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Because your voice matters.

Member, Food Service Operators Working Group

Posted • Last updated


Commitment: Long-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Northern Region

Last updated

Volunteer Opportunity
Do you have an interest in bringing Indigenous knowledge around food and traditions to the Northern Health monthly meetings with the food service team. Support Northern Health with improving the regional menu so it better serves and represents the Northern Health population.


Lead Organization/Department
Northern Health, Regional Diet Office

As Northern Health looks to incorporate traditional Indigenous foods and be inclusive of Indigenous food traditions, they want to ensure a voice with this knowledge is present to inform and teach. The patient partner will bring knowledge of traditional foods and how they can be appropriately included on the Northern Health regional menu.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of collaborate on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will work together with you to formulate solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decisions to the maximum extent possible.

• Knowledge of traditional Indigenous foods within the Northern Health region
• Experience working in large groups
• Passion for improving the food variety in health care
• Willingness to collaborate and learn about food service operations within a health care environment
• Please note:
– The placement process for this opportunity may include an informal interview between the volunteer and the health care partner.
• If you have a strong interest in this work but have not yet completed a PVN orientation and Volunteer Agreement, are unsure if your experience is a good fit or feel another format of engagement would work better with your availability, please contact Cathy Almost

• Number of vacancies: 2
• Date and Time: 1 meeting a month for 1 hour.   Date and time to be determined based the patient partner and our schedules availability.
• Location: Virtually, via Microsoft Teams or via teleconference
• Commitment: seven months to a year

No out of pocket expenses are anticipated for this engagement opportunity. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria, but have concerns about your ability to participate, please contact Cathy Almost at to see if support options are available. We are always seeking to better understand and reduce barriers to participation.

As health care evolves and looks to inclusion, diversity and equity priorities, the food service department shares these goals. Attempts are already being made to build a menu that is respectful and inclusive of a variety of traditions, but it could be done better. The gap at present is the voices at the table are limited in knowledge and do not have understanding of traditional practices or Indigenous celebrations. Knowing this the group would like to include a patient partner that can bring this perspective forward. The patient partner will be working with food service teams throughout Northern Health, as well as the Regional Diet Office through bi-weekly meetings. Currently the Food Service Operator meetings include Support Services Managers, Food Service Supervisors, and other employees of Northern Health. This limits our understanding of what food items our local communities would like to see on the menu. The discussions at this meeting would impact the food received in acute care and long-term care settings throughout Northern Health.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Cathy Almost
Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement | Northern Region

From Our Community

Karla Warkotsch

Patient Experience Consultant – Interior Health

Karla Warkotsch

The question I like to ask health care employees is ‘Who is this for?’ and ‘Do we have the right people at the table?’ As a health care employee, I see how easy it is to fall into doing for, rather than doing with patients. The voices of the patient, family and caregiver are essential to ensure the patient is central to the direction and focus of the work being done.