2018 Manitoba Harm Reduction Conference:  Improving Access in Rural, Remote, Northern, and Indigenous Communities

We will be updating this page regularly as speakers are confirmed!

Keynote speakers


Dr. Marcia Anderson

is Cree- Saulteaux, with roots going to the Norway House Cree Nation and Peguis First Nation  in Manitoba. She practices both Internal Medicine and Public Health as a Medical Officer of Health with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. She was recognized for her contributions to Indigenous peoples health with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. She has recently been appointed Chair of the Indigenous Health Network of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.


Tasha Spillett

Tasha Spillett is a Cree and Trinidadian woman, a celebrated educator and an active member of Manitoba’s Indigenous community. She is a ceremony woman and a traditional singer, often offering her voice at community gatherings. In her work as an educator, Tasha makes every effort to infuse her cultural knowledge into her teaching philosophy and practice to support the positive cultural identities of Indigenous students and to strengthen relationships between all communities. Tasha acknowledges her unique opportunity and
responsibility to create learning environments that are culturally responsive, and foster belonging for Indigenous students and families.

Tasha has experience working in the school system as a classroom teacher, and she is also asked to work with educators on increasing their understandings of Indigenous peoples. This year, she will be teaching an Introduction to Aboriginal Education course at the University of Winnipeg for teacher candidates. She is also actively involved in the development of Indigenous Education policies and curriculum and shares her traditional knowledge and educational pedagogy with school divisions and the community.

To honour her responsibility to the community, Tasha shares her cultural knowledge and teaching background beyond the classroom. She has served as a mentor in the Sisters Circle, which is an after-school program for Indigenous girls, that is focused on promoting cultural identity, positive self-esteem and academic success. Tasha is also a member of the Manito Ahbee Festival board of governors and in her capacity with Manito Ahbee she helps to shape the annual Education Days, which brings youth, Indigenous community leaders and cultural knowledge keepers together to learn and share with the intent of preserving Indigenous ways of being. Tasha is also the chair of the Miss Manito Ahbee Youth Ambassador gathering in honor of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and
is actively involved in other initiatives to ensure that Indigenous women and girls are safe in our communities.

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Ian Whetter

Ian Whetter is a family doctor, medical educator and father of three.  He works at the University of Manitoba with a focus on increasing access to high quality, non-judgemental, and anti-racist healthcare for rural and remote communities.  With the U of M’s Max Rady College of Medicine, he is the Lead for Social Accountability and the Director of the Alan Klass Memorial Program for Health Equity. He is an Education Director with the Northern Remote Family Medicine Residency Stream. He is also a Medical Program Advisor with Ongomiizwin Health Services.  He was a founding clinician with the Transgender Health Program and Klinic Community Health.

Substance Consulting

Lukas Mailtland and Margaret Bryans formed Substance Consulting to provide facilitation, education and support to agencies and organizations  looking to improve, increase, or just get started on ensuring services are meaningful and valuable to people who use drugs. Margaret is a nurse and has been working in sexual health and harm reduction for 18 years, specifically with women who use drugs and who are pregnant and/or mothers. Lukas has been a social worker for 17 years, working in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and Winnipeg. He is a passionate harm reduction activist and front line worker.