Indigenous, Rural, and Remote Health Group (IRRHG)

By: Lindsay Balezantis
Class of 2025, College of Medicine
President – Indigenous, Rural, and Remote Health Group

The Indigenous, Rural, and Remote Health Group (IRRHG) is a student organized group from the College of Medicine. We consist of passionate members who are motivated to spread awareness and advocate for changes to the barriers faced by people who live in rural and remote Saskatchewan. We are also dedicated to taking steps towards reconciliation and creating a peer-led space where Indigenous voices can be listened to and elevated to the greater community.

Foremost, IRRHG values highlighting the work of the incredible community organizations already working in the field. We have had representatives from the All Nations Healing Hospital in Fort Qu’Appelle, and Wellness Wheel Centre in Regina give guest speaker presentations to our college. These events raised awareness for programs available to those seeking culturally safe, holistic, and comprehensive care. We believe it is crucial for physicians entering the field of medicine to be aware of the variety of ways healthcare can be delivered and the community resources available to the patients they serve.

Our group helps to highlight the diverse job opportunities available for those working in rural and remote regions of Saskatchewan. We aim to provide resources for our peers who may be considering a career in these areas. We connect students with a variety of physicians working in rural and remote areas through lunch talks. We teamed up with the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Group to give students a tour of the remote presence laboratory we have right here at the U of S. This tour and demonstration gave our colleagues a first-hand look at the incredible technology on our campus that can assist health care practitioners in delivering care in a unique and innovative way.

This fall, we organized a fundraiser for Indigenous Awareness Week, to raise money for the Saskatoon Survivors Circle. This is a group dedicated to providing opportunities and supporting those who have survived residential school. We also distributed infographics on social media to help highlight Indigenous culture and history, and the importance of reconciliation.

We collaborated with the Exercise is Medicine student group and were fortunate to welcome Tarrant Crosschild, who a Niitsitapi man from Kainai in Alberta, to share his riveting and heart-wrenching life story to Usask students. Through powerful storytelling, he exclaimed how his personal history and culture, as well as his passion for long-distance running helped him navigate his struggle with addiction. He also exclaimed the admirable work he does today, bringing employment opportunities to people living in rural and remote areas and underserved communities, as well as sharing his love for running throughout the country by organizing running clinics and races. We were honored to have one of Saskatoon’s best community engagement and reconciliation advocates speak for us.

This year upcoming spring, we are looking forward to doing research into the current state of rural healthcare in Saskatchewan and advocating to our MLAs. Saskatchewan has a strong and tight knit community, and we believe we can work together to ensure that every resident has equitable access to healthcare across the province.

For more information find the IRRHG on instagram @Wicihowin or email

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