Promoting Healthy Body Weights in a Métis Youth Population Through Photovoice

University Partner: Dr. Louise Humbert, University of Saskatchewan - College of Kinesiology
Community Partner: Don Favel
Location: Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK

Obesity, a chronic metabolic disorder that has reached epidemic levels, is associated with an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). First Nations and Métis adults experience overweight and obesity at a rate 1.6 times that of the average Canadian adult population. First Nations and Métis children also experience overweight and obesity at higher rates than the national childhood population. Five percent of the Métis population have been diagnosed with T2D and the full extent of the impact of obesity and T2D on the Métis population will not be realized for years to come because of their young age. Engaging and empowering Métis children to be directly involved in issues concerning their health is an important lesson to teach and encourage in order to provide youth with the tools and knowledge to build on throughout their lifetime.

Photovoice is a qualitative research method that uses photographs taken by participants as a way to engage them in discussions for change. It is a form of participatory action research which enhances capacity for community-based research and encourages local Métis knowledge to be integrated into various aspects of the research process. This research project will explore photovoice as a tool for documenting and analyzing Métis children’s perceptions related to healthy body weight (BW), physical activity (PA) and nutrition (N), and identify various barriers and enablers to engage children in healthy PA and N practices. The project will also examine the use of photovoice as a tool to promote change in attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviours related to healthy BW, PA and N practices among Métis children and among other community members. A research project such as this one will weave Métis knowledge and belief systems into the design, implementation and evaluation of this photovoice research project and will bring university and community researchers together to promote healthy body weights in Métis children.

Evaluation of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in Northern Saskatchewan

University Partner: Bonnie Jeffery, University of Regina - Faculty of Social Work
Community Partner: Carol Gillis
Location: Northern Chronic Care Coalition, Prince Albert, SK

The purpose of this project is to develop and test an evaluation framework that incorporates individual, cultural, and community factors relevant to assessing the effectiveness of the Chronic Disease Self Management Program in northern Saskatchewan communities. On a broader level, the research will contribute to theoretical and methodological understandings of program evaluation frameworks that incorporate community relevant indicators in Indigenous contexts. Through a process of community engagement and in collaboration with the Northern Chronic Care Coalition sub-committee of the Northern Health Strategy Working Group, this project will develop an evaluation framework, engage northern community representatives in reflecting on this framework, and pilot the evaluation approach in one northern community.

This is an opportunity for community leaders and research partners to examine programs that are designed or created by others outside of the north and to assess the relevance for northern communities. While these chronic disease management programs may be seen as best practices within an ideal situation, it is important to consider the realities of northern communities. There will be a focus on determining the factors that are most relevant in the northern context; opportunities for comparison of outcomes with other regions in the province, and an assessment of the influence of a different process of program delivery in comparison to the process that has been implemented in southern communities.