Doctor of Social Sciences
Courtney Defriend (Traditional name is Ti’yuqtunat) was born and raised in Nanaimo. Her mother is from Stz’uminus First Nation and her father originally comes from Scotland but born in Calgary. Working at the Nanaimo Aboriginal Friendship Centre for 13 years, she was exposed to traditional teachings from First Nations people all over Canada while working front line with children and families. For two years, Defriend consulted privately in community development work, cultural competency, and alternative wellness. Courtney has worked with interdisciplinary teams, specifically working on social issues such as mental health, addictions, and homelessness. These interests inspired her to do some teaching, leading her to continuing her own education in the Doctor of Social Sciences program. Currently, Defriend is the Regional Manager of Mental Health with First Nations Health Authority, covering all 50 nations on Vancouver Island. With a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care (2011), a Master of Arts in Leadership (2015), and a certificate in Family Mediation (2017), she is passionate about working with Indigenous communities.