Physician examining a patient's ear.

Health Services

Our story


We envision a world in which all First Nation, Inuit and Métis have achieved full and equitable access to the conditions of health including: ancestral pride, cultural and language reclamation, peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable environment, land and resources, social justice and health services, where the gifts and wisdom of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit cultures are recognized as valuable, distinctive and beautiful.


To honour relationships, inspire minds and contribute to the health and well-being of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children, families and communities.


  • Provide timely and appropriate access to health care services
  • Ensure quality of care and continuous improvement
  • Build strong relationships with goal of achieving improved health outcomes
  • Support and promote development of new knowledge as determined and directed by community
  • Teach new learners and foster continuing professional education


Ongomiizwin – Health Services (OHS), formerly known as J. A. Hildes Northern Medical Unit (NMU) was created by the late Dr. John Arthur (Jack) Hildes, a physician and researcher who had a long-time commitment to the health and well-being of the people of the North.

An early advocate for the empowerment and self-determination of all Indigenous people, Dr. Hildes also worked towards the education of Indigenous health care providers, working towards a time when communities would manage their own health care needs.

The program started as an outreach physician service program in 1969, serving a few small northern communities in Manitoba and eight hamlets in Nunavut. From the beginning, Ongomiizwin Health Services has been committed to creating culture of mutual respect and a safe, secure and healthy environment where all people are valued. Ongomiizwin is committed to providing dependable high quality medical care and increasing awareness of health concerns of Indigenous people within the professional and academic community.

Equitable and culturally-responsive health care

Physician Charter

Ongomiizwin Health Services aims to provide equitable access to health services for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis people, while respecting Indigenous self-determination.

The Ongomiizwin Health Services Physician Charter outlines the vision, intentions, purpose, service commitments, and code of conduct for physicians working in Ongomiizwin Health Services.

It also emphasizes safety, listening, compassion, respect, humility, transparency, accountability, and learning and innovation as core values for physicians. It includes a section on responsibilities, a commitment to creating a respectful work environment, and procedures for addressing complaints and breaches of the code of conduct.

To learn more about the Physician Charter, contact us at

Service commitments

  • Safety
    We commit to providing culturally and clinically safe care and wellness of clients and communities.

    We commit to listening openly and without judgment to our clients/families/communities and all members of the health care team.

    We commit to compassionate and caring service delivery and providing a welcoming environment to our clients.

    We commit to reducing barriers (physical, language, cultural, etc.) which may limit the use of our services.

  • Humility
    We commit to supporting and responding to our client needs in a non-judgmental manner.

    We commit to being transparent and accountable to our clients, staff, partners and funders.

    We commit to preserving ethical behaviour, providing safe and competent care and upholding quality assurance requirements to maintain facility, professional and practice standards

    Learning and innovation
    We commit to innovation, creativity and being open to explore approaches and evidenced best practice.

Health programs

Diabetic Retinal Screening Program

Registered nurses with specialized training regularly travel to First Nations communities to meet with patients managing diabetes.

Digital technology for comprehensive eye assessments

Utilizing digital technology, these nurses conduct examinations and capture photographs of patients' eyes. The focus is on detecting diabetic retinopathy and other eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Secure image upload to Buhler Eye Care Centre

The digital images are securely uploaded to a server at the Buhler Eye Care Centre, where an ophthalmologist reviews the photos. This process enables physicians to diagnose ophthalmology concerns affecting diabetics, including diabetic retinopathy.

Client education and community liaison

During each visit, the nurses not only conduct retinal assessments but also provide one-to-one client education and collaborate with community health care providers. This crucial work aims to raise awareness of diabetes and eye health at the community level.

Community benefits and improved health

The program benefits communities by providing patients with diabetes convenient access to retinal assessments, eliminating the need for unnecessary travel. This improves health outcomes and prevents treatable conditions from escalating.

Benefits for practitioners: A rewarding professional journey

As a retinal screening nurse, you will have the opportunity to use the latest technology in retinal photography to make a significant impact in First Nations communities.

Working in this program presents various challenges that encourage continued professional development.

