Lamb FNMI project earns major award

A University of Lethbridge Faculty of Health Sciences project is making an impact on First Nations, Métis and Inuit learning, and has been recognized with a major award.

Ashoka Canada, The Counselling Foundation of Canada, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative and partners announced a number of award-winning ideas and projects that grabbed top honours in the Changemakers Initiative: Inspiring Approaches to FNMI Learning.

Among the winners is a project directed by learning facilitator and current master of arts student Marilyn Lamb (BA/BEd '96).

Marilyn Lamb
Learning facilitator and master's student Marilyn Lamb says targeted support can greatly increase graduation rates of FNMI students.

"I am so honoured yet overwhelmed with this recognition and award," says Lamb. "The University is committed to supporting its First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, and I am proud to be part of this circle."

Lamb says that the goal of the program is not only to personally support students so they can successfully complete their degrees, but also to improve cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural education.

"Before the support services were in place, enrolment and retention were low, with only a handful of students spread across the four-year bachelor of nursing and bachelor of health sciences programs."

With targeted support, those student numbers have steadily increased.

"More than 60 students are currently enrolled for the 2011/2012 school year and continued growth is anticipated. Correspondingly, graduation rates of FNMI students have also increased," she says.

Lamb's submission, Support Services for Aboriginal Students in Health Sciences, was selected from more than 250 entries.

The program is intended to provide support to students by: offering assistance in the often-challenging transition from home and family life to university; mentorship programs with elders and aboriginal health care professionals; as well as tutoring and counselling support. In addition, social networking opportunities are provided along with scholarship and bursary application assistance.

This story first appeared in the April 2012 issue of the Legend. To view the entire issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.