Background and Context:Canada’s Indigenous people experience an increasing burden of cancer and chronic diseases (1,2,3). Awareness of risk factors and prevention interventions remains low within this sub-population. Lack of culturally relevant educational materials and capacity at the community level further contributes to this knowledge gap (4)
Aim:To strengthen collaborative partnerships in the development of a cancer and chronic disease prevention curriculum for First Nations youth.To meet the needs of First Nations communities by ensuring the program approach, content and supporting materials contain culturally appropriate and consistent prevention messaging.
Strategy/Tactics:Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations led a partnership of diverse stakeholders, across two provinces (Manitoba and Saskatchewan), including First Nations leaders and youth, federal and provincial governments, cancer and chronic disease agencies, and post-secondary institutions. Diverse organizational policies and protocols across jurisdictions were respected and adapted to develop and implement a train-the-trainer curriculum to extend reach and support knowledge translation in communities.
Programme/Policy Process:Health Empowerment for You (HEY) is an innovative, culturally relevant, evidence-based cancer and chronic disease prevention curriculum developed with and for First Nations to address common and modifiable risk factors that integrates First Nations perspectives, history, and culture with primary prevention strategies to promote healthy living.
Outcomes/What was learned:164 individuals received HEY training in Saskatchewan and Manitoba; 14 Saskatchewan communities have delivered community-based workshops, included about 900 children, teens, adults, and Elders.This partnership and First Nations owned health curriculum is unique to cancer and chronic disease prevention. HEY has strengthened partnerships and determined processes and ways of working together across provinces and jurisdictions that support health behavior change at the community level.An evaluation indicated that train-the-trainer sessions were positive, useful, and information was applicable within First Nations communities. Self-reported data showed behavioral changes in respondents.Physical activity levels and efforts to eat healthy increased and substance use decreased after the training.