Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod is hopeful the creation of a new organization will close the gap for healthcare among First Nation residents in the region.

McLeod says for years, Indigenous people as well as Metis and Inuit have experienced inequities in the healthcare system.

However with the formation of the North Bay Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Team, that’s expected to change.

The care team will be made up of more than 15 staff members who will oversee First Nation primary needs in numerous area including reproductive, mental health and palliative care.

The team of professionals will also provide health assessments, diagnosis and treat patients and take on disease prevention measures in areas like diabetes, asthma and addictions.

It will serve the First Nation residents of the Nipissing, Dokis and Temagami First Nations and provides holistic and culturally safe care.

It’s funding will come from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

The organization will be led by a First Nation Board of Directors which is responsible for the governance and oversight of the care team.

Statistics consistently show that First Nation residents face higher rates of chronic diseases than non-Indigenous people.