Tessie Harris is a registered dietitian and coordinator of the chronic disease management program at the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Center. She is fascinated by the intersection of food, health, culture, society and economy. She is passionate about supporting food security and Indigenous food sovereignty and feels fortunate to live in a place with an abundance of nutritious and culturally significant local foods. She believes that a nutritious and enjoyable meal is not only fundamental for physical and emotional health, but also a way to help hospital patients feel comfortable, respected and supported during their stay.
Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Center
The Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Center, operated by Northern Health, is situated on the beautiful land of Haida Gwaii, BC. The majority of the population served by this facility are of the Haida First Nation. This rural facility has 4 acute care beds, 4 long term care beds and an emergency department as well as hosting 4 assisted living units. The foodservice department currently operates using a ‘re-therm menu’ for patients and residents; individual meals are prepared elsewhere and reheated before service. Northern Health acknowledges that providing local food that is nutritious and culturally acceptable is essential for increasing patient satisfaction and improving patient health.
The NHGHHC plans to transition its food service operation from a retherm system to on-site meal preparation. By cooking on-site, we will have the opportunity to integrate more local and traditional Haida foods into our hospital menu. We will work with local farmers, fishers and hunters to source local produce, fish and other cultural foods. We hope that by serving fresher and more culturally appropriate meals we can further support the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health of our patients.