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We Are IH: Meet Vanessa Mitchell

We Are IH: Meet Vanessa Mitchell

We Are IH is a new recognition campaign to spotlight our people in a real way – through pictures and stories that allow their authenticity to shine through! Each month, four Interior Health employees or medical staff will be featured through our News@IH website and our weekly In the Loop Roundup email newsletter. 


Vanessa Mitchell is an Aboriginal lead and program manager of the Journey to Aboriginal Cultural Safety program. She has worked at the Vernon Health Centre for five years.

Vanessa’s life has been inspired by her ancestors and warriors, past and present, and their vision and fortitude to stand strong to ensure Indigenous peoples could hold positions of influence, such as her integral role here at Interior Health. Her philosophy of “hard work and heart work” is the driving force behind all the energy she gives to both her community and career. Vanessa truly loves her family, community and Nation for their humour, resilience and heart that brings laughter and love into her daily life.

“The work of Cultural Safety and Humility is hard work and heart work.”

Vanessa’s favorite inspirational quote.

In the book We Get Our Living Like Milk From The Land, Sqilxᵂ (pronounced skay-lugh) is defined as the original people who learned to live together on the land in peace. As a Sqilxᵂ, this connection is held close to Vanessa’s heart, as it always reminds her of who she is and where she came from.

Born and raised in the Okanagan/Syilx community and Nation, Vanessa has continued to give back to her community in her adult life as she has created a home for her family where she was raised.

As an Okanagan/Syilx woman, mother, and daughter, Vanessa understands first hand how much hard work and heart work goes into her career and community. Being acutely and intricately knowledgeable of Indigenous people, families, communities, and Nations with personal living experiences of cultural unsafety and racism, she balances both the hard work and heart work.

Nominate a colleague or join in yourself with the We Are IH submission form.

Check back each Friday for the next We Are IH feature.

For more information contact EmployeeExperience@InteriorHealth.ca.


Vanessa’s nomination of Rose Melnyk keeps the loop going:

“Rose is a strong Secwépemc woman grounded in who she is and where she come from, with clinical front-line experience as an RN within IH whose heart is with the people and specifically with the Elders.”