Nurses in this program also enjoy the privilege of working in some of the most beautiful settings Manitoba has to offer in the majestic North.

Learn more

Contact the Diabetic Retinal Screening Program at:

Phone: 204-789-3711
Toll-free: 1-877-789-3711
Fax: 204-774-8919

Diabetic Foot Care Program

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association guidelines, patients with diabetes should undergo annual diabetic foot screenings. For those at high risk of complications, screenings should occur more frequently.

Mobile clinics in First Nations communities

Our dedicated diabetic foot care nurses regularly visit First Nations communities, conducting clinics that encompass comprehensive lower limb assessments. These assessments include sensation tests, circulation tests, and skin evaluations. Additionally, our nurses provide tailored foot and wound care based on individual patient needs.

Holistic diabetes management: Active community engagement

Beyond patient consultations, our nurses actively engage in health promotion initiatives within the community. Collaborating closely with allied health teams, this integrative approach ensures a holistic method in managing diabetes.

Continual care, minimizing patient travel

The primary advantage of our program lies in providing continual care, effectively reducing the need for patients to undertake unnecessary travel.

Strategic partnerships

Our program collaborates with First Nations associations, as well as the Federal and Provincial governments. Through the WRHA, the program receives support with coordination in areas such as infectious disease, vascular, and rehab engineering.

Benefits for practitioners: Professional growth and unique experiences

Nurses have the opportunity to expand their knowledge by attending clinics at the Health Sciences Centre led by infectious disease expert Dr. John Embil.

Professional development is actively encouraged through conferences, workshops, and courses.

Nurses also gain valuable experiences by learning about the unique culture in northern communities and spending time in the spectacular Boreal Forest.

Learn more

Contact the Diabetic Foot Care Program at:

Phone: 204-789-3711
Toll-free: 1-877-789-3711
Fax: 204-774-8919

Family physicians

Ongomiizwin – Health Services is dedicated to prioritizing regular physician services for First Nations communities in both northern and southern Manitoba. Our physicians take a proactive approach to managing complex health concerns, ensuring the tracking and treatment of chronic diseases, and conducting vital reviews of reports and prescriptions.

Quality care within communities: Scheduled physicians' visits

Scheduled physicians' visits are designed to provide patients with high-quality care within their communities, minimizing the need for travel to city hospitals unless specialized treatments are necessary.

Role of doctors in health-care teams

Our doctors play a critical role in the health-care teams serving these communities, collaborating with a diverse range of healthcare professionals, including nurses, medical specialists, dentists, physiotherapists, and mental health care workers.

Education and mentorship commitment

In addition to offering consultations to primary caregivers, our doctors allocate time for case-related teaching for nurses and provide preceptorship to family medicine residents and medical undergraduates.

Locum opportunities for temporary roles

Physicians seeking temporary roles can benefit from ongoing locum opportunities, providing flexible options to cover vacation and educational leaves for their peers.

Unique setting in Manitoba’s northern communities

Working in Manitoba's northern communities provides practitioners with a unique setting. They gain exposure to a variety of cases, connect deeply with patients, work across generations of families, and experience a closer bond and appreciation often absent in urban practices.

Valuable life lessons and cultural exposure

Moreover, practitioners learn valuable life lessons from patients familiarized with unique cultural practices, demonstrating resilience, hope, and adaptability. Serving in these communities also offers physicians the opportunity to experience the vibrant Canadian landscape firsthand.

Commitment to primary care, preventive health, and education

Practitioners in this program commit to primary care, preventive health measures, and health education, recognizing that community relations, culture, and values are inherently linked with patient care. Working in this unique environment offers the chance to learn and grow personally and professionally, making it a highly rewarding experience.

Learn more

For more information, contact:

Acey Spence
Phone: 204-789-3282
Toll-free: 1-877-789-3711
Fax: 1-204-774-8919

Inuit Health Program

The Inuit Health Program is one component of Ongomiizwin – Health Services, devoted to coordinating health service provision in Nunavut in partnership with the Government of Nunavut.

