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First Nations Public Health Model Taking Shape

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A First Nations specific Public Health Model is beginning to take form as an initial draft continues to be revised.  In August, SLFNHA staff met with First Nations representatives of the Public Health Working group to get their input into a public health model.

At the meeting, all of the feedback from community visits was used to develop the vision, values, goals, and various roles of a draft model. This model sought to use language that First Nations in the area could identify with (see diagram above).

This draft was presented to Sioux Lookout area Chiefs at the SLFNHA annual general meeting on September 9-11. Response from the Chiefs was positive and that the model is on the right track.

The Public Health Working Group was also pleased with the results of the draft model.

The next phase of development includes:

  • Developing a human resources plan to accompany the model.
  • Meeting with the Public Health Working Group to plan for the transition period after HSIF funding ends.
  • Developing an implementation plan to turn the model into reality.

For more information about the project, please visit our Public Health page.

 

Public Health Project Makes Community Visits

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A number of common themes were evident after four community visits by members of the SLFNHA Public Health Project.

The visits were part of the ongoing process to develop a Public Health Framework for First Nations in the Sioux Lookout area. As members of the public health project visited the communities, health workers from each community shared their perspectives and thoughts on what the framework could look like.

While views varied between each community, some commonalities were shared. Workers said that a public health framework should be wholistic in nature, be tailored to community health needs, and be mindful of the culture, traditions and practices of each community.

There was also strong support for integrating land -based practices and language into any public health system. Lastly, any approach taken on First Nations must be collaborative and inclusive.

One more community visit is planned for the Public Health Project in mid-July.

Communities visited:

  • Sandy Lake
  • Muskrat Dam
  • Nibinamik
  • Lac Seul

For more information about the project, please visit our Public Health page.

SLFNHA Hosts Public Health Conference

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As the future is plotted to address the growing health issues for First Nations people in the Sioux Lookout area, participants at a recent two-day Public Health Conference hosted by Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority looked to the past for guidance and wisdom.

“Back to Moss” was a common theme during discussions at the conference. Essentially, participants talked about returning to the healthy and safe traditions originally practiced by the Anishinabe in the Sioux Lookout area. Not too long ago, moss was commonly used for a variety of purposes, particularly on babies as a diaper.

Held in Lac Seul First Nation Feb. 19-20, the gathering brought together 28 health directors and health workers to obtain information, ideas, and wisdom for a public health model for the region.

Currently, there is no public health system in place for the 31 First Nations in the Sioux Lookout area. As a result SLFNHA has been authorized by Chiefs at the 2010 Annual General Meeting to develop a culturally relevant regional public health system as envisioned in the Anishinabe Health Plan. 

That process is in full swing at SLFNHA as staff with the Public Health Project begin the lengthy process to develop the model.

And it comes with some advice from speakers at the conference who shared information about public health.

It is not feasible for a community to have a comprehensive public health system. They can have elements, but a regional system would have to come under an organization like SLFNHA.

Since public health is very broad, it is up to communities to define what public health means to them and identify priorities.

It’s hard to do it alone so partnerships are important since resources are limited.

For more information about the project, please visit our Public Health page.

Learning Options For Hostel Clients

SLFNHA Newsletter, Autumn 2014

Last spring, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) partnered with Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) to create a hospital-based classroom for children, youth and adults staying at the hostel and hospital for periods of time. This unique pilot project allowed for children from kindergarten to Grade 8, and youth/adults in high school, to work on school and credits while away from home.  The program is perfect for expectant mothers who wish to keep working on high school credits while having a classroom to go to right in the hospital during the months they may be in Sioux Lookout leading up to their baby’s arrival. The program ran during the spring months and closed during the summer.

Fast forward to now. The project is getting up and running again! While the official opening date isn’t quite ready to be announced, Jenny Pert-Wesley is getting things ready for the “school year.”

“I’m really excited about the program,” says Pert-Wesley, who is the teacher for the program. “I’ve been talking with all of our partners and so many people are excited too and saying YES to this idea. Everyone is so supportive of the learning environment and what’s going to happen here.”

The program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The children are not registered in the Keewatin Patricia District School Board, however the students remain registered at the school in their First Nation so their home community keeps those education dollars.

The program worked so well in the spring, it’s now expanding to include Tikanagan Child and Family Services, and to moms and kids at the women’s shelter in Sioux Lookout.

The SLMHC/KPDSB Grades K-12 classroom  is very drop-in friendly and Pert-Wesley encourages any student to come check it out.

If you are interested in the program or want more information, you can email her at jenny.wesley(at)kpsdb.on.ca or call 738-0443. For guests staying at the hostel, please feel free to ask the guest services representative, Barb Peetwayway, for directions to the classroom (located near the cafeteria at the hospital).