Indigenous Health

Award Winning Poster: Steven Lam

The next poster highlighted in our Award Winning Poster Series, is a poster that was presented by Steven Lam at the Canadian Evaluation Society’s 40th annual conference in Halifax, Canada.

Steven’s poster won the "People's choice poster award”.

Congratulations Steven!

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Award Winning Poster

Canadian Evaluation Society 2019

Award Winning Poster: Carlee Wright

Next in our Award Winning Poster Series, is a poster presented by Carlee Wright at the 2015 ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting in Vancouver. Carlee won a poster prize for her work that was conducted in partnership with the community of Rigolet on drinking water and Inuit health.

Congratulations Carlee!

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Award Winning Poster

2015 ArcticNet ASM

Award Winning Poster: Rebecca Wolff

Next in our series of Award Winning Poster profiles is a poster by Rebecca Wolff. In 2015, Rebecca Wolff presented a poster at the Canadian Conference on Global Health. She won the top poster prize for Best Contribution to Global Health for her work entitled, “Its spirit is strong”: Shawi spirits, healers and diarrhea in the Peruvian Amazon.

Congratulations Rebecca!

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Award Winning Poster

2015 Canadian Conference on Global Health

Award Winning Poster: David Borish

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This summer, we are profiling award winning posters presented at research conferences. At the 2016 ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting, David Borish won the poster presentation competition, for his work on using participatory film to examine the relationships between caribou and Inuit in Labrador.

Award Winning Poster

2016 ArcticNet ASM

Award Winning Poster: Alexandra Sawatzky's Literature Review

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As part of our series on award winning poster presentations, it is pleasure to share a poster presented by Alex. At the 2017 ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr. Alex Sawatzky presented the results of her literature review about integrated environment and health surveillance in the Circumpolar North. Her poster won a poster prize at the conference, and this work has been published since then (click here to access the free article).

Congratulations Alex!

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Award Winning Poster

2017 ArcticNet ASM

Award Winning Poster: Kate Bishop-Williams

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As a part of our Award Winning Poster series, we are pleased to share Kate Bishop-Williams’ poster from 2014. Winning the poster prize at the 2014 ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting, Kate shared her research on the seasonal prevalence of acute gastrointestinal illness in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut. This work was conducted in partnership with the Rigolet Inuit Community Government.

Congratulations Kate!

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Award Winning Poster

2014 ArcticNet ASM

Award Winning Poster about Inuit Health by Alexandra Sawatzky

Contributing to our series on award winning poster presentations, this beautifully designed poster was presented by Dr. Alex Sawatzky at the 2016 Labrador Research Forum and the 2016 ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting. At both of these conferences, Alex won awards in the poster competition.

Through this poster, Alex presents work that she conducted in collaboration with Nunatsiavut Inuit to identify pathways for achieving and sustaining good wellbeing.

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Award Winning Poster

2016 Labrador Research Forum & 2016 ArcticNet ASM

New Publication! Using Whiteboard Videos for Health Promotion

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Citation

Saini, M., Roche, S., Papadopoulos, A., Markwick, N., Shiwak, I., Flowers, C., Wood, M., Edge, V., Ford, J., Rigolet Inuit Community Government, Nunatsiavut Government, IHACC Research Team, Wright, C., Harper, S. (2019). Promoting Inuit health through a participatory whiteboard video. Can J Public Health. doi: 10.17269/s41997-019-00189-1

Abstract

Setting: The Inuit community of Rigolet experiences greater rates of self-reported acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) compared to southern Canada.

Intervention: A whiteboard video tool was collaboratively developed by Rigolet youth, community members, the research team and key regional stakeholders to share public health recommendations for reducing the risk of AGI. The video debuted in Rigolet at a community event in August 2016 and was later provided online for community members and local and regional health departments. Interviews and focus group discussions were used to evaluate the ability of the video to communicate public health information to community members in Rigolet.

Outcomes: Community and government viewers reported that the whiteboard video was novel and engaging. Evaluation participants believed the video was suitable for promoting Inuit health because of the use of locally relevant visuals and narrative, which reflect Inuit art and storytelling traditions. Furthermore, participants indicated that the video co-development process was critical to ensuring community relevance of the video. Short-term outcome results suggest the video can reinforce health knowledge and potentially encourage behavioural change.

Implications: The results suggest this whiteboard video was an effective tool to share information and could increase intention to change behaviours to reduce the risk of AGI in Rigolet. While tools like the whiteboard video are gaining popularity, the participatory approach was used to develop the video, and its use in an Inuit context illustrates its innovation and novelty. This tool may be a useful health promotion tool among Indigenous communities in Canada.

