Dr. Esther Tailfeathers


HIA Network Member

image of Dr. Esther Tailfeathers

Dr. Tailfeathers is a highly regarded harm reduction specialist and a public, population, and Indigenous health leader. She is the recipient of the 2023 Canadian Medical Association F.N.G. Starr Award, recognizing outstanding and inspiring lifetime achievements.

Dr. Tailfeathers has expertise in implementing quality improvement and is an award winning Family Physician with the Blood Tribe Department of Health, working only blocks from where she was born and raised. She is an impassioned advocate for improving Indigenous health care and is a sought after keynote speaker and panel and committee member on efforts related to the health of Indigenous peoples.

Nationally, Dr. Tailfeathers co-leads health service redesign with Correctional Service Canada health teams where she focuses on culturally sensitive, trauma-informed care delivery. As Senior Medical Director of the Population, Public and Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network with Alberta Health Services (AHS) she helped launch Alberta’s first Indigenous Virtual Care Clinic. As the Lead for the AHS Provincial Indigenous Wellness Core she provided strategic partnership and cultural advice on engaging with Indigenous groups. As a Family Physician with the Blood Tribe, Dr. Tailfeathers advocated for, designed, and implemented a critical response to the Fentanyl Crisis working alongside inter-professional clinical and Indigenous colleagues to deliver integrated, life saving medical, mental health and substance use initiatives.

Dr. Tailfeathers provides guidance to implement culturally appropriate strategies to engage Indigenous patients and to bridge gaps between patients and providers in primary care and emergency department settings. Alongside other health system leaders in Alberta, she spearheaded the development and implementation of the Indigenous Wellness Program Alternative Relationship Plan. Dr. Tailfeathers also supported creation and implementation of an AHS staff cultural competency program and worked with Oncologists and cancer support staff to incorporate traditional medicines in the cancer journey.