Expertise

Indigenous health care

These services are aimed at any person or organization working in the field of health research and wishing to consult a circle of Indigenous Patients.

Territorial Acknowledgement

The Unité de soutien SSA Québec is located on the ancestral lands of the Abenaki, the Wendat and the Mohawk peoples. These territories are the homelands and have been the meeting grounds and exchange routes to many Indigenous Peoples and nations. May the spirit of fraternity that exists among them serve as a model to our activities and discussions.

Why should Indigenous patients be involved in patient-centered research? Indigenous patient partner engagement or participation in Indigenous health research is a process that involves partnership, collaboration and participation of Indigenous people to enable them to have a say in how research with Indigenous communities is conducted. In the context of Indigenous health, this is particularly important so that researchers can respond to the priorities of the Indigenous communities being studied and conduct research in a manner that is compatible with the interests of the Indigenous communities. It also allows research to be conducted in a manner that respects Indigenous cultural values and beliefs.

Source: O’Brien et al. (2022)

Our services

These services are aimed at any individual or organization involved in healthcare research.

The Unit offers a consulting service

  • Introduce your project to the Indigenous Patient Partners Circle for consultation (assessment of relevance and cultural safety is a prerequisite)
  • Consult an Indigenous health expert on best practices for establishing links with an Indigenous community.

Indigenous Partner Circles

The partner circles are co-directed by Marie-Claude Tremblay (Canadian of colonial descent), Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine at Laval University and Alex M McComber (Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk)) from Kahnawà:ke, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at McGill University.

Alex McComber and Marie-Claude Tremblay have been collaborating successfully for many years, are highly committed to Indigenous health research, and have many years of experience in the field. Mr. McComber’s position as director of the Quebec Indigenous Mentorship Network also opens up many opportunities to collaborate in terms of mentorship and support for research capacity building among Indigenous post-secondary students in Quebec. In addition, Mr. McComber and Ms. Tremblay are involved as co-researchers in the Quebec Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research as well as in Diabetes Action Canada in the Engaging Persons with Diabetes component and the Indigenous Peoples Health program, which will ensure an intrinsic alignment with this SPOR network.

The governance of the Indigenous Health Expertise is based on multiple circles of partners: the Advisory Circle and Indigenous Patient Partner Circles.

These guiding principles advocated by the Circle are as follows:

  • Inclusivity : The Patient Circle members represent a diverse group of Indigenous Nations, Peoples and organizations living in Québec;
  • Flexibility : Patient Circle members contribute fully to Circle discussions and decisions, and to participate to the extent they are available;
  • Respect : All Patient Circle members will meet, communicate and action with respect for one another and for every person who interacts with the Patient Circle members;
  • Safety : The Patient Circle is a safe space that promotes respectful and honest interactions, cultural safety, training, and education;
  • Self-determination : Self-determination of Indigenous patient partners is central to the activities of the Indigenous Health Expertise Program of the Quebec Support Unit. It is important to note that the responsibilities of the members of the Indigenous Patient Partner Circle in patient-centered research can be modified according to the expectations, needs of the patients and capacities of the Indigenous Patient Partner Circle. Therefore, this document is a living document and may be adapted to based on consensual agreement by the Patient Circle members.
  • Recognizing wholistic health: Health is viewed from a holistic perspective, which includes spiritual, mental, physical and emotional components
  • Receive training to better understand the research environment and the participation of patient partners in health research;
  • Reflect as a group and collectively identify the most important needs related to Indigenous health in Quebec;
  • Reflect as a group on the best ways to promote cultural safety in care and provide recommendations to decision makers in this regard;
  • Participate in offering training for health professionals and workers on the realities of Indigenous patients and cultural safety;
  • Be able to offer advice to research teams in Quebec who wish to do research on topics relevant to Indigenous Health.
  • Have Indigenous patients as expert members of research teams because of their unique knowledge and perspectives associated with their traditional and community cultures and their experiences in the healthcare and social services system;
  • Have Indigenous patient partners able to actively collaborate with researchers, healthcare providers and healthcare decision-makers;
  • Identified research priorities based on patient concerns, needs and expectations;
  • A working process that facilitates decision-making that respects Indigenous values and beliefs;
  • To contribute to the development of a better understanding by researchers of the realities of Indigenous populations and communities, which in turn informs and transforms the way in which health care is planned, developed and administered;
  • Generate information and results used to transform Indigenous health care and practice
  • Bring together patient partners from diverse Quebec-based Indigenous communities with a variety of cultural and individual experiences related to illness or their experiences with health care or social services;
  • Encourage these patient partners’ participation as equal partners in all stages of the research process (development, implementation, ongoing evaluation of research and dissemination of results), governance and decision-making processes;
  • Provide a space for patient partners to share their unique perspectives, experiences and knowledge that can lead to innovative discoveries in Indigenous health (nothing about us without us);
  • Foster understanding, communication and collaboration among all groups involved through education, orientation and training of patient partners, researchers, health care providers, and policy makers;
  • Support Indigenous patient partners through training in the principles of health research;
  • Ensure an environment of mutual respect and encourage the participation of the members involved.
  • All of these elements constitute the foundations of the Indigenous health expertise program of the Quebec Support Unit, one of the thematic axes of the second phase of the support unit (2021-2026). We will report regularly on the progress and compliance of these elements through feedback from the members involved.

Potential collaboration

  • First Nation and Inuit Communities in Quebec
  • First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC)
  • Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay
  • Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
  • Regroupement des Centres d’amitiés autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ)
  • Native Friendship Centres not affiliated with the RCAAQ
  • Diabetes Action Canada and other national patient-oriented research networks
  • Tahatikonhsontóntie’, Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research
  • Teionkwaienawa:kon, Quebec Indigenous Mentorship Network
  • Centre of Excellence on Partnership with Patients and the Public and the Canada Research Chair in Partnership with Patients and Communities
  • Réseau-1 Québec
  • FMOQ (Claude Guimont) for education

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Service request

When you apply for support from the Unité de soutien SSA Québec, you are taking part in the emergence of a learning health system (LHS). We offer three types of support: training, consultation and tools.

Team

Portrait of Marie-Claude Tremblay.

Marie-Claude Tremblay

Indigenous Health Care

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