The Inuit Health Program includes medical consultants, library services, and community based physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech language pathology services to the seven communities in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, and to the Hamlet of Sanikiluaq in partnership with the Department of Health.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech language pathology are also provided in all schools in Nunavut in partnership with the Department of Education.

Medical specialists

The Specialty Program has been an integral part of Ongomiizwin – Health Services (OHS) since its inception. Throughout the years, OHS has strived to identify issues and concerns of the communities and use creative strategies to address them. The specialty component of OHS has expanded from its original six specialties to 23, not including the Diabetic Foot Care and Retinal Screening programs.

Outreach delivery of specialty programs reduces the need for patients to travel to large urban areas and reduces the inconvenience and associated costs.

On a rotating basis the program deploys from a roster of 70 itinerant specialists.

The following specialty services are provided:

Learn more

For more information, contact OHS:

Phone: 204-789-3711
Toll-free: 1-877-789-3711
Fax: 204-774-8919

Medical rehabilitation (Inuit Health Program)

The Inuit Health Program plays a crucial role in coordinating medical rehabilitation services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology, in collaboration with the government of Nunavut.

Diverse responsibilities and mission

Responsibilities go beyond direct client care and encompass education, client advocacy, and participation in community development activities. The mission of Medical Rehabilitation Services is to "deliver rehabilitation services across Nunavut that are equitable, accessible, and culturally relevant, and strive to achieve excellence in the quality of rehabilitation client care."

Therapists' geographic locations and community services

Therapists associated with Nunavut’s Department of Health are based in Rankin Inlet and travel to the Kivalliq Region’s communities two to five times per year based on community needs. Services to Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, are provided by therapists based in Winnipeg.

Referral process and client-centric approach

Therapists accept referrals from community health providers and self-referrals from individuals. Clients of all ages are seen in locations best suited to their needs, including the therapy services office at the Wellness Center in Rankin Inlet, community health centers, group homes, workplaces, daycares, or during home visits.

Educational rehabilitation services across Nunavut

Therapists associated with Nunavut’s Department of Education are located across Canada, delivering school-based and virtual therapy services across the three regions of Nunavut. Services are delivered in the Response to Intervention model, emphasizing instructional decision-making based on a child's response to evidence-based interventions over time.

Collaborative approach in education

Working collaboratively with educators, families, and students, therapists provide services to individual students and entire schools. The goal is to create classroom environments that encourage successful participation and achievement of children. Therapists collaborate with other rehabilitation staff and health professionals to provide a holistic service to students.

Contact us

Monica Achtemichuk
Director of Medical Rehabilitation Programs
Phone: 204-975-7700
Fax: 204-774-8919

Physician & Clinical Assistant Program

The Ongomiizwin-Health Services Physician and Clinical Assistant Program was launched in 2020 as an innovative way to enhance the delivery of physician resources in Manitoba’s Indigenous communities.

Physician assistants are highly skilled, regulated health-care professionals trained in the medical model as generalists who work in collaboration with a licensed physician with onsite or remote supervision.

Physician assistants are uniquely prepared to be adaptable and versatile within various practice sites and disciplines

Traditionally, clinical assistants are internationally trained physicians. However, they may also be nurses, paramedics or respiratory therapists with an exceptional skill set and function similar to physician assistants in Manitoba.

These physician extenders have been integrated into multidisciplinary teams and function mainly as consultants to advanced-practice registered nurses and support physician care to hospitals and communities.

Our communities

Ongomiizwin-Health Services supplies family physicians to 18 fly-in and drive-in communities and three hospital sites throughout northern Manitoba.

Physician assistants and clinical assistants oversee and deliver chronic care programs in Garden Hill and St. Theresa Point, where they make a significant impact on the management of complex health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Within the fly-in program, our physician assistants help to support the nursing stations as on-call consultants to our nursing colleagues for primary and emergency care.

We also have physician assistants working in the ER and clinic at the Percy E Moore Hospital in Hodgson, Manitoba.

It is our vision to have physician extenders in all our Ongomiizwin-Health Services communities over the next five years.

