Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples: Overview

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The root causes of poor health are well understood. Factors such as income, education, employment, living conditions, social class, social support, and access to health services are all part of determining whether or not people are healthy. Aboriginal peoples' health is also affected by culture loss, racism and stigmatization, loss of language and connection to the land, environmental deprivation, and feeling spiritually, emotionally, and mentally disconnected from their Indigenous identity. Being disconnected from their Indigenous identity can damage Aboriginal peoples' health. Just as important to acknowledge and understand; however, are the factors that have positive effects on Aboriginal health, such as personal and community resilience, restoring and promoting Aboriginal identity, keeping cultures and languages alive, and self-governance.

Promising practices to address these health inequities are occurring today in urban settings, First Nations reserves, and Inuit and Métis communities throughout Canada. Through Pathways research, we will learn how best to have these promising approaches adapted and adopted by communities across the country.

CIHR and its partners will contribute to the creation of better preventive health services, healthier communities and health equity for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada in four priority areas:


Suicide Prevention


Diabetes/Obesity


Tuberculosis


Oral Health

Key research needs

Trying to reduce the numerous health inequities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada is a complex undertaking. Because the greatest potential to redress these inequities seems to lie in changing the social factors that have so much impact on the lives of Aboriginal peoples, the Pathways initiative incorporates a focus on practical interventions aimed at improving the social determinants of health.

Objectives

  • Understanding how to implement multilevel and scalable interventions to reduce health inequities facing Aboriginal Peoples;
  • Improved health of Aboriginal peoples through adaptation and use of the interventions;
  • Better understanding of how to reduce health inequities and how knowledge can be adapted and applied to other populations and in other contexts (reverse innovation, reciprocal learning);
  • Increased research capacity in implementation science related to the health of Aboriginal Peoples and other vulnerable populations.

Impacts

Through Pathways and related initiatives, CIHR and its partners will contribute to the creation of better preventive health services, healthier communities and health equity for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada.

By collaborating with Aboriginal communities, CIHR and its partners will:

  • improve health and health equity for Aboriginal peoples in priority areas;
  • generate evidence to inform decision making;
  • advance our understanding of how to reduce health inequities and how to apply this new knowledge more broadly; and
  • increase research capacity for effective and evolving Aboriginal health programs and policies.
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