Work is underway to develop a research agenda and strategy that aligns with First Nations interests and the vision and principles of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). This strategy will guide the FNHA in its collaborations with academic and other health organizations and will enable the Research, Knowledge Exchange, and Evaluation department (RKEE) to develop new policies and procedures to support research excellence within the organization and First Nations communities.
The FNHA's RKEE team is committed to making sure that all research it is involved in meets the ethical expectations of First Nations communities. This includes acting as a responsible steward over data and information originating from or belonging to First Nations individuals and communities. It also means fully respecting the principles of First Nations Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession of research findings, results, data, and information. The RKEE team further recognizes that it has an important role in promoting this First Nations approach to research among its outside partners and collaborators.
In order to ensure research is relevant, meaningful and beneficial to First Nations, the RKEE team is building collaborations with external researchers, funders, health authorities, and academic institutions. It is promoting an interest in participatory, community-based and community-driven research that ensures communities develop, conduct and have ownership over their own health research and data. The FNHA is also taking a special interest in applied research that will benefit First Nations at the community, regional and provincial level.
Historically health has been measured using a variety of health indicators that do not always reflect individual, community or population health. This approach most often focused on physical disease or illness, the absence of health and often causes an unbalanced view health for First Nations communities. The FNHA's RKEE team is building a model of Wellness Indicators that will measure wellness at the individual, community, regional and provincial levels. The incorporation of Wellness Indicators into research projects is an important step towards accurate and balanced health outcome reporting for BC First Nations. This model will be built from the ground up and will be guided by a First Nations Perspective on Wellness, with attention paid to the balance between physical, emotional, spiritual and emotional wellness. Balanced health reporting will highlight resilience and wellness within First Nation communities and individuals, and will provide a more accurate picture of overall health for BC First Nations.
There is a great amount of research that has been conducted and continues to be collected about First Nations health. It is important that the knowledge generated by research is meaningful and can be translated into policy and practice to improve First Nations health and wellbeing. The RKEE team is working to collect past and present knowledge generated by First Nations focused research and engagement with the intention to share this information to advance First Nations health related services.
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