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Federal health minister announces new funding for Aboriginal Peoples health promotion


July 11, 2014
By Mari-Len De

ambroseJuly 11, 2014 – Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose has announced funding for three recipients of the Partners for Engagement and Knowledge Exchange (PEKEs) grants through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples (Pathways) signature initiative.

The overall goal of Pathways is to promote health equity among First
Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in four key areas: suicide prevention,
obesity and diabetes, tuberculosis and oral health.

“Our
Government is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of First
Nations, Métis and Inuit. Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal
Peoples ensures that the research is connected to the community to find
meaningful solutions. By funding these three recipients and their
collaborators, we will help translate health information that considers
traditional practices and culture,” said Ambrose.

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Through $25
million in funding support, Pathways research will create an evidence
base that supports the design and implementation of health interventions
in the four areas listed above. The research will also identify how
these interventions can be adopted by First Nations, Métis and Inuit
communities across Canada by respecting their cultures and traditional
knowledge.

PEKEs grant recipients will play an important role in
facilitating the knowledge exchange effort between researchers and
Aboriginal peoples’ communities and organizations through the
establishment and promotion of ongoing communication and cultural
integration activities.

“This investment is an important step
towards improving the health of Canada’s indigenous populations.
Pathways aims at finding new ways of implementing interventions that
will help fight suicide, obesity and diabetes, tuberculosis and oral
health problems in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities,” said Dr.
Alain Beaudet, president, CIHR. “The three PEKEs recipients will
facilitate this process, by ensuring that knowledge exchange between
researchers and residents of these communities incorporates and respects
their traditional knowledge.”

The recipients of the PEKEs
funding, selected by an international peer review panel, will receive
approximately $1 million a year each over a five-year period. The
successful recipients are:

· National Association of Friendship Centres

· First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba

· Native Women’s Association of Canada

“The
Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is very pleased that the
project submitted for funding to CIHR’s Pathways to Health Equity for
Aboriginal Peoples – Partners for Engagement and Knowledge has been
approved,” said Claudette Dumont-Smith, executive director, Native
Women's Association of Canada.

“Working in collaboration with
partners and a research team, this project will, through a
culturally-relevant gender based framework, explore and identify
traditional and non-traditional health care models that can complement
western science to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people.”

In
2012, the Government of Canada launched Pathways as a long-term
Aboriginal health research initiative. At its core is a focus on finding
ways to increase and adapt existing health research to the diverse
needs of Aboriginal communities (where values, traditional knowledge and
history vary greatly).

These recent PEKEs grants complement
other funding components of Pathways including Implementation Research
Teams, Applied Public Health Chairs and Population Health Intervention
Research.

“The First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of
Manitoba (FNHSSM) (as proposed by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs), was
the only regional body to be chosen as a Partners for Engagement and
Knowledge Exchange (PEKEs) because of the outstanding outreach and
relationships established across Canada and internationally. In
collaboration with these partners, we are committed to moving from
promising practices to knowledge exchange and action in communities,”
said Leona Star, research associate, coordinator of Manitoba Regional
Health Survey and Regional Education, Employment and Early Childhood
Development Survey in the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

The
National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) also welcomed the
grant citing it an important first step in developing a better
understanding about the health of the urban Aboriginal population.

“In
an effort to ensure that research outcomes are relevant and meaningful
to urban Aboriginal communities, the NAFC-PEKE will support and develop
research and knowledge translation capacity among 119 geographically and
culturally diverse Friendship Centres across the country,” said Jeff
Cyr executive director, NAFC.