Donate Now!

NOSM Faculty Member Participates in International Collaboration on Medical Education to Improve Indigenous Health

Posted on July 21, 2010

Researchers from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand team up to tackle health questions

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is pleased to announce Faculty member Dr. Kristen Jacklin’s participation in a new major international collaboration launched to improve chronic disease care for Indigenous patients.

Scientists will investigate similarities between Indigenous peoples and health issues. Diabetes and its prevalence in Indigenous communities is one area researchers will study with the aim to improving health in Aboriginal populations.

Co-principal investigator NOSM’s Dr. Kristen Jacklin believes that “this project has the potential to improve outcomes for Indigenous people living with diabetes in Northern Ontario.” She notes that, “while there have been some research projects in Northern Ontario aimed at assessing the level of care delivered to Indigenous peoples, there have not been any comprehensive efforts like this project that aim to improve diabetes outcomes through the delivery of culturally safe and appropriate clinical care.”

NOSM joins three Canadian universities (University of Calgary, Queen’s University, and University of British Columbia) to make up the Canadian contingent participating in the project. The five-year project is called “Educating for equity: Exploring how health professional education can reduce disparities in chronic disease care and improve outcomes for Indigenous populations.”

Co-principal investigator Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe from the University of Calgary says, “we know that Indigenous people in all three countries experience a greater burden of chronic diseases than their non-Indigenous counterparts. We think that this may be due in part to issues of limited access to high quality care. This project will attempt to address gaps in our understanding of how differences in health professionals’ clinical decision making, communication and engagement with patients and families might impact health outcomes for Indigenous patients,” he says.

The project is supported by the International Collaborative Indigenous Health Research Program. The program was developed and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

CIHR will contribute $1.25 million to support the Canadian contribution to this project. “I am very pleased that researchers at four Canadian universities have partnered with their Australian and New Zealand colleagues to tackle the question of clinician education in such a broad way, and with such a strong emphasis on culturally sensitive engagement,” said Dr. Malcolm King, Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health (IAPH). “Led by IAPH, CIHR is committed to working with Aboriginal Peoples to develop the tools needed to respond to the unique health challenges they face.”

The other Canadian principal investigators include Dr. Michael Green, Queen’s University, and Drs. Betty Calam, Kendall Ho and Leah Walker from the University of British Columbia.

The international aspects of the project will be led by Dr. Rhys Jones at the University of Auckland and Professor Helen Milroy from the University of Western Australia. Each country will explore a different aspect of medical education. The teams will meet regularly over the next five years to share their expertise and compare funding across the countries.

For the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and healthcare for Canadians. As the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented healthcare system. Composed of 13 internationally-recognized institutes, CIHR supports more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.