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Dr. Catherine Cook joins Arthritis Society Canada as National Indigenous Advisor

TORONTO, June 4, 2024 – Arthritis Society Canada is excited to welcome Dr. Catherine Cook as its first-ever National Indigenous Advisor. Dr. Cook's clinical and academic background will be instrumental in guiding the Arthritis Action Plan – a nationwide strategy to revolutionize health outcomes and quality of life for people living with arthritis. 

“We are so thrilled to welcome Dr. Cook. Her knowledge and expertise will be pivotal in shaping our engagement with Indigenous communities as we work to build culturally appropriate approaches to supporting and delivering arthritis care through the Arthritis Action Plan,” says Trish Barbato, president and CEO at Arthritis Society Canada. 

Dr. Cook, who is Red River Métis, grew up in a remote fishing community on an island in Lake Winnipeg. She became one of the first Indigenous physicians trained in Manitoba, and after obtaining a medical degree and Master of Science from the University of Manitoba, she worked as a clinician in remote northern nursing stations for several years. 

“In my clinical practice, I have seen disparities in healthcare access and quality that are unacceptable,” says Dr. Cook. “Many people around me live with arthritis, including myself, so I know the importance of Arthritis Society Canada’s work and I am very excited to take the Arthritis Action Plan further to serve Indigenous Peoples better.” 

Dr. Cook, a recipient of the prestigious Vanier Medal, co-founded the Senate-approved Ongomiizwin – Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, which has a permanent place in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.   

For over three decades, Dr. Cook has advocated for better access to quality healthcare in Indigenous communities in Manitoba through her work in public health policy, health administration and academia. She also brought systemic change to the University of Manitoba in her former role as Vice President (Indigenous), advancing equity and access to post-secondary education and enhancing the curriculum to educate students on the history of Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba and Canada.   


About the Arthritis Action Plan 
The Arthritis Action Plan will be a nationwide strategy, co-created by 21 Ecosystem Champion organizations, working to revolutionize health outcomes and quality of life for people living with arthritis. Over the next ten years, the Plan will take on the big issues of arthritis, including prevention, cures, equitable access and elevating the urgency of the disease.  

About Arthritis Society Canada  
Arthritis Society Canada represents the six million people in Canada living with arthritis today, and the millions more who are impacted or at risk. Fueled by the trust and support of our donors and volunteers, Arthritis Society Canada is fighting arthritis with research, advocacy, innovation, information and support. We are Canada’s largest charitable funder of cutting-edge arthritis research. We will not give up our efforts until everyone is free from the agony of arthritis. Arthritis Society Canada is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, visit      

Media Contact:  
Jenny Ng, Senior Public Relations & Media Manager 
Arthritis Society Canada  

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