Award Winning Poster: Manpreet Saini

As a part of our “Award Winning Poster” series, this post celebrates Manpreet's presentation success at the ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting in 2015. At this meeting, Manpreet won one of the poster prizes for her work in collaboration with the Rigolet Inuit Community Government and the Nunatsiavut Government that evaluated the collaborative development of a whiteboard video for health promotion.

Congratulations Manpreet!

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Award Winning Poster

ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting 2015

Award Winning Poster: Jacqueline Middleton

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Congratulations to Jacqueline Middleton for winning the poster prize at the Labrador Research Forum in Happy Valley - Goose Bay in May 2019!

In Jacquie’s poster, she explores the role of community-identified metrics and modifiers that matter in a changing climate.

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Award Winning Poster

Labrador Research Forum 2019

How can integrated health & environmental monitoring support climate change adaptation? Check out our new publication to find out!

Congratulations to Alexandra Sawatzy on her recent publication. Alex reviewed integrated surveillance used for responding to climate and environmental change impacts on human health in the Circumpolar North. The article can be accessed, for free, at: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2706

Key Messages:

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Key Message 1:

The wide range and diversity of integrated surveillance systems described in the literature can help guide and target evidence-based public health responses in support of climate change adaptation in the North.

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Key Message 2:

2: Findings offer insight into how these systems can be designed to be more responsive to public health concerns within rapidly shifting Northern environments.

What are key components of integrated surveillance?

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Recommendations & Next Steps:

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Article citation:

Sawatzky, A., Cunsolo, A., Jones-Bitton, A., Middleton, J., Harper, S.L. (2018). Responding to Climate and Environmental Change Impacts on Human Health via Integrated Surveillance in the Circumpolar North: A Systematic Realist Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health.15(12), 2706. Click here to access the article (free open-access)

Abstract:

Environments are shifting rapidly in the Circumpolar Arctic and Subarctic regions as a result of climate change and other external stressors, and this has a substantial impact on the health of northern populations. Thus, there is a need for integrated surveillance systems designed to monitor the impacts of climate change on human health outcomes as part of broader adaptation strategies in these regions. This review aimed to identify, describe, and synthesize literature on integrated surveillance systems in Circumpolar Arctic and Subarctic regions, that are used for research or practice. Following a systematic realist review approach, relevant articles were identified using search strings developed for MEDLINE® and Web of Science™ databases, and screened by two independent reviewers. Articles that met the inclusion criteria were retained for descriptive quantitative analysis, as well as thematic qualitative analysis, using a realist lens. Of the 3431 articles retrieved in the database searches, 85 met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Thematic analysis identified components of integrated surveillance systems that were categorized into three main groups: structural, processual, and relational components. These components were linked to surveillance attributes and activities that supported the operations and management of integrated surveillance. This review advances understandings of the distinct contributions of integrated surveillance systems and data to discerning the nature of changes in climate and environmental conditions that affect population health outcomes and determinants in the Circumpolar North. Findings from this review can be used to inform the planning, design, and evaluation of integrated surveillance systems that support evidence-based public health research and practice in the context of increasing climate change and the need for adaptation.

The article can be accessed, for free, at: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2706

New Publication: Wastewater treatment and enteric illness in the Arctic

The article is freely available for 50 days: Anyone clicking on this link before February 03, 2019 will be taken directly to the final version of this article: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1YE0uB8ccghTq

Citation:

Daley, K., Jamieson, R., Rainham, D., Hansen, L. T., Harper, S. L. (2018). Screening-level microbial risk assessment of acute gastrointestinal illness attributable to wastewater treatment systems in Nunavut, Canada. Science of the Total Environment. 657(20): 1253-1264.

Abstract:

Most arctic communities use primary wastewater treatment systems that are capable of only low levels of pathogen removal. Effluent potentially containing fecally derived microorganisms is released into wetlands and marine waters that may simultaneously serve as recreation or food harvesting locations for local populations. The purpose of this study is to provide the first estimates of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) attributable to wastewater treatment systems in Arctic Canada. A screening-level, point estimate quantitative microbial risk assessment model was developed to evaluate worst-case scenarios across an array of exposure pathways in five case study locations. A high annual AGI incidence rate of 5.0 cases per person is estimated in Pangnirtung, where a mechanical treatment plant discharges directly to marine waters, with all cases occurring during low tide conditions. The probability of AGI per person per single exposure during this period ranges between 1.0 × 10−1 (shore recreation) and 6.0 × 10−1 (shellfish consumption). A moderate incidence rate of 1.2 episodes of AGI per person is estimated in Naujaat, where a treatment system consisting of a pond and tundra wetland is used, with the majority of cases occurring during spring. The pathway with the highest individual probability of AGI per single exposure event is wetland travel at 6.0 × 10−1. All other risk probabilities per single exposure are <1.0 × 10−1. The AGI incidence rates estimated for the other three case study locations are <0.1. These findings suggest that wastewater treatment sites may be contributing to elevated rates of AGI in some arctic Canadian communities. Absolute risk values, however, should be weighed with caution based on the exploratory nature of this study design. These results can be used to inform future risk assessment and epidemiological research as well as support public health and sanitation decisions in the region.

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How can understanding hospital admission patterns inform climate change adaptation for the healthcare sector in Uganda? Read more to find out!

Kate Bishop-Williams and co-authors recently published an article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The article explored how understanding hospital admission patterns can promote climate change adaptation. Through this article, we illustrate how analyzing hospital data alongside meteorological parameters may inform climate-health planning in low-resource contexts.

How do non-climatic factors reinforce maladaptation trajectories? Check out this new publication to find out.

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Congratulations to Dr. Carol Zaveleta for her recent publication in PLoS One.  Her participatory, community-based study was conducted in collaboration with Shawi communities. Together, they worked to characterize the food system of the Shawi in the Peruvian Amazon, climatic and non-climatic drivers of their food security vulnerability to climate change, and identify potential maladaptation trajectories. They found that transformational food security adaptation should include consideration of Indigenous perceptions and priorities, and should be part of Peruvian food and socioeconomic development policies.  Click here for free article (open access).

Citation:

Zavaleta, C., Berrang-Ford, L., Ford, J., Llanos-Cuentas, A., Carcamo, C., Ross, N., Lancha, G., Sherman, M., Harper, S.L., IHACC Research Team. (2018) Multiple non-climatic drivers of food insecurity reinforce climate change maladaptation trajectories among Peruvian Indigenous Shawi in the Amazon. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205714. Click here for free article (open access).

Abstract:

Background: Climate change is affecting food systems globally, with implications for food security, nutrition, and the health of human populations. There are limited data characterizing the current and future consequences of climate change on local food security for populations already experiencing poor nutritional indicators. Indigenous Amazonian populations have a high reported prevalence of nutritional deficiencies. This paper characterizes the food system of the Shawi of the Peruvian Amazon, climatic and non-climatic drivers of their food security vulnerability to climate change, and identifies potential maladaptation trajectories.

Methods and findings: Semi-structured interviews with key informants (n = 24), three photovoice workshops (n = 17 individuals), transect walks (n = 2), a food calendar exercise, and two community dissemination meetings (n = 30 individuals), were conducted within two Shawi communities in Balsapuerto District in the Peruvian Loreto region between June and September of 2014. The Shawi food system was based on three main food sub-systems (forest, farming and externally-sourced). Shawi reported collective, gendered, and emotional notions related to their food system activities. Climatic and non-climatic drivers of food security vulnerability among Shawi participants acted at proximal and distal levels, and mutually reinforced key maladaptation trajectories, including: 1) a growing population and natural resource degradation coupled with limited opportunities to increase incomes, and 2) a desire for education and deforestation reinforced by governmental social and food interventions.

Conclusion: A series of maladaptive trajectories have the potential to increase social and nutritional inequities for the Shawi. Transformational food security adaptation should include consideration of Indigenous perceptions and priorities, and should be part of Peruvian food and socioeconomic development policies.

PhD position in participatory climate modeling, ethnoclimatology, and human health in the Arctic

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Looking for a great PhD research project with an interdisciplinary research team?  Apply today! Position is co-supervised by James Ford (Leeds University) and Sherilee Harper (University of Alberta). The position is primarily based in the UK.

Apply by 31 October 2018.

For more details:

http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/admissions-and-study/research-degrees/sri/projects-with-guaranteed-funding/participatory-climate-modeling-ethnoclimatology-and-human-health-in-the-arctic/

New Publication Exploring the Hidden Costs of Enteric Illness in the North

Congratulations to Nia King for her recent publication in PloS One.  In the north, per capita healthcare costs are high. However, given Inuit communities’ unique cultural, economic, and geographic contexts, there is a knowledge gap regarding the context-specific indirect healthcare costs borne by Inuit. Therefore, Nia worked with Northern partners to identify the major indirect costs of enteric illness, and explore factors associated with these indirect costs, in Rigolet, Canada.

