New Southern Alberta Research Looking to Improve Indigenous Health Outcomes

AHS South Zone Chief Officer, Katherine Chubbs (left) with Kienan Williams, Assistant Scientific Director for Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network

The aim is to help Indigenous people navigate the health system in order to improve patient outcomes and address health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.

Some new research is looking to improve health outcomes for Indigenous people across the province.

Alberta Health Services launching a three year project in Lethbridge Thursday (Jan. 31).

AHS Chief Officer for the South Zone, Katherine Chubbs, says the aim is to improve patient outcomes and address health inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. “No one can speak to the challenges faced by Alberta’s Indigenous peoples better than they can. In developing the proposal for the research project, we engaged a broad-based steering committee made up of Indigenous patients and elders, municipal leaders, health providers, academics and community organizations. Together, we will design truly workable and effective solutions.”

Chubbs says they've engaged a broad-based steering committee and together, they will design truly workable and effective solutions. A report from 2017 showed native people in the province are twice as likely to suffer from liver cancer and diabetes and three times as likely to attempt suicide. 

Part of the project will involve the creation of two Indigenous Navigator positions for AHS South Zone. The navigators will have a clinical background, either as a nurse or social worker, in order to help patients move through the health system and, if needed, to act as a liaison to help foster understanding between medical staff and Indigenous patients.

Chubbs notes Indigenous patients and families expressed frustration with the health system during community engagement sessions held in the South Zone three years ago.

Twelve to 18 months into the project, a stakeholder session will gather feedback to see if any refinements are needed. Another session will be held at the end of the project to report on the results and to discuss next steps, sustainability and the potential to spread the model throughout the province.

Katherine Chubbs: 

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