Background and Context:
Cancer rates are rising for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, recognized under the Canadian constitution as First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP) is a model for accelerating access to and uptake of evidence-informed cancer prevention practices and policies for Canadians including those bearing an excess burden of disease. CLASP projects focus on risk factors such as physical activity, nutrition, and commercial tobacco misuse.
CLASP aims to engage Indigenous populations who are not frequently applicants in major request for proposal (RFP) processes as well as to work with and for Indigenous Peoples to ensure all programming and evaluation follows ethical protocols, and is conducted in a contextually appropriate and culturally safe way.
Indigenous Peoples were engaged through purposeful outreach via webinars, teleconferences, and participation in face-to-face events. RFP evaluation criteria (with points allocated to proposals including populations bearing excess burden of cancer) encouraged the submission of proposals involving Indigenous Peoples.
Representatives from Indigenous communities and organizations accounted for 13% of all participants at pre-RFP events. In response to the most recent RFP, 71% of submitted proposals included Indigenous partners and focus. Selected through an external peer-review process, since 2009, eight of twelve funded CLASP projects have included Indigenous communities and organizations.
Outcomes/What was learned
Partnerships with Indigenous Peoples are critical to addressing cancer prevention. Proactive and early engagement, relationship and capacity building are important pre-cursors to issuing a RFP if involvement of these groups is desired. Ongoing participation in program processes (such as evaluation activities) to ensure ethical protocols are respected and integrated is essential. Further, multi-disciplinary project teams including Indigenous Peoples enhance the likelihood of sustaining the impact of work by building capacity and broadening the reach of prevention activities.