NVHA Employee Agnes Doolan’s Lifelong Mission is to Lift Others Up

NVHA Employee Agnes Doolan’s Lifelong Mission is to Lift Others Up
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Since she began working for Nisga’a Valley Health Authority (NVHA) 15 years ago, Agnes Doolan has helped numerous Nisga’a people improve their physical, mental and cultural wellness.  

Agnes grew up in the beautiful oceanside community of Gingolx. When Agnes was a kid, travelling was a big deal for her and her family because the road to Gingolx didn’t exist yet.

“We constantly had to rely on ferries, planes and our family boat,” said Agnes.  

Reflecting on her childhood, Agnes said she enjoyed fishing with her father.

“He was a commercial fisherman his entire life,” said Agnes.

For two years, was a Brighter Futures worker for Gingolx Village Government. She helped create and run life skills programs for youth.

Agnes began exploring a career in the health care field for two reasons. First, she knew she liked taking care of people. Secondly, she knew she had the three traits – compassion, confidence and empathy – of a stellar health care employee.  

After deciding to pursue her health care dream, she applied for a Youth Enrichment Worker position with NVHA. A short while later, her dream became a reality when she discovered she got the job.

Over the next eight years, she helped Nisga’a youth establish a deeper connection with their culture and territory.

“One activity we did a lot of was cedar harvesting. we took them out on the land to collect cedar and taught them how to prepare it for cultural, spiritual and economic purposes,” said Agnes.

Since time immemorial, Nisga’a people have used cedar to create totem poles, canoes and other objects. They’ve also used yellow cedar, which has anti-inflammatory properties, to heal wounds.

For six  years, Agnes Doolan was also a receptionist with NVHA. Her tasks included answering patients’ questions, preparing reports, filing, booking appointments and doing other administrative tasks.

“In this role, I was happy that I was able to work alongside and establish strong working relationships with our nurses, doctors and other medical professionals,” said Agnes.

In 2023, Agnes applied for a Community Cultural Health Representative (CCHR) job with NVHA.

“I really liked how the CCHRs performed diverse tasks and interacted with so many patients. I knew the job would be right up my alley,” said Agnes.

She was the successful applicant and her main roles have been running the elder’s tea sessions, organizing vaccination clinics and other health events, and helping patients get the health care they need.

Agnes said she loves socializing with staff and putting a smile on their face.

“I really like how I constantly see people in all four communities now,” said Agnes.  

Work aside, Agnes enjoys beading and dancing. She’s a member of the Gingolx Cultural Dancers.

Agne’s ancestral name is Niitsiits Daawihl, which means a “breath of fresh air” in the Nisga’a language.  She’s from the Wilps Luuyaas house.