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What's Gretchen been up to?

Read on to find out more, and check back often for updates.

May 2022. 

As restrictions eased and events were put back on the calendar, Gretchen took centre stage on a couple of occasions this month. Up first was a talk put on by the Rotary Club at the Whiskeyjack Beer Company, where the crowd discussed topics ranging from Covid to the war in Ukraine. All proceeds from book sales went to the local Rotary chapter's efforts to bring a family over from Ukraine.  

On May 31st, Gretchen was celebrated by the McMaster Alumni Association, who named her a recipient of the 2022 McMaster Alumni Association Global Impact Award. Created in 2011, the award recognizes the achievements of alumni, faculty, and staff that have made a difference to the global community. You can read more about they had to say, here.

June 2021. 

Over a weekend in June, Gretchen took part in the Toronto Island Art Crawl. After more than a year of pandemic restrictions, this outdoor event was a welcome return to in-person events! 

She had a great time engaging with the other artists in residence, as well as all those who took the ferry to show their support.

February-March 2020. 

As part of the support from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi, India, to the Ministry of Health in Bhutan, Gretchen was asked to help facilitate a revised health sector policy with the Royal Government of Bhutan. Working with a group of Bhutanese colleagues, and after a briefing with Her Honourable Minister of Health, Dasho, returned to her favourite country, the land of Gross National Happiness. 

Bhutan is a small Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, and as of 2019, was the only carbon-negative country in the world (read more about that here and here). It also surpassed its global commitments to improve mother and child health, reduce poverty, and increase gender parity. Its priorities for the National Health Policy 2020 set even more ambitious targets for the Sustainable Development Goals.

The day before Gretchen's departure, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Bhutan, and the country closed its borders as a public health preventive measure shortly after she left. She made it home days before the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.  Given her potential exposure and work as a primary care physician, she was tested upon her return.   

December 2019. 

Gretchen was honoured to learn that Deep Water Dream made the shortlist for the Speaker's Book Award, which recognizes non-fiction works by Ontario authors reflecting the diverse culture and rich history of the province and of its residents.  

Discover the other featured authors, along with this year's winner, John Chapman, here

Deep Water Dream was excerpted in the December 2019 issue of the Medical Post.  You can follow the journal on twitter, here.  Like what you see, and want to support an independent publication? Order single copies or subscribe to the journal here

December 16, 2019. Earlier this week, Gretchen traveled to Sudbury to sit down with CBC Morning North host Markus Schwabe, to talk books, life in the North, and read from Deep Water Dream.   

To listen to the interview, click here.  Want to listen to Gretchen read an excerpt? Click here. here to read what Markus Schwabe wrote about the interview

September 28-29, 2019.  What a great weekend! Gretchen was delighted to introduce her books to new readers, meet other authors, and raise some money for the NOSM Global Health Fund.  You can read more about the Northern Ontario Book Fair over on author J.W. Goodwin's website, here.   

A big thank you thank to the Silverleaf Writers Guild, for putting this event together, and to all who attended.  

July 18, 2019.  A women's literary gathering, on the very lake where her medical practice began? Who could refuse?!  And so it was that  Gretchen found herself driving down the Mine Road early one morning, to meet a boat that would take her one of the islands on Lake Temagami.  

Thank you to all who attended! You helped to raise $400 for Temagami First Nation, for their work at the Canoe House.  A big thanks to Victoria Grant, for the idea, Marty Banghart for putting it all together, and Rose Matchett for hosting everyone in her beautiful home.  

Photos courtesy of Marty Banghart.

June 5, 2019.  Another great evening!  Yes, it conflicted with Women Deliver events, and a little sports thing (We. The. North.); that just meant the small group who gathered were treated to a very inside development chat.  Taking a cue from A Doctor's Quest, those in attendance spoke on the reality of life working in the field: the highs, the lows, the stories behind the headlines, and what "rules" are ignored in an effort to move things forward for the greater good.   

Thank you to all who attended, and to those Gretchen met at Women Deliver.  You helped to raise $800 for the Horizons of Friendship! Once again, thanks to Kelsey, Montanna, and Christine, for their help in putting this together, and to Lazy Gourmet, for the great service and food. 

Photos courtesy of Maureen McKernan. 

May 23, 2019.  106.5 ELMNT FM 

Gretchen was interviewed for Moment of Truth with David Moses.  Want to hear it? Click below! 

