In 2014, SLFNHA and Dignitas International (DI), a leading Canadian medical and research organization, launched a partnership to support the development of First Nations-led solutions to health inequities experienced by people living in remote SLA communities. Based on the complementary knowledge and experience of both organizations, SLFNHA and DI co-designed and are presently implementing a CHW pilot program in four communities: Kingfisher Lake, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Slate Falls and Kasabonika Lake (2,400 total population). This 3-year project (2014-2017) was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s Health System Research Fund Capacity Awards.
CHWs in the pilot program are employed by First Nation Band Councils and supported by existing Health Canada programs - Community Health Representatives (CHRs) and Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative Workers (ADIs).
CHW is a catchall term for any layperson working in health care. A CHW is a community health aide that is selected from the community in which they serve. They do not have formal training like clinicians (MDs, RNs, RPNs, etc), but they do have some training, and often work as frontline workers in health care. They frequently act as advocates and as agents of social change. CHWs are used globally for a variety of programs. For more detailed information about CHWs, see our Global Case Studies.
Over the next 5 years, SLFNHA and DI plan to enhance and expand the CHW Diabetes Program by:
The CHW Diabetes Program will be supported by scientific evaluation and knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) activities that generate evidence-based learning, which is fed into the Program tosupport continuous improvement throughout the scale-up process.