Building Capacity in Health Research Among First Nations Communities

University Partner: Carrie Bourassa, First Nations University of Canada - Department of Science
Community Partner: Ceal Tournier
Location: Saskatoon Tribal Council, Saskatoon, SK

This research will improve Aboriginal health by having current health data and identifying health needs of each community. Saskatoon Tribal Council will assist in program development; assist in developing a strategic short and long term plan, finding resources, and developing policies and procedures to improve the health delivery of the seven First Nation communities. In addition, Saskatoon Tribal Council will focus on building capacity in health research among Aboriginal people such as Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and First Nations University of Canada to promote research on Health Delivery and Control. Furthermore, this research project will be beneficial to negotiate for future funding to improve the health conditions for Aboriginal people.

Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of Community Based Health Research Advisory Boards

University Partner: Dr. Martin Cannon, University of Toronto - Department of Sociology & Equity Studies in Education OISE/UT (Ontario Institue for Studies in Education)
Community Partner: Carol Romanow
Location: Prince Albert Grand Council, Prince Albert, SK

The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC), in collaboration with Dr. Martin Cannon (University of Saskatchewan) and the Northern Intertribal Health Authority (NITHA) proposes the development of a Health Research Advisory Committee. This submission to IPHRC seeks funding to meet three principle objectives. The first objective is to establish a research advisory and development group consisting of existing personnel, academics and community stakeholders. The purpose of this group will be to identify additional key members and constituents in the research process, and to explore the possibilities surrounding Community-University collaboration and co-investigation. Second, to hold a series of workshops for members surrounding technical support and networking, finding available funds and opportunities, and the legal rights of communities where research is concerned. This objective is aimed at assisting in the development of research capacity at the University, community and organizational levels. And the final objective is to establish an inventory of existing health research along with an overall survey of capacity where the community accommodation of research ethics and protocol is concerned in research. It is hoped that out of this process, and in pursuing further funding, that a Health Research and/or Ethics Advisory Committee can be put into place. This may be comprised of the collaborators as already identified.

The Cultural Context of Healthy Body Weight: Exploring the social, cultural and historical factors associated with body weight among Aboriginal women in the Battlefords Tribal Council

University Partner: Dr. Jennifer Poudrier, University of Saskatchewan - Deptartment of Sociology
Community Partner: Janice Kennedy
Location: Battlefords Tribal Council - Indian Health Services Administration, North Battleford, SK

This community based project will develop a culturally appropriate research strategy and proposal for submission to Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study the cultural context of healthy body weight in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal women are becoming more concerned about the health impacts of being overweight and appear to be placing more importance in trying to deal with their weight problems. Building on a partnership between community members of the Battlefords Tribal Council (BTC), the BTC Indian Health Services and a university researcher, our research goals include: community consultation; capacity building; and proposal development. We will invite Aboriginal women and female Elders to participate in a sharing circle and a focus group to explore their experiences surrounding body weight and image. These findings will provide a preliminary context for developing health services, and will also identify key themes which will be carried forward to the CIHR proposal. We anticipate that this work will generate enthusiasm and commitment to wellness initiatives, and will also have positive impacts in terms of capacity building and empowerment.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – Reviving the Spirit

University Partner: Dr. Caroline Tait, University of Saskatchewan - Women’s and Gender Studies
Community Partner: Norman Opekokew
Location: Canoe Lake Cree Nation, Canoe Narrows, SK

The objective of this development project is to generate a knowledge base grounded in the experiences of First Nations communities, specifically Canoe Lake Cree Nation, who seek to address intergenerational impacts of colonization. The knowledge base will consist of a preliminary community needs assessment for healing that will be based upon data collected from three community focus groups and from the analysis and synthesis of data derived from the CLCN Aboriginal Healing Foundation project. An environmental scan of community-based healing projects in Canadian First Nations communities that is drawn from the published literature and 15 key informant interviews will further add to this analysis. The project builds capacity in Saskatchewan in areas of Aboriginal community and academic research partnerships, knowledge about community healing, historical trauma, resilience, resistance and restitution in Aboriginal communities, and Aboriginal student training and mentoring.

Developing Healthy Decision-Making with Aboriginal Youth Through Drama

University Partner: Dr. Linda Goulet, First Nations University of Canada - Department of Indigenous Education
Community Partner: Karen Arnason
Location: File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Counci,; Fort Qu’Appelle, SK

This project is a collaborative research project among university educators, community health workers, and Aboriginal youth to engage the community in an exploration of the health issues facing youth from a youth perspective. Using drama as a research tool, the adult leaders will facilitate a process where youth explore decisions that impact their health and well-being. Through a week long workshop, youth will give expression to health issues in their lives and represent the circumstances and factors that lead them to make the choices they do in the form of a short play. The play will be performed to the community and community members will be asked to engage in the performance by entering the play as characters that make alternative choices that will affect a different outcome or ending of the play. After more than one performance of the play in different locations, the youth will come together and again use drama to inquire into, articulate, and represent what they have learned about decision making in their lives. Collaboratively the university, community and youth partners will prepare an action plan for future initiatives.

Kweezaise Medicine Lodge – A Review of the Literature and Related Resources

University Partner: Dr. Mary Hampton, University of Regina - Department of Psychology (Luther College)
Community Partner: Yvonne Saddleback
Location: Cowessess First Nation; Cowessess, SK

Kweezaise Medicine Lodge is a proposal for conducting a health study at Cowessess First Nation. The purpose is to research and work on the development of a First Nation healing facility on Cowessess First Nation. The study will evaluate the type of structure and services that is appropriate for the revival of First Nations healing methods while also providing mainstream medical services. Through a survey, the investigators will identify the needs and aspirations of the Cowessess First Nation people for the protracted practice of recovery and health. The group will seek a funding source for the identified infrastructure and program needs.

Tools for Community-Based Program Planning and Evaluation: Developing Indicators of Community Health and Wellness

University Partner: Dr. Bonnie Jeffrey, University of Regina - Faculty of Social Work and the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU)
Community Partner: Fay Michayluk
Location: Athabasca Health Authority, Black Lake, SK

This project will focus on initiating and confirming the next stage in the work related to development of community-driven indicators of community health and wellness. This work will build on a previous project that included four First Nations communities within the Prince Albert Grand Council and two First Nation communities and three provincial communities within the Athabasca region (Athabasca Health Authority). Based on community interviews and focus groups, the first stage of this work resulted in a framework of community health and wellness that includes domains and selected indicators that were identified as particularly relevant for community-based programs. This development grant will provide the opportunity to meet with the Health Directors from the Fond du Lac First Nation and Black Lake First Nation to identify the particular focus of the next stage in the project. Specifically, we will identify which areas of the framework require additional information regarding specific community-based health indicators and also will develop the community research agreement that will accompany further research work in this area.