Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search

Downey Bernice, Sessional Lecturer

photo of Bernice Downey

Bernice Downey

Sessional Lecturer

Contract and Sessional Faculty
Indigenous Studies Program


Dr. Bernice Downey is a woman of Oji/Cree and Celtic heritage, a mother and a grandmother. She is a medical anthropologist with research interests in health literacy for Indigenous populations. She currently is appointed as the Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead for the Toronto-Central Regional Cancer Program.

Bernice’s professional experience includes Sole Proprietor of her consulting company; 'Minoayawin - Good Health Consulting'; Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Health Organization, Executive Director of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, Associate Director of the Well Living House - Centre for Research on Inner City Health, Sessional Instructor, Indigenous health, McMaster University, Qualitative Researcher, Well Living House. She is an experienced administrator, facilitator, and an organizational and systemic change agent. She is also a life - long advocate in the work towards addressing the serious health inequities among Indigenous populations in Canada.

Public speaking engagements at the national and international levels include topics on Health Literacy, Indigenous Social Determinants of Health, Indigenous Post - Secondary Education & Structural Barriers, Aboriginal Nursing, Cultural Safety for Indigenous Populations, Indigenous health - mental health, Indigenous health research and Health Professional recruitment and retention and patient safety. 

She is also a past member of the Public Health Agency of Canada - sponsored, Canadian Reference Group on the Social Determinants of Health, which supported the work of the Canadian Commissioner, the Honorable Monique Begin to the World Health Organization's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.