Dr. Sarah Funnell appointed Associate Dean, Indigenous Health and Chair, Indigenous Health | Faculty of Health Sciences

On the recommendation of Dean Jane Philpott, Teri Shearer, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen’s University has appointed Dr. Sarah Funnell as the inaugural Associate Dean, Indigenous Health and Chair, Indigenous Health for a five-year term, effective September 1, 2023.

Dr. Funnell is currently the Director of Indigenous Health and Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Queen’s Health Sciences (QHS), and is the Founding Director of the Centre of Indigenous Health Research and Education and Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa (uOttawa).

In the new role of Associate Dean, Dr. Funnell will strategically guide QHS in its actions to achieve reconciliation. Dr. Funnell will lead efforts to incorporate Indigenous health and cultural perspectives into health education, administration, research, and clinical practice – working in collaboration with Indigenous communities and students that are served by QHS, as well as with other change champions. As a key member of the decanal team, Dr. Funnell will provide guidance and advice to QHS leaders. 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 Chair, Indigenous Health, Dr. Funnell will develop, conduct, and support scholarship and ways of Indigenous knowing within QHS, and enable interdisciplinary community-oriented knowledge translation, mentorship, and collaboration with Indigenous communities and Queen’s colleagues. Dr. Funnell will also foster and support the education, supervision, and mentorship of learners at all levels and promote continuing professional development for faculty. This Chair was created through a $1 million donation by Dr. Nancy Tatham and her partner Ms. Donna Henderson. 

In addition to her work in Indigenous health and medical education, Dr. Funnell has extensive experience in family medicine and public health. Dr. Funnell’s career in healthcare spans over two decades beginning as a radiographer in the late 1990s. She currently serves as a family physician at Ottawa’s Centretown Community Health Centre, where she provides care to a diverse patient population in the urban setting, including street-involved, gender diverse, new Canadians and Indigenous patients. She has also worked as a family doctor at the Akwesasne First Nation, where she gained a deep understanding of the unique health challenges facing Indigenous communities on-reserve in rural settings. From 2018 to April 2022, she was the Associate Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health and worked to support the pandemic response and public health and vaccination initiatives, particularly among Indigenous populations.

Dr. Funnell is a status First Nations woman with mixed ancestry of Algonquin and Tuscarora and is a band member of Kitigan Zibi who grew up among the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation. Her Algonquin name, Minwanimad, means pleasant breeze and was given to her by her great Auntie who saw her gift of leadership. Throughout her career, she has been an active voice and advocate to improve Indigenous health and curriculum through her volunteer work with the College of Family Physicians of Canada, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Medical Council of Canada, and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. She is a founding and executive member of the National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education and a past member of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.

Her research focus includes Indigenous population health, Indigenous data governance, and the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare of Indigenous older adults. She is an award-winning educator and prolific speaker on topics related to Indigenous health, health equity, public health, and primary care.

After completing medical school in the Aboriginal Medical Program at U of O in 2013, she went on to pursue her residency in family medicine and public health and preventative medicine. She also earned her MSc in Epidemiology and Certificate in Global Health Training from UOttawa during that time.

Dr. Funnell is a highly respected clinician, researcher, and advocate for Indigenous health, with a wealth of experience in public health, family medicine, and medical education. Please join Dean Philpott in congratulating Dr. Funnell on her appointment.


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