Perspectives from Indigenous Patient Navigator Terri Hansen-Gardiner

The passion that fuels me as a patient navigator is that I wish to be a voice for all indigenous cancer patients especially those in northern Saskatchewan where I live. These patients are at a great disadvantage because of the geographical region we live in.   

It is important for me to share my cancer journey. My hope is to educate cancer patients so that it may ease the "fear of the unknown" so that when they hear the word "CANCER" it is not always a death sentence. 

There have been navigators in the past for cancer patients, but they were not Indigenous. There is a comfort, a sense of familiarity, and a sense of safety when you can speak to someone who - like you - is Indigenous. 

I wish to help navigate indigenous people through the health care system and act as an interpreter for people who may experience language barriers, or who may not understand the technical terms often used by care providers. 

I feel it is vital to be a voice for people who may feel voiceless. This is about empowering Indigenous Cancer Patients, supporting them on their cancer care journey, and giving them hope. 

Terri Hansen-Gardiner is an Indigenous Patient Navigator with Dr. Groot’s SHRF-funded research project, “A Journey with You: Indigenous Peer Navigation in Saskatchewan Cancer Care”

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Gary Groot