Knowledge Exchange as a Vehicle to Improve the Health of Aboriginal Communities



En Excerpt



Some communities in Canada, including Aboriginal communities, experience disproportionately poorer health outcomes, potentially reflecting a failure to effectively translate knowledge into action in these communities (Health Canada, 2006, Smylie, 2001, MacMillan et al., 1996). Chronic disease, post neonatal mortality, accidental death, and mental health illness are more prevalent in Aboriginal reserve communities than in other Canadian communities (Health Canada, 2003, Smylie, 2001, Smylie et al., 2003). For instance, in 1999 the suicide rate of Aboriginal people living on reserve was more than twice that of the general Canadian population. As well, Aboriginal people on reserve, including children and youth, are up to three times more likely to have diabetes than non-Aboriginal Canadians (Health Canada, 2003). Such figures are of concern to organizations that seek to improve the health and well-being of all children, families, and communities in Canada. While there are effective interventions for some of the health conditions prevalent in Aboriginal communities, current initiatives have yet to achieve comparable health outcomes for Aboriginal communities (Smylie et al., 2003). Furthermore, these health disparities exist despite increased health care expenditures (Smylie et al. 2003). This suggests that research evidence and financial resources alone are not sufficient to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal communities. Ensuring existing knowledge informs the development and implementation of policies, programs, research, and community action to improve the health and well-being of communities is an emerging area of interest to community providers, health care, and research funding organizations.

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