“Joe’s a very sensitive leader, very smart, and very able to work behind the scenes. Joe challenged us to come up with some broader health goals, which would reflect the more indigenous concept of wellness, which is so much more holistic than our focus on hospitals and health protection. He is a sophisticated leader.”
— Dr. Perry Kendall, former BC Provincial Health Officer
“I had the opportunity to work with Joe when CIHI and FNHA signed a partnership agreement in May 2017. At the time CIHI was just beginning to do work related to First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. As the CEO of the FNHA, Joe was willing to enter a partnership with us to explore the possibilities of what we could do together. Through the partnership he provided important guidance and we learned the significance of appropriate data governance, cultural safety and humility and truly benefited from the collective impact that can emerge from a strong partnership. In addition to being a knowledgeable and trusted partner, he is also a gifted speaker and spoke with incredible knowledge, passion and heart to our Board, staff and stakeholders.”
— Georgina MacDonald, Vice President Western Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
“Joe has had a huge impact on me personally, as well on my work, my organization and on our society. He is unique and amazing and needs to be celebrated and commended for his patience and his contributions. Joe’s Secret Sauce is that he looks at the sweater and then he starts pulling on the different threads to see which one is the one that’s going to unravel the whole thing; or maybe a few of them help and then get caught, but then he works on another until the issues are resolved. He’s just amazing.”
— Cynthia Johansen, Registrar & Chief Executive Officer, BC College of Nursing Professionals
“Our Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria began working with Joe Gallagher in early 2018, during his tenure as CEO of the First Nations Health Authority. Joe shared teachings of his People and his own story to bring the mission of Indigenous governance for health alive for us, challenging us to integrate cultural humility into our undergraduate and graduate professional and research academic programs. Our entire Leadership Team unanimously nominated Joe, k’ʷunəmɛn of Tla’amin Nation, “One with vision” for an Honorary Doctor of Laws, which our university awarded him at our June 2019 convocation. In my view, no leader could be more aptly named, or more deservedly honored. Joe’s knowledge, values and way of being invited our diverse academic community to commit to individual and collective journeys of learning and change that transform our work to this day.” https://www.uvic.ca/hsd/cyc/home/home/news/hsd_annualreview-2018-19.pdf
—Tricia Marck, RN, PhD, Professor & Former Dean, Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria
“Si:yem Kwunuhmen, the man I also call Joe Gallagher is one of those rare human beings, who comes to life only once every few generations. Si:yem Kwunuhmen’s underpinnings of intellect, spirit, emotion and passion comes from his deep Tla’amin roots. This strength of being, set him on a path that would lead him to Champion not only for his own family and community as well as the 150,000 First Nations People of British Columbia. Si:yem Kwunuhmen is the Author, visionary and for 14 years the driving force of the First Nations Health Authority in all it’s incarnations. Health, Wellbeing and Cultural Safety became the focus for First Nations Health Authority, as well as the Federal and Provincial Government’s Health Authorities.
I had the honor of being called to task as a Salish Traditional Knowledge Keeper to help Si:yem Kwunuhmen. I was asked to help his vast Team and Partners to breath life into Cultural Safety and Relevance for the existing Health Care System. I was honored to work with a man of his Intellectual girth, dimension and generosity. Working for Si:yem Kwunuhmen is the Highlight of my work life…
Si:yem Kwunuhmen is a true proponent of “Nutsamaht”.”
— Shane Point-Te’Ta-in, Salish Traditional Knowledge Keeper
“I first met Joe in 2008 when I was President of BC Women’s and he, as leader of the First Nations Health Society, provided his expert advice in a workshop for the first PHSA Aboriginal Health plan. Sometime later, in 2012, I was honoured to join the First Nations Health Authority Board of Directors and work with Joe, the founding CEO of this important organization. This is a uniquely challenging leadership role that Joe performed with vision, skill and huge personal commitment for over nine years. In my experience, Joe exemplifies the kind of two-eyed seeing that we all need as we move forward on the complicated paths of reconciliation. He taught me, a non-indigenous Board member, what it means to integrate indigenous ways of seeing into a large, mainstream organization and what we as Board members needed to do to support the vision of healthy, self-determining First Nations people and communities. He also brought this vision to the greater system, engaging government partners, provincial health authorities, professional regulators, post-secondary institutions and politicians in the project to ensure excellent, culturally safe health services for First Nations people, in fact for everyone.”
— Dr. Liz Whynot, MD, FCFP, former President BC Women’s Hospital, Vice Chair First Nations Health Authority Board of Directors
“Joe’s approach to partnership starts with genuine effort to achieve common understanding on what a business relationship aims to produce and the values that should guide this relationship. His leadership has been fundamental in helping us to become effective partners with the First Nation Health Authority.
He is passionate in building cultural safety in everything that he does, and very convincing in inviting partners to move forward on this journey themselves.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to collaborate with such a sensitive leader.”
— Sony Perron, Associate Deputy Minister, Indigenous Services Canada
“I had the privilege of working with Joe during my tenure as Associate Deputy Minister of Health in BC (2014-2018). During this time and on many files, I was always struck with the calm, respectful manner in which Joe interacted with everyone he came in contact with. Often the discussions were very difficult, and Joe always found a way to lead us through the most controversial topics and ensured that when we were finished that our relationships were intact and often strengthened. I am most proud of the work we did developing the Cultural Safety and Humility charter that initially the health authorities and the ministry of health signed off on. This work has spread far beyond BC and that language, sentiment and most importantly actions are now embedded in the values of many organizations. It is impossible to describe how much I have learned from Joe but perhaps it is his way of being, that transcends his actions, always respectful, insightful and continuously striving to improve the well-being of all.”
–Lynn Stevenson RN PhD, former Associate Deputy Minister of Health BC.