Citation:

King, N., Vriezen, R., Edge, V.L., Ford, J., Wood, M., IHACC Research Team, Harper, S.L. (2018). The hidden costs: Identification of indirect costs associated with acute gastrointestinal illness in an Inuit community. PloS One, 13(5), e0196990.  Click here for free article (open access).

Abstract:

Background: Acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) incidence and per-capita healthcare expenditures are higher in some Inuit communities as compared to elsewhere in Canada. Consequently, there is a demand for strategies that will reduce the individual-level costs of AGI; this will require a comprehensive understanding of the economic costs of AGI. However, given Inuit communities’ unique cultural, economic, and geographic contexts, there is a knowledge gap regarding the context-specific indirect costs of AGI borne by Inuit community members. This study aimed to identify the major indirect costs of AGI, and explore factors associated with these indirect costs, in the Inuit community of Rigolet, Canada, in order to develop a case-based context-specific study framework that can be used to evaluate these costs.

Methods: A mixed methods study design and community-based methods were used. Qualitative in-depth, group, and case interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis to identify and describe indirect costs of AGI specific to Rigolet. Data from two quantitative cross-sectional retrospective surveys were analyzed using univariable regression models to examine potential associations between predictor variables and the indirect costs.

Results/Significance: The most notable indirect costs of AGI that should be incorporated into cost-of-illness evaluations were the tangible costs related to missing paid employment and subsistence activities, as well as the intangible costs associated with missing community and cultural events. Seasonal cost variations should also be considered. This study was intended to inform cost-of-illness studies conducted in Rigolet and other similar research settings. These results contribute to a better understanding of the economic impacts of AGI on Rigolet residents, which could be used to help identify priority areas and resource allocation for public health policies and programs.

Crystal Gong awarded Guelph Y 2018 Women of Distinction

Congratulations to Undergraduate Thesis Student Crystal Gong, who is one of the honorees being recognized by the Guelph Y 2018 Guelph Women of Distinction. Crystal is working on our research team on two research projects: (1) synthesizing the state of knowledge on food security in the context of climate change, and (2) examining how season is associated with food security.

Read more about Crystal's award:

Evaluating the strengths, challenges, and opportunities of health-related community-based adaptation research

Article Highlights

  • We examine the application of Community Based Adaptation (CBA) approaches in Indigenous community settings.
  • CBA can co-generate knowledge on climate-health vulnerability and adaptation options, build capacity, and inform decision choices.
  • CBA can also have unintended negative consequences.
  • CBA requires careful consideration of community-researcher relationships and meaningful engagement of knowledge users.
  • CBA holds significant promise but only in the ‘right’ circumstances.


Abstract

Climate change presents substantial risks to the health of Indigenous peoples. Research is needed to inform health policy and practice for managing risks, with community based adaptation (CBA) emerging as one approach to conducting research to support such efforts. Few, if any, studies however, have critically examined the application of CBA in a health or Indigenous peoples context. We examine the strengths, challenges, and opportunities of health-related CBA research in Indigenous community settings, drawing on the experiences of the multi-nation interdisciplinary Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change (IHACC) project. Data collection was guided by a framework developed to evaluate CBA projects. Semi-structured interviews (n = 114) and focus groups (n = 23, 177 participants) were conducted with faculty-based researchers, institutional partners, community members, students, and trainees involved in the IHACC project in Canada, Uganda, and Peru. Results illustrate the importance of CBA in co-generating knowledge on climate-health vulnerability and adaptation options, capacity building, and informing decision choices. There are also significant challenges of conducting CBA which can have unintended negative consequences, with results emphasizing the importance of managing the tension between health research and tangible and immediate benefits; developing a working architecture for collective impact, including team building, identification of common goals, and meaningful engagement of knowledge users; and the need to continuously monitor and evaluate progress. CBA holds significant promise in a health adaptation context, but only in the ‘right’ circumstances, where considerable time is spent developing the work with partners.

Article Citation

Ford, J.D., Sherman, M., Berrang-Ford, L., Llanos, A., Carcamo, C., Harper, S.L., Lwasa, S., Namanya, D.B., Marcello, T., Maillet, M., Edge, V. 2018. Preparing for the health impacts of climate change in Indigenous communities: The role of community-based adaptation. Global Environmental Change. 49: 129–139.  Click here for open-access article.