Building a new partnership between First Nations Health Authority and the University of British Columbia for community-based research to improve Indigenous women’s heart health

Research co-leads:

Research user co-lead:

  • Jeffrey Reading
    First Nations Health Authority

Team members:

  • Alexandra Kent
    Simon Fraser University
  • Krista Stelkia
    Simon Fraser University

This team will build a new partnership to collaboratively develop, and pursue funding for, a community-based participatory feasibility study on a novel arts-based approach to address Indigenous women’s heart health. The aim is to fill the knowledge gap in heart health research and policy in Canada by explicitly focusing on Indigenous women as a unique and vulnerable group. A holistic perspective will be employed on heart health disparities of Indigenous women and a participatory-based action research approach will be taken to communicating heart health risk that is culturally safe and respectful.

To develop and foster new and meaningful relationships between researchers and researcher users for future research collaboration, inter-related activities for this relationship-building work includes:

  1. An initial meeting in Vancouver for partners to learn more about each other, discuss equitable collaborative principles and operating norms, and explore community interest in an arts-based prevention program for women’s heart health.
  2. Two additional partner meetings by telephone to collaboratively develop research questions and plans that will support a grant application.
  3. Three on-site visits to remote Indigenous communities selected and invited by the First Nations Health Authority for potential research interest, to learn about and discuss local Indigenous women’s heart health priorities, and assess personal and community capabilities and resources for a future feasibility study on an arts-based community approach to heart health promotion.
  4. Regular communication in between meetings to support organizing and follow-up activities.
  5. Review literature to prepare background materials for meetings and a future study protocol.
  6. Draft a collaborative feasibility study protocol to pursue research funding.

This will result in:

  1. Producing new foundational knowledge about the unique set of risk factors and determinants of heart health among Indigenous women in BC.
  2. Creating authentic relationships between new partners that will establish the foundation upon which future research collaboration can be built and successfully implemented.
  3. Building the KT capacity of two doctoral students as research trainees on this project, who will be given multiple opportunities to improve soft and hard skills relevant to research on Indigenous health.

Together, these outputs will help this new partnership achieve the primary outcome of increased collaboration and research proposal submissions to pursue the novel research agenda.