Meeting the health and wellness needs of The People since 1999
The SSHS was established in 1999 as a means of delivering culturally appropriate shared health services to N̓Quatqua, Samahquam (Q̓aLaTKu7em), Skatin, and Douglas (Xax'sta) First Nations. The goal was, as it is today, to make health and wellness services more accessible to Southern St̓át̓imc people living in isolated communities; people who face barriers such as reliable roads, access to transportation and poor telecommunications. The SSHS is committed to removing these, and other barriers, people face when trying to access health and wellness services.
Range of services provided by SSHS
The SSHS provides services that are beyond the means of its four member communities that have a combined on-reserve population of fewer than 550 people. The health and wellness needs of the member communities are both varied and shared, with frequently raised concerns including the need safe housing and drinking water, adequate support for residential school survivors and early childhood development that support St̓át̓imc values. Through its relationship with VCH and FNHA, the SSHS is able to provide the services of a chiropractor, dietician, occupation therapist, pharmacist, physiotherapist, podiatrist, and nurses to support its programming needs.
SSHS programs and services are delivered by a dedicated team of women and men in a variety of healing professions. The diversity of skills SSHS’s staff members and contractors bring allows the organization to provide a wide-range of programs to serve the citizens of its member Nations. The SSHS also utilizes the services of many other health care providers in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor. These services may be direct, as in the case of helicopter visits from physicians to remote locations, or indirect, as in the case of medical referrals to specialists.
The society is governed and guided by an eight-member board consisting of two representatives from each of the four SSHS member Nations. The SSHS Board of Directors works closely with the health director to meet the organizational goals as outlined in the SSHS Community Wellness Health and Wellness Plan 2012–2017.
The SSHS works in partnership with the First Nations Heath Authority (FNHA), Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), the Lower Stl'atl'imx Tribal Council (LTSC), and both provincial and federal government agencies to secure funding and the human resources necessary to carry out its programs. The SHSS also works with the Líl̓wat Nation in the area of shared medical and dental resources.
The SSHS's philosophy is illustrated in its vision and service delivery model. A commitment of its member Nations to honour the health of The People, combined with a service delivery model built on the structure of the medicine wheel, ensures that The People's health care needs — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual — are being addressed in culturally appropriate ways. The SSHS believes unequivocally that only the N̓Quatqua, Skatin, Samahquam and Xax'sta Nations can address their members’ well-being in a framework that reflects St̓át̓imc culture, tradition, and values.
The SSHS supports self-determination in all matters pertaining of First Nations health. This non-profit organization is committed to designing and delivering community-based programs that also respect local autonomy and control.