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College of Nursing Alumna Nominated for USSU Engaged Alumni Excellence Award

Tara Littlechief

Not only is she giving back in her community working as a Registered Nurse, but she is mentoring young health care professionals of the future. College of Nursing Alumna Tara Littlechief graduated from the Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan in 2009 and since then has spent a lot of time volunteering with the University of Saskatchewan, in particular the Pre-Health Professions Club. This year in recognition of her involvement with her community and strong connection to the College of Nursing , Tara was nominated by her peers for the USSU Engaged Alumni Excellence Award.

The Pre-Health Professions Club links high school students and current health care professionals in a career development continuum to explore health care professions in medicine, nursing, nutrition, and pharmacy. In 2008, when Tara was still a student, she was identified to share her story as a role model within the Pre-Health Professions Club and she has now served as a role model for students for three years and presented her story at numerous conferences. According to Christel Gee, Pre-Health Professions Club Coordinator, "Tara is a humble, but strong First Nations woman who has overcome many barriers in her life to achieve success and that is what makes her a good role model for youth."

In addition to the Pre-Health Professions Club, Tara is strongly committed to the College of Nursing and the Native Access Program to Nursing. She is also committed to the goal of good health for all, and high quality health care. Since graduation, Tara has worked with Health Canada in her own community of White Bear First Nation, as well as at the hospital in Carlyle, SK. As a Registered Nurse, she has continued to encourage youth in her community to take part in hockey and lacrosse and she developed a Good Food Box program when she first started work.

College of Nursing Associate Professor Dr. Pammla Petrucka had the privilege of working with Tara as an undergraduate summer research student, taught her in her nursing degree program and worked with her as a peer to further the nursing profession amongst First Nations peoples. When asked about Tara, Dr. Petrucka replied, "It is her tenacity and strong presence that strike anyone meeting her. Her communication skills, dynamic presentation style and genuine desire to improve the health of her people are commendable. Whether working with an individual or a group, she is a 'one person show' representing the University of Saskatchewan, nursing and First Nations peoples with dignity and pride. I see her as a formidable presence in Saskatchewan's health future."