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Heather Thomson, December 2019, Bunia, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Heather Thomson-Donor Story

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How IWSO supports my role as a nurse practitioner in Ottawa

As a nurse practitioner at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, I provide primary health care to many women who are newcomers to Ottawa. Many of these women arrived as refugees fleeing violence and displacement and who have been witness to horrific tragedy and suffered from substantial loss.

I have had the privilege to work with Medicins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for 9 field assignments from 2003 to 2019.  I have undertaken the roles of outreach nurse, project coordinator, and medical coordinator in several sub-Saharan countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan as well as one field assignment in Yemen.  During these field assignments, MSF has provided health care to the populations suffering from violence/war, displacement, and epidemics.

My MSF experiences have helped me to understand part of the journey a refugee must make and the suffering they experience prior to arriving in Canada.  Beyond the health care that I can provide, these women need support in their transition to life in Canada.

For several years, I have referred many women to IWSO to provide this support through IWSO’s settlement and integration services as well as crisis counselling.  Many women have reported back to me that the services they received through IWSO helped them in their journey.

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Immigrant Women Services Ottawa
219 Argyle Avenue, Suite 400
Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 2H4
Tel: 613-729-3145
Fax: 613-729-9308