Check out the review of Deep Water Dream, in the April issue of Literary Review of Canada!  From the magazine: 

The most compelling memoirs are those that get beyond an individual's life to tell larger stories, training beams of light on a time, place, or society that readers otherwise can't see.  Such is the case with Gretchen Roedde's Deep Water Dream, a look at Canada's evolving relationship with Indigenous peoples through one physician's eyes.  Roedde writes of her career in remote northern Ontario, drawing on memories from the 1970s, '80s, and '90s.  These decades were critical in the transition between a colonial past and a future that strives for reconciliation and new relationships.  

April 25, 2019.  What a fabulous evening!  On the Vancouver stop for Deep Water Dream, Gretchen became the latest Roedde to host a salon in what was once her great-grandparents' living room.  Following the reading, members of the audience asked questions, took part in the discussion, and shared their own stories of triumph and loss.  

Thank you to all who attended.  You helped to raise $1500 for the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre! Thanks as well to Kelsey, Montanna, and Christine, for their help in putting this together, and to Lazy Gourmet, for the great service and food. 

Photos courtesy of Gretchen Roedde. 

March 29, 2019.  An interview for Nationtalk

Gretchen sat down with Andre Morriseau to discuss Deep Water Dream, her beginnings, and the people who inspired her along the way.

March 28, 2019.  A blog post for Dundurn

Do you write the book or does the book write you? 

Having just completed my second book, Deep Water Dream, as well as a second edition of my first book, A Doctor’s Quest, I am reflecting on the process of creating a book. It feels a bit like the Indigenous carvers, who take a piece of wood or soapstone, and listen to it to slowly understand what they are to create. Writing is a craft like that, the ongoing refinement, reordering, restructuring, and adding of sudden new insights that change the shape of what you are writing. A Doctor’s Quest changed its name, its cover, its publisher, and the organization of its material — many times. 


February/March 2019. At the end of February, Gretchen dusted off her international medicine hat and joined Horizons of Friendship on one of their semiannual trips to Central America, with a focus on maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH). Over the course of two weeks, Canadian health professionals took part in a knowledge exchange with their counterparts in an Indigenous  region of Guatemala with high rates of malnutrition and mortality. 

Small groups visited rural homes on foot, to see newly delivered women and their children. Traditional birth customs, such as special foods, saunas, and delivering women in the safer vertical position, were demonstrated in workshops with government and NGO health workers, and Mayan traditional birth attendants and health educators. On the last day, a Mayan spiritual leader led an early morning celebration around a sacred fire, before a final workshop in which Canadian and Guatemalan participants did role plays to share how Indigenous MNCH is supported in their respective countries.

Last two photos, courtesy of Gretchen Roedde.  All others courtesy of Horizons

February 5, 2019. What better way to celebrate Deep Water Dream, than with some of the women whose stories are found in its pages? That was what was in store for guests when Verity hosted the Toronto stop of Gretchen's book tour. During the reading, Mae Katt and Victoria Grant offered their own reflections on the shared experience. For the question and answer period, all three joined in a discussion with the audience about the events of the past, and where things stand today for Indigenous youth, women, and families.

Thank you to all who attended. You helped to raise $2500 for the Anishnawbe Health Foundation, which was then doubled by a matching grant! A big thank you as well to Julie Cookson and her co-workers at AHT, who did the heavy lifting for this event.

All photos courtesy of Gail Shaw.

February 1, 2019. An Entitled Interview for Open Book

From Open Book:  Remote communities in Canada often suffer from a lack medical resources, making illness and injury even more complicated and difficult than it would otherwise be. It's an issue that became a driving force in physician Gretchen Roedde's life. Witnessing the strength of northern communities as they rallied around those in need, she found ways to combine her expertise with those community efforts, in order to better healthcare outcomes for people in northern and remote areas of Ontario. 

She chronicles her journey in Deep Water Dream: A Medical Voyage of Discovery in Rural Northern Ontario (Dundurn Press), taking readers with her to a remote Cree community (where she worked with residents to develop a medical dictionary in their own language), Amish home births, and to her life at home on Lake Temiskaming.

She tells us about the significance of the title Deep Water Dream as part of our Entitled interview series, discusses how and where she finds titles for her projects, and shares the painting (which she co-created) that inspired the writing of the book. 

January 9, 2019. Gretchen was featured in an article in her local paper, the Temiskaming Speaker.

Photo courtesy of Diane Johnston.

December 8, 2018.  'Twas a dark and wintry night when Chat Noir Books hosted the official launch for Deep Water Dream. Jenn and Paul (proprietors extraordinaire) welcomed the large crowd in for hot drinks and pastries, and Gretchen kept them entertained.

Photo (1) courtesy of Laura Landers. Photo (2) courtesy of Chat Noir Books. 

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