Meet Leah Walker


Associate Director, Education, Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health


School of Population and Public Health (SPPH)



How long have you worked at the UBC Faculty of Medicine? 

Since 2001 when I accepted a temporary position with the head of family practice at the time.  It was always going to be temporary so I could go make a film with some friends; and well, you know how these stories go, I ended up staying!

Tell us what you do at the Faculty in one or two sentences: 

Oversee some fabulous programs with and for Indigenous peoples and communities including a camp for high school students called UBC Summer Science; the UBC Learning Circle which is a weekly health and wellness webinar directed towards health leaders and professionals in Indigenous communities; the Aboriginal Health and Community Administration Program; Theme lead in Indigenous health curriculum for the Faculty of Medicine; and other curricular initiatives.  Long sentence!

What’s your favourite thing about your work?  

The team I work with, sitting with Elders and Knowledge Keepers, working with students and community partners towards change and improved relationships.

One thing we might be surprised to learn about you?

One of my summer jobs was driving truck in a coalmine in the Yukon, oh so long ago.  I sat on thick phone books on one of those giant trucks to see over the steering wheel as I’m quite short. On the 12-hour graveyard shifts, CBC’s Brave New Waves radio kept me awake.  I read poetry and 100 years of solitude between loads and those books still are on my shelves with coal dust fingerprints.

What is the song you sang out loud as a teenager? 

So many: likely something ABBA, or Kiss Destroyer, or Meatloaf, or the Eagles, or ACDC, or Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. I grew up in a northern town after all!

What makes you laugh? 

Just one thing?  Have you seen that video clip/meme with the television host from Japan eating candy floss in about two seconds?  She dispenses with the floss in a way that is hilarious, elegant and absolutely mesmerizing!

One thing on your desk you brought from home?  

Paints, collage, and art making materials to play with when stressed or when staff needs to decompress.

Most healthy habit:  

Planting food crops; and pulling weeds tempers all kinds of frustrations!

What is your favourite vacation spot and why? 

Anything on water on our sailboat – we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, this Salish sea and coastline.