The mission of NNVAWI is to eliminate violence by advancing nursing education, practice, research, and public policy.

The Nursing Network on Violence Against Women, International

The mission of NNVAWI is to eliminate violence against women by advancing
nursing education, practice, research, and public policy.

Nursing Network on Violence Against Women, International ● August 25, 2018


22nd NNVAWI CONFERENCE Plenary Session- Thursday 27th September

More fabulous plenary speakers for this years #NNVAWI2018 conference.


Plenary Speakers - Thursday, September 27

Dr. Bernice Downey and Marilee Nowgesic


Presentation title: Anishinaabe Kwe': Our women-our communities

International collaboration to address violence and trauma in Canada's Indigenous communities.


Dr. Benice Downey, RN, BScN, PhD


Assistant Professor and Indigenous Health Initiative Lead, School of Nursing / Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neuroscience, Faculty of Health Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Dr. Bernice Downey is a woman of Ojibwe and Celtic heritage, a mother and a grandmother. She is a nurse and medical anthropologist with research interests in health, health literacy and Indigenous Traditional knowledge and health/research system reform for Indigenous populations. Dr. Downey is an experienced administrator, facilitator, and an organizational and systemic change agent. Among her accomplishments, she successfully led the development of the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute; serves as the Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead for Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto-Central Region, and is the Sole Proprietor of her consulting company; 'Minoayawin - Good Health Consulting'. She has also served as Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Health Organization; Executive Director of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada; Associate Director and Research Associate of the Well Living House - Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. An active member of the Canadian Institute of Health Research - Institute of Aboriginal Health Advisory Board for six years, she was also appointed to the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, Canadian Reference Group. Dr. Downey is a life-long advocate in the work towards addressing the serious health inequities among Indigenous populations in Canada.


Marilee A Nowgesic

Executive Director, Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, Ottawa, Canada

Originally from the Fort William First Nation, near Thunder Bay Ontario, Marilee is the oldest daughter of the late Deana D. Nowgesic and the late Frederick J. Nowgesic. From the Ojibway Nation and an Eagle clan member, she received her traditional teachings from the recognized First Nations Elders of her home community. Her formal postsecondary education was obtained from Lakehead University and Carleton University. Additionally, she studied music with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and obtained achievements in Violin, Guitar and Music Theory.

Ms. Nowgesic has worked with several clients in the federal, provincial, territorial government and numerous Indigenous and non-government and private sector agencies to develop social marketing campaigns, communication strategies, education programs and policy development guidelines for Indigenous communities across Canada. It was from these experiences that an overarching and recurring theme in her work presented itself. Since that time, she has designed a workshop/seminar series that develops and provides awareness and positive understanding of the traditional knowledge, cultural protocols and current issues of Indigenous people to the mainstream population. Additionally, she has created a similar series for both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population with a focus on youth development aimed at providing future leaders with the skills necessary for informed decisions and empowerment.

Her greatest joys are the cherished moments with her lifetime partner and their two granddaughters – Carolynn and Olivia.





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More details on all plenary speakers can be found on our website at


Full details of the final #NNVAWI2018 conference program can be seen here

Please ensure you view the program and if presenting, check the day and time of your presentation to ensure your travel plans are correct.




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