Indigenous Perspectives

Indigenous perspectives of health and wellbeing are integral to CEHE research. We acknowledge the many partners who have and co-led projects and mentored students with us through the years, including Dakota Tipi First Nation, Whaka Pimidiziiwii Pinasyiiwigamic, Ka Ni Kanichihk, the Graffiti Art Program, and many individual leaders.
Recent CEHE students have worked closely with urban First Nations organizations in Winnipeg to examine sociospatial injustices related to constrained neighbourhood and food geographies in the city. Previous team projects have worked within First Nations reserves to develop customized approaches to supporting youth with asthma. Although respiratory disease rates are climbing throughout society, youth living on reserve are currently beset with a higher likelihood of living with asthma and allergies than other youth and adult populations in Canada. Accessible interventions that focus on the specific support needs and preferences of affected First Nations families require better support.  Because human health is rooted in entrenched, constrained patterns of interpersonal and group relations, effective health policy implementation is not automatic. Therefore, even the best-intentioned, intelligence-rich health policy is not automatically effective. In order to cultivate public policy capable of making effective and desirable interventions in people’s health, there is an important role for professional, independent, reinforcing bridges across multiple health stakeholders.

Supporting First Nation Families with Respiratory Diseases

Working with Manitoba Band Health Directors in community-action research , the aim of this project  is to help dedicated rural First Nations communities’ knowledge users, as well as Canadian and world communities focused on improving health and well-being, to incorporate the experiential knowledge of young people, their families, and their caregivers and advocates, as they articulate their critical insights and adaptive innovations in the face of continuing challenges with the social and environmental roots of asthma and allergies. This research is supported by AllerGEN.

Knowledge Translation in Manitoba First Nation Respiratory Health

This project aims to facilitate continuing communication and collaboration within respiratory-disease-affected communities, in order to further disseminate their innovative approaches to building responsive respiratory health action. The process includes group interviews to elicit, compile and compare four levels of respondents’ views on persistent barriers and innovative facilitators to respiratory health action. These include the views of children, their parents, health program planners, and service providers. The method is to elicit clients’ and providers’ interpretations and recommendations for local and global strategies that can enable heavily-burdened children and families to engage in the health programs and policy essential to their personal, family and community resilience.

The goal of this work is to amplify and reinforce client and practitioner knowledge, in order to enhance policy appropriateness and effectiveness. The project is funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Engaging Aboriginal Families Affected by Allergies and Asthma: Identifying Gaps in Social Support and Developing Culturally Relevant Interventions for Educational Programming

Asthma Report CoverAsthma and allergies are the most common chronic conditions affecting Aboriginal children, yet they often receive inadequate support, services, and information to cope with these conditions and feel socially isolated as a result. There is a need for culturally appropriate interventions that provide children and families with the information and services they need to manage these conditions. CEHE Director Jeff Masuda and Senior Associate Heather Castleden were involved as principal investigators in a multi-site, community-based participatory research study conducted in Alberta, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. The report Engaging Aboriginal families affected by allergies and asthma: Identifying gaps in social support and developing culturally relevant interventions for educational programming provides an overview of the study, which was undertaken to develop geographically accessible, culturally safe and appropriate, and innovative peer support programs for Aboriginal children with asthma and allergies and their families. Through this study, the support needs and intervention preferences of children with asthma and allergies and of their families were assessed, and culturally appropriate support interventions were designed and pilot tested in the communities. Families reported increased support and education as a result of their participation in the interventions. Community-based participatory research, conducted in collaboration with and for the communities in question, is an essential step towards fostering sustainable and culturally appropriate interventions.

Jeff Masuda
Director,  The Centre for Environmental Health Equity (CEHE)
Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and Department of Geography
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario Canada

Tel: 613.533.6000 ext. 77560

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