Harper government invests in aboriginal health research

New initiative sets the course for a focussed 10-year health research agenda

OTTAWA and IQALUIT, NU, June 21, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development today announced an investment of $25 million in a new long-term aboriginal health research initiative called Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples.

The Ministers also announced support for six major projects to study the best ways for health providers to collaborate with First Nations, Métis and Inuit to improve community wellness.

"Our Government is committed to improving the health of Aboriginal Canadians," said Minister Aglukkaq. "To help make these projects as effective as possible, this new research initiative requires researchers to partner with aboriginal communities.  Together they'll figure out the most effective ways of tackling key health issues such as suicide, tuberculosis, obesity and oral health."

At the core of the Pathways initiative 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.

"Today's announcement commits long-term, stable funding that will help drive the innovation required to improve health outcomes in aboriginal communities," said Minister Duncan. "By focusing on collaborations between health researchers and aboriginal communities, we will see more meaningful health solutions that can be successfully implemented, leading to healthier communities."

"Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is supportive of this announcement," says national Inuit leader Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami." We applaud the focus on intervention-centred research to improve health outcomes around suicide, TB, oral health, and obesity. We look forward to ongoing engagement in this process in order to align the Pathways initiative with the ongoing work of ITK and our Inuit Qaujisarvingat: Inuit Knowledge Centre. We must build bridges between health research and Inuit health priorities as defined by Inuit."

Researchers are expected to work closely with health stakeholders and partners in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. This will allow them to share knowledge and best practices in a respectful, cooperative way to foster changes in health policies and practices.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

Fact Sheet

Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples

Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples commits $25 million over 10 years to create and carry out programs that address four critical health inequities affecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis: suicide, tuberculosis, obesity and oral health.

Action in these areas will lead to:

  1. Increased understanding of how to implement programs that will reduce health inequities facing Aboriginal peoples;
  2. Improved health of Aboriginal peoples across the four priority areas;
  3. Better understanding of how to reduce health inequities and how this new knowledge can be adapted and applied to other communities; and
  4. Increased research capacity in the area of implementation science related to the health of Aboriginal peoples and other vulnerable populations.

All research projects that will be funded through the Pathways initiative will be done in collaboration with aboriginal communities.

Research teams funded by Pathways will be required to include community members as co-applicants. Community representation could be through knowledge users (e.g., a decision maker) or traditional knowledge holders (e.g., community elders).

Aboriginal Health Intervention Grants

Aboriginal Health Intervention Grants support research that is developed in close collaboration with aboriginal community leaders, and has a direct, positive impact on the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.

In addition to the Pathways to Health Equity research initiative announced today, the federal government also announced six projects that have been awarded Aboriginal Health Intervention Grants.

Total funding of these projects is $5.3 million over three years, with $4.1 million from CIHR and $1.2 million from the Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.

SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information:

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health

David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research


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