Knowledge is the combination of information and understanding about ourselves, our communities and our land that guides the way we conduct ourselves and the decisions we make.
We gather knowledge by generating new knowledge and collecting existing knowledge. We manage knowledge through sharing and protecting it.
Research is a systematic and thorough study whose primary objective is to generate new knowledge that is used to answer a research question and test a hypothesis. Research is not, however, the only way we gather knowledge. We also gather knowledge through activities like program evaluation and quality improvement.
By gathering knowledge we can learn new and creative ways to improve our health programs, policies and practices.
First Nations Peoples' experiences with research have not always been positive. Many First Nations, however, are taking control of their own research to make it beneficial and meaningful to their communities.
The mission of FNHA Research and Knowledge Exchange is to support appropriate ways of gathering and managing knowledge that helps leaders and planners strengthen the health and wellness of BC First Nations.
The FNHA aims to support First Nations to redefine how research is conducted in communities, regions and the province. By sharing and protecting our knowledge, we respect cultural perspectives and values and strengthen traditional ways of knowing. We also provide communities with tools that support their journey toward self-determination and intellectual sovereignty.
The British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance lists carrying out research and policy development in the area of First Nations health and wellness to be one of the roles of the FNHA. In addition, the signing of the Tripartite Data Quality and Sharing Agreement (TDQSA) represents a commitment by the Tripartite partners to work collaboratively to enhance the ability of First Nations in BC to conduct health research and data management activities.
The FNHA aims to support research that is relevant, meaningful and beneficial to First Nations in accordance with the Seven Directives, as well as the principle of First Nations Health Information Governance stipulated in the TDQSA.
What to expect in the future:
The Research and Knowledge Exchange department is working to develop a research agenda and strategy that aligns with First Nations interests and the vision and principles of the FNHA. This strategy will guide the FNHA in its collaborations with academic and other health organizations and will enable our department to develop new policies and procedures to support research excellence within the organization and First Nations communities.
Our department is committed to making sure that all the research we are 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 (OCAP) of research findings, results, data and information. We also recognize that we have an important role in promoting this First Nations approach to research among our outside partners and collaborators.
In order to ensure research is relevant, meaningful and beneficial to First Nations, we are building collaborations with external researchers, funders, health authorities and academic institutions. We are 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, and the absence of health, and often causes an unbalanced view of health for First Nations communities. Our department 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 reporting of health outcomes for First Nations in BC. This model will be built from the ground up and will be guided by the 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 First Nations in BC.
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. Our department is working to collect past and present knowledge generated by First Nations–focused research and engagement with the intention of sharing this information to advance First Nations health services.
FNHA Research and Knowledge Exchange