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The Student International Health Initiative (SIHI) is a McMaster Student association. This group is comprised of students who are interested in raising awareness of issues pertaining to social justice, specifically when it comes to health and First Nations issues. For the past fours years, SIHI has held an annual Aboriginal Health Conference at McMaster University in hopes of raising awareness of the health challenges faced by the First Nations peoples of Canada and encouraging constructive action on these issues.  In all years, the conference was met with great success.  Last year’s conference “Bridging the Gap between Health Expectations and Health Policy” attracted well over 200 participants, of various age groups and backgrounds. Feedback from the students, faculty, health care professionals and First Nations community members who attended the conferences was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.

This year, we hope to continue contributing to awareness and action in the struggle for good health through two separate events, the Aboriginal Youth Health Symposium and the Aboriginal Health Conference.  The Aboriginal Health Conference will be held on February 2nd, 2008 at McMaster University.  This year’s theme, “Exploring Health through Cultural Perspectives”, will allow Aboriginal people to share their culture, health beliefs and concerns. This will create opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue and education. The Aboriginal Youth Health Symposium will be held on February 6th, 2008 at McMaster University. It will be aimed at raising awareness among youth of health challenges and encouraging their involvement in their pursuit of post-secondary studies.