• Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes and Indigenous Peoples – Supporting a Culturally Safe and Self-Determined Journey


The first in a series of webinars leading up to the virtual two-day event, Type 2 Diabetes Dialogue 2020 – Creating Connections for Change, this 60-minute webinar focuses on type 2 diabetes and Indigenous Peoples in BC. Thought leaders Rebecca Sovdi and Jessica Guss draw on evidence and lived experience to provide the context and understanding required to effectively support Indigenous peoples on a culturally safe and self-determined journey.

Learning objectives:

  • Discuss the difference between genetic risk factors and social risk factors for diabetes
  • Understand the current context of type 2 diabetes prevention and care in BC for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples
  • Hear lived experience of a personal journey and reflect on ways to make a difference for Indigenous Peoples with relation to diabetes regardless of your role in the system

Speaker Bios

Rebecca Sovdi

Rebecca Sovdi is a Senior Policy Analyst and the Clinical Practice Consultant for Diabetes with the First Nations Health Authority and has 13 years of experience working in Indigenous health in the areas of health and wellness promotion and chronic disease. She has mixed European Ancestry, French, Dutch, and German, and is honoured to be an adopted member of the Takaya Wolf Clan, as are all family members at the First Nations Health Authority. Rebecca appreciates the opportunity to peacefully live as an uninvited guest on the traditional and unceded territory of the Cowichan people on Vancouver Island. Rebecca is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and a Master’s in Public Health.

Jessica Guss

Jessica Guss is a Manager of Cultural Safety & Humility with the First Nations Health Authority and respectfully acknowledges that she lives, works and plays within the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She has mixed Ancestry that includes both the Haida and Squamish Nations as well as Ukrainian decent. Jessica has 20+ years of Business Administration experience including 6 years of experience working in Indigenous health and wellness.

In addition to Jessica’s important role at the First Nations Health Authority, she also brings the valuable perspective of having lived experience with diabetes. Jessica was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2008, and since then has had both negative and positive experiences navigating care in the health system. She wants to share her journey with others, hoping to make the world a better place for other Indigenous peoples and all peoples living with diabetes.