Title of Presentation:  Is Health Care in Canada's North Sustainable?

While it is general knowledge that health care in Canada is “unsustainable”, as evidenced by the increasing proportion of provincial budgets devoted to health care, Canadians are not generally aware of the situation in the three northern territories. It would appear the situation there is even more critical. In terms of per capita health expenditures, Nunavut ranks the highest in the world among countries, with the Northwest Territories not far behind. Yet in terms of population health outcomes, the North lags far behind that of the South, and considerable health disparities persist between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations within the North. There is an urgent need to understand the causes and design interventions that will improve health system performance. In terms of solutions, these can be summed up in seven words: Policies, People, Places, Costs, Links, Tools, and Data.

Kue Young was appointed Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta in Auguest 2013. He has previously served as TransCanada Chair in Aboriginal Health at the University of Toronto and Head of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. A public health physician with a PhD in anthropology he devoted much of his professional life as a primary care physician, public health administrator, and academic researcher in Aboriginal and northern communities of Canada and the circumpolar region. For his contributions to Aboriginal and northern health research he was inducted a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2009 and Member of the Order of Canada in 2010. He is currently leading a CIHR team grant in community-based primary health care that seeks technological, organizational and human resources solutions to health system improvement in the North.

Title of Presentation: Giving Voice to Rural Perspectives in Helath Research

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss strategies that facilitate honoring the rural perspective in a program of health research.  Specific examples will be presented from the author’s research on the development and evaluation of rural navigation services. These will include strategies that helped to give voice to rural perspectives and those that have been a barrier.  Rural communities and their perspectives are very diverse. However it is important that rural perspectives are incorporated into health research so that it reflects the uniqueness of the rural context.

Wendy Duggleby, PhD, RN, AOCN®, through her active “living with hope” program of research, has developed innovative ways of communicating her findings that assist people in the community and their families deal with difficult health situations.

She has published widely in interdisciplinary, refereed international journals. Her large body of research has contributed to the development of knowledge relating to hope and quality of life in a number of populations, such as palliative care patients and their formal and informal caregivers. She has led studies not only to understand these vital issues, but also to improve the experiences and outcomes of patients and caregivers. She uses a wide range of research methods to build knowledge, and her research is specifically designed so that the knowledge can inform nursing research, practice and policy.

She has had a remarkable impact on the delivery of health care and health-care services through the production of films and materials that communicate her research findings through innovative media. Her work demonstrates the diverse and profound ways that research can influence and help patients and their families. This has resulted in several awards for her research.  She also strives to develop the capacity of other researchers to enhance the quality of life of older adults through innovative research.

Throughout her career, Dr. Duggleby has demonstrated a consistent pattern of exemplary contribution to the profession of nursing and the lives of patients and their families.

Title of Presentation: From Perceptions to Praxis: The Study of Age-related Dementias with Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Over the last decade rates of age-related dementias have been increasing in Indigenous populations. Although the incidence and prevalence of dementia in First Nations in Canada appears to have out-paced that of the non-First Nations population, age-related dementias are still considered an emerging health concern by many Indigenous communities. Beginning in 2009 we devised a research strategy to understand and address growing concerns about dementia in Indigenous communities. The research has been driven by community research partners who first noticed an increase in the number of elderly requiring dementia care in 2007.  Our work combines anthropological theoretical frameworks such as critical interpretive anthropology with Indigenous knowledge approaches to research within a community-based participatory research model. Our early objective has been to collect and analyze foundational information concerning knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and cultural values concerning dementia and aging in diverse Indigenous communities.  The second objective is to consider how the foundational findings can inform culturally relevant approaches to dementia diagnosis, treatment and care. This presentation will share highlights from our research findings and explore the transition of those foundational findings into applied and intervention-based research studies. The significance of the foundational work to sustaining funding and advocacy activities will also be discussed. It is concluded that the theoretically grounded community-based approach to research allowed for a theory driven exploration of an emerging illness and facilitated the development of the relationships necessary to move foundational research into practice-based/applied research with the potential for concrete benefits for those experiencing dementia.

Kristen Jacklin, Associate Professor, Human Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University, joined the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) in 2005 as part of its founding faculty. She was trained as a medical anthropologist with a focus on Indigenous health at McMaster University.  Dr. Jacklin brings a social science and health equity perspective to her teaching and research. Her teaching portfolio includes significant contributions to the development and delivery of the socio-cultural and Aboriginal health content for undergraduate medical students. She has previously served as Chair of the Northern and Rural Health Course Curriculum Committee at NOSM and has been involved in national initiatives to develop core competencies in the area of Aboriginal health in medical education.

Dr. Jacklin has expertise in participatory and community-based health research with Indigenous populations, Aboriginal health policy, cultural safety, qualitative methods, and cross-cultural medical education.  She is committed to research that is participatory and action-oriented. She leads and collaborates on several research projects which aim to improve chronic disease care and outcomes for Indigenous peoples in Canada including investigations on age-related dementias and national and community-based projects on diabetes. She is one of the principal investigators on the CIHR funded Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging and co-leads the team concerned with Indigenous dementia care.