Video Transcript - What is Pathways?: Improving Health for Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

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What is Pathways?: Improving Health and Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

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Across Canada, a disproportionate number of Indigenous Peoples suffer from poor health. This is due to poverty, lack of education, culture loss, inadequate living conditions, exposure to trauma and violence, and lack of social support and resources. There is a need for positive long-term change.

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The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) will help improve the health of Métis, First Nations, Inuit and Urban Aboriginal Peoples through its signature initiative, Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples.

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Dr. Malcolm King
Scientific Director, Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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So CIHR has made Aboriginal health and wellness one of it's main priorities, and that's, of course, very important to me as an Indigenous researcher and the Director of our Institute of Aboriginal People's Health. But the important thing is that it's a priority, not only of my institute, but of all 13 institutes, and of CIHR itself.

We've chosen four exemplar areas which are areas of distinct inequity, but they are also very different. So, it's diabetes, related to obesity, tuberculosis, oral health, and suicide prevention which, of course, is related to mental health and mental wellness.

Pathways should absolutely continue to encourage collaboration. I think if we're making a success of it, it's really in the area of bringing people together – not only bringing communities together, but bringing researchers together; people who, until now, have been very focused on a particular discipline, and to realize that they have actually a lot more in common with other researchers in totally different areas of interest.

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Ovilu Goo-Doyle
Inuit Elder
Ottawa

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Pathways was… The first time I was here, I think it was two years ago. It's a wonderful and great thing to learn from that because they have professionals that are scientists or in the medical field, that's very good. And I love it because we are working together to get where we are supposed to be going.

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Dr. Janet Smylie
Métis Researcher funded through Pathways
Associate Professor, University of Toronto

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One arm is going to be a national arm where we're going to sit together as researchers and research teams doing Indigenous health research along with national and regional First Nations, Métis, Urban Aboriginal organizations, and reflect on what does it actually mean; what are the best practices, what are the standards of practice in terms of public health intervention research in our communities. Which ways have we already done research?

One thing that we're really interested in is identifying good ways to do evaluation, like ways and methods, and tools for Indigenous health service and program evaluation that actually aren't seen as a burden to Indigenous communities, that actually could be seen as helpful, and support improved programming.

The other arm is to actually work on specific projects. So for example, we're partnered with the Native Youth Sexual Health Network and we're really excited about looking at identifying interventions or activities that support and promote mental health and wellbeing among Indigenous youth who are two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or gender diverse.

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Wendy McNab
Cree-Saulteaux community member
Collaborator with Dr. Janet Smylie

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Janet really has a huge role to really make a change. The bottom line is that, and the work that I've seen Janet do, and I've been in groups with Janet, is that she identifies and locates herself. And I experience seeing her as a community member first, and then I see the academic part. The only thing that comes to mind is just knowing that I can sit at the table with her as an equal and have a voice. That's actually key with Janet.

That's collaboration. Collaborating is not "I want to team up with you and let's do this project but I know what needs to be done." Collaboration is actually genuinely teaming up with somebody and treating them as equals. So sitting in a circle with her… I love the work that she does.

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Partnerships will help improve health and health equity for Indigenous peoples by generating research evidence that informs decision makers, advancing our understanding of how to implement this new knowledge across Indigenous communities in a collaborative fashion, and increasing the ability to develop effective and evolving Indigenous health programs and policies.

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Together, through Pathways, we can improve the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada for generations that are yet to come.
That's a step in the right research direction.

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