Pathways to Indigenous health equity

Photo: Canadian Institutes of Health Research via Facebook

Can-SOLVE CKD was well represented at last month’s Pathways Annual Gathering in Whitehorse.

Four Indigenous patient partners (Helen Robinson-Settee, Cathy Woods, Chantel Large, Kevin Settee) received CIHR travel awards to attend the annual conference, which brings together community members, researchers, national Indigenous organizations, and CIHR staff.

The gathering is a part of CIHR’s Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples initiative. It aims to encourage respect for and inclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing in health research and to support networking and community building.


 Patient partner Chantel Large shared her thoughts and reflections on the value of attending this year’s Pathways gathering.

Chantel Large
Chantel Large

The theme of the conference was gender inclusivity as a foundation for building healthy communities. Overall, I thought the conference was informative and extremely well done. I really thought a lot about the work we do in Can-SOLVE CKD and realized gender inclusivity has never been a priority in any of the discussions I’ve participated in. I realized we are missing out on a whole group of people who experience a lot of difficulties when trying to navigate the healthcare system. I think that is something we can all benefit from being more cognizant of.

 

I particularly liked the idea of having youth-elder pairs attend the conference together. It was special to me because it showed learning across the lifespan and reminded me that every voice, no matter how old/young or how experienced, is significant. We also started the conference with a “fire ceremony” where we prayed, lit a fire, and offered tobacco. It was so special and set the tone for the event in a good way.

 

Indigenous ways of knowing were included throughout the conference and participants had the opportunity to discuss how their research projects were inclusive of indigenous research paradigms. Involving participants in ALL phases of the research project, including the formulation of the research question, and taking time to really focus on relationship building were key aspects of these projects. I think some Can-SOLVE CKD projects do a really excellent job of this already, but there are also some projects that could use some improvement (I’m aware there are many efforts to rectify this, so I don’t want to discredit those efforts as people are doing a great job!!).

 

Overall, I think it was really great to participate, learn, and share some of the amazing work Can-SOLVE CKD is doing. Other researchers were very impressed with Can-SOLVE CKD and asked many questions to try and learn from us as well (reciprocity is a beautiful thing!!).

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