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Dr. Shannon Waters

Public Health + Preventive Medicine Physician, Communicator and Bridge Walker

Transforming our collective journey.

I speak to and uphold relationships and reciprocity with all beings in our environment as imperative to health and well-being.

Connection brings strength from our ancestors - through us - to the generations yet to come.

The urgency of our time is compelling us to stop working within the contexts of each other and instead create a new context together.

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“Decisive, political steps” are needed over the next 15 months to achieve a 45% reduction in our carbon emissions by 2030.

The protection, promotion, and representation in our government of Indigenous worldviews is crucial to reach our carbon emission targets.

15 months. This may feel overwhelming and distant from our influence yet a significant and accessible way for influence is to VOTE in Canada’s federal election taking place October 21st.

Elections are a cornerstone of democracy.


As a Medical Health Officer Shannon works to promote, protect, and advocate for the health of the community in the Cowichan Valley Region.

Shannon has found a realm of medicine that is a natural fit for her - using a holistic approach that encompasses emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health she uses her unique gift to help contribute to the health and benefit of her community.

As healthy members of the community, we can all lead our most vibrant lives contributing to our families and our communities.

Watch the video above to learn more about Dr. Shannon Waters and her work in the community.


Daily life eventually requires us all to rest and heal. I am fortunate.

The winding down of summer signifies change. In my home territory of Cowichan, this includes shorter daylight hours, leaves turning color, and school preparations for many families.

This year's transition was accompanied by a pain in my gut that I tried to avoid, or explain away, but kept getting stronger.

As a physician in a small community, I self-consciously went to our local emergency department - in the middle of the night - because the pain was prompting action. Hours after my initial assessment, an ultrasound revealed the source. I had appendicitis.

The pain was prompting action.


When The Rains Came

Six months ago my journey with this article series started at an intense and emotional time. The summer of 2019 brought the worst of eleven droughts that have occurred since 1998. The Quw’utsun River went on “life support”, with pumps bringing water from Cowichan Lake to the River to keep it flowing – until the rains came. Climate projections for…

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I am the Forest, and the Forest is me

Leadership Insights by Shannon Waters A pivotal part of my family’s recent winter road trip was experiencing the natural ecosystems. From the familiar temperate rain forest to extensive oak woodlands to the awe of the California Redwoods, I returned home further committed to acknowledging and appreciating the forests, hwthithiqut-um in the hul’qumi’num language. Forests have nourished my ancestors for generations,…

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The Gift of Letting Go of the ‘Fast-Paced Life’

Leadership Insights by Shannon Waters A dear aunt of mine, who is now on the other side, used to speak about the ‘fast-paced life’. She had a chronic health condition which caused her to make modifications to her daily activities; yet, she was one of the strongest people I have known. Years ago, at first I understood her mention of…

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MORE ABOUT Shannon Waters:

Shannon is mixed blood, Coast Salish, Hul'qumi'num on her mother's side, and Swedish, Hungarian and Scottish on her father's side.

She approaches healing holistically, and while training in medicine often felt caught between two worlds. Now Shannon fully embraces bridging Indigenous and 'Western' worldviews while promoting, protecting and advocating for health in her home territory, the Cowichan Valley region. The overarching priorities in her leadership in health and wellbeing include:

• Our changing environment
• Mental wellbeing
• Maternal/Child/Family wellbeing

These priorities can also be described respectively as where we have the most significant health threat, where we have the largest burden, and and where we will get our highest return on our investment.

Shannons's Leadership Pillars

What's Next?

Shannon has numerous leadership interests and priorities for 2020.

Locally: Shannon sits on the Cowichan Watershed Board co-chaired by Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Valley Regional District. With recent local government declarations of "climate emergencies" she is advocating that it is imperative for co-management models with Indigenous peoples to extend beyond the watershed to other areas, such as forestry.

Provincially: Shannon is working with a small team to find the best process and partner commitment to review the Public Health Act in light of the new UNDRIP legislation.

Nationally: Shannon is curiously and courageously exploring what it means to be a MHO (Medical Health Officer) in Canada and what that looks like from an Indigenous perspective.

Shannon - cropped
Shannon Waters looking up
Shannon and kids - cropped
Shannon walking - cropped
Shannon cropped
Shannon and family - cropped
Shannon with water - cropped