campaign to build the School of Medicine building in recognition of Dr. Tatham’s mother, Dr. Ruth Tatham and her Meds Class of 1954. Dr. Ruth Tatham passed away in the fall of 2022.  

Dr. Nancy Tatham’s lifelong passion and commitment to activism, education, and advocacy for equity, diversity and inclusion began more than 40 years ago. She worked as an education coordinator at the Kingston AIDS Project and later at Kingston and District Immigrant Services, Canadian Mental Health Association and as a director of student services at Queen’s. After completing her MD at McMaster University, she worked in family medicine and geriatric medicine until she retired from clinical work. However, she continues to teach at QHS as an associate faculty member, delivering curriculum to first and final year medical students regarding 2SLGBTQIA+ healthcare. 

“On behalf of Queen’s Health Sciences, I want to thank Nancy and Donna for their visionary support and leadership. I am excited about the advances to come in Indigenous scholarship at QHS and am thrilled to have Dr. Funnell in this role,” says Dean Philpott.  

This story originally appeared on the Faculty of Health Sciences website.