Canadian Medical Association

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers is a changemaker in Indigenous health. As medical lead of the Indigenous Wellness Core at Alberta Health Services (AHS), she works to increase access for Indigenous peoples across the province while making care safer and more culturally appropriate. She was instrumental in creating the Indigenous Health Commitments: Roadmap to Wellness, which outlines the AHS path to improve health equity and outcomes with and for Indigenous people. 

As a family physician, Dr. Tailfeathers has also tackled the complex addiction and mental health challenges facing Alberta’s Indigenous communities, including her own. In 2015, the Blood Reserve declared a state of emergency following 30 opioid-related deaths. Under her leadership, the Blood Tribe became the first community to distribute naloxone, and soon developed other, community-specific harm reduction strategies. Her work has inspired the award-winning documentary, Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy.

“Esther has taken us from a place of ignorance to one of understanding and now to action as we work towards health equity with and for Indigenous peoples in Alberta.” – Dr. Mark Joffe and Dr. Braden Manns, Alberta Health Services

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers is receiving the F.N.G. Starr Award in recognition of her outstanding and inspiring lifetime achievement.

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