Clinical rotations

Physician assistant students and mentorship Ongomiizwin-Health Services offers clinical rotations for students in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at the University of Manitoba’s Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

These rotations provide students with an opportunity to get hands-on experience in both chronic and acute care medicine while working with experienced physician assistant preceptors.

Our values

Physician assistants and clinical assistants parallel their physician colleagues in committing to and abiding by the values of the Ongomiizwin-Health Services physician charter which outlines eight service commitments including safety, listening, compassion, respect, humility, transparency, accountability, learning and innovation.

Benefits for practitioners

There’s nothing else like it

Be part of an exciting and innovative program backed by supportive physicians and leadership. Explore Manitoba’s rich cultural landscape and consider practicing medicine in a rewarding and awe-inspiring northern environment.

Independence and autonomy

Many of the communities we serve are remote, which requires clinicians travel by plane, helicopter, boat and hovercraft to fly-in communities. Due to the setting, you will practice medicine with a high level of autonomy and authority with only remote physician supervision. This type of practice is particularly challenging and extremely rewarding and is not offered anywhere else in Manitoba or Canada.


Ongomiizwin-Health Services has various positions ranging from casual locum opportunities to full-time contracts . We have split-site practice options and flexible schedules that afford our contractors a balanced professional career.

Ongoing educational opportunities

Ongomiizwin-Health Services provides opportunities to enrich your knowledge and skills and to enhance clinical experiences in northern medicine. We offer an accredited continuing medical education series to keep our team up to date in best practice and to support ongoing learning and growth with a designated physician assistant and clinical assistant program education.


Our strong, seasoned physician assistant team provides on-site mentorship of newly graduated or recently hired physician assistants out of our Garden Hill Nursing Station.

Learn more

We are currently hiring! Please send inquiries or expressions of interest to:

Acey Spence
Phone: 204-789-3282
Toll-free: 1-877-789-3711
Fax: 1-204-774-8919

Renal health (Island Lake regional program)

The Island Lake Regional Renal Health Program operates a cutting-edge dialysis center and places a strong emphasis on community prevention and education through a variety of activities.

Specially trained nursing staff

All nursing staff undergo specialized training through the nine-week Manitoba Nephrology Nursing Course in Winnipeg. Maintenance and housekeeping staff are sourced from the community and also act as interpreters when necessary.

Comprehensive patient care approach

In the event of medical issues unrelated to dialysis, patients are cared for by the Ongomiizwin Health – Services physician and FNIHB nurse stationed at the nursing station.

Community integration: Modern living spaces

To facilitate staff, visiting specialists, and students, a modern nine-plex apartment building was constructed adjacent to the Renal Health Unit and Nursing Station. This encourages integration into the community.

Improving lives of dialysis patients

The establishment of this program has substantially improved the lives of Island Lake dialysis patients. Previously, patients in remote Island Lake Communities were uprooted from their communities, leading to social and health consequences.

Community-centric approach: Staying home matters

This program allows community members to receive dialysis treatment without leaving their homes. Additionally, transient patients can return home for significant life events like weddings, farewells, and holidays, fostering a connection with their families, homes, culture, and social networks.

Hope for future generations: Educational and prevention programs

Together with the educational and prevention programs in the communities, there is hope for better health outcomes for future generations.

Partnership and collaboration

Launched in 2005, this program is a result of collaborative efforts between First Nation communities, Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, Manitoba Health, Manitoba Renal Program, University of Manitoba, Health Canada (FNIHB), and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Learn more

For more information, contact:

Phone: 204-789-3425
Fax: 204-774-8919

Communities served

Legacy fund
We have established the Ongomiizwin Health – Services 50th anniversary legacy fund to mark a milestone in providing health services to Indigenous communities in Manitoba and the North for the past five decades. Revenue realized through sponsorships and donations will be directed to this fund to support and expand opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to enter careers in the health science.

Our team

Contact us

Ongomiizwin – Health Services
Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
Room 665 Basic Medical Sciences Building
745 Bannatyne Avenue
University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0W2