Edition: Winter 2012
Overview of the Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch
The Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch:
- applies an “Aboriginal lens” to health policy development and program implementation for the Ministry of Health (MoH);
- helps implement government’s key strategic directions for Aboriginal health;
- provides guidance and support on Aboriginal health issues to other ministries;
- collaborates with key Aboriginal stakeholders and political organizations; and
- works with health authorities to integrate Aboriginal interests into their services.
First Nations Health Governance Update
When the British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance (the Framework Agreement) was signed in October 2011, between the First Nations Health Society, Health Canada, and the Ministry of Health, it committed the three signatories to the transfer of federal health programs and services currently provided by Health Canada First Nations and Inuit Health to the First Nations Health Authority. Read more
Health Actions Updates
The Ministry of Health is working with our Tripartite partners and First Nations and Aboriginal partner organizations toward achievement of the commitments set out in the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan. The following updates highlight some of our current areas of focus:
- Health Human Resources Strategy
- Primary Care and Public Health Strategy
- Mental Wellness and Substance Use Strategy
- Maternal Child Health Strategy
- Health Knowledge and Information Strategy
Aboriginal Youth Internship Completion Ceremony
Monique, Tara, and I attended the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP) Completion Ceremony on the evening of November 8, 2012. The Ceremony began with the Year Five interns being drummed in by Auggie Thomas, Esquimalt Community Representative. Following this, Priscilla-Sabas Watts, former Vice President of the Nuuchanulth Tribal Council and past AYIP staff member, was the emcee for the evening. Read more
The Aboriginal Doula Support Practices on Pregnancy and Sexual Abuse
By Monique Auger, Aboriginal Youth Intern
In addressing the need for improved maternal health services for Aboriginal women, as identified in the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan, the Tripartite Aboriginal Doula Initiative Team was formed to oversee the implementation of doula services for Aboriginal women in BC. To date, a number of Aboriginal Doulas have been trained within the Interior and Vancouver Island Regional Health Authorities; many of these women have blended these learned skills with traditional teachings to provide culturally appropriate maternal care for women within their regions. However, in reflecting on their experiences through training, mentorships, and practice, many of the doulas have asked for more knowledge around best practices in working with women and families who have had experiences of sexual abuse. In response to this call, the Tripartite Aboriginal Doula Initiative Team, led by Lucy Barney of Perinatal Services BC, developed a two-day program to address best practices for Aboriginal Doulas in working with survivors of sexual abuse. Read more
Incorporating Physical Activity into Individual and Community Wellness Programs:
Experiencing the 2012 Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities Regional Conference
By Monique Auger, Aboriginal Youth Intern
The Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities (AHLA) consists of a multifaceted, community-centered health promotion initiative, which is administered by the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation, and Physical Activity Partners Council, and funded through the Aboriginal Health Living Branch at the Ministry of Health. The AHLA are introduced to communities through regional training workshops across the province. These sessions provide opportunities for community members to attend training in one of two streams: the Aboriginal Run/Walk Program or the Honour Your Health Challenge. Each of these options also provides opportunities for communities to apply for Minor Grants for Community-Based Health Living Projects, which will help to assist new health leaders in implementing their health promotion and physical activity programs.
An Honoring Ceremony for the Health Actions Strategy Leads and the Tripartite Management Team
On September 28, 2012, Elder Leonard George conducted a Blanket Ceremony in honour of the Health Actions Strategy Leads and Tripartite Management Team (TMT) members. Five staff members of the First Nations Health Authority, Jean Allbeury, Miranda Kelly, Wesley Paul, Joseph Mendez, and Janelle Tom, acted as Witnesses to the Ceremony. Read more
Minister's Message Box
On December 17, 2012, Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Chair of the First Nations Health Council, Grand Chief Doug Kelly, and I signed the Health Partnership Accord. The accord is a commitment to take action to work together towards a future where BC First Nations people and communities are among the healthiest in the world
This symbol of our collaborative commitment is a result of the incredible dedication and achievement of our partners, the First Nations Health Council, First Nations Health Authority, and Health Canada. It reflects upon our journey together to date, and affirms our commitment to an ongoing shared learning journey well into the future.
The transition of programs and services currently run and managed by Health Canada - First Nations and Inuit Health to the First Nations Health Authority is progressing rapidly. This work is being guided by the British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance. The enormity of the task has led to the decision for a phased transfer to the First Nations Health Authority which will occur over a three month period. The transfer will start on July 2, 2013 with programs and activities that are ready, while others will be transferred by October 1, 2013.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to these remarkable changes, from staff at the Ministry of Health to health authorities through to our federal and First Nations partners.
Happy holidays, and best wishes to all in 2013,
Ministry of Health
link to Minister’s site
A Message from our Executive Director
Being an import from Winter-peg, I am always grateful for winter in Victoria. Even though I miss the snow and bright sunshine, I do not miss the three week long cold snaps with -40 degree temperatures, or crazy winter road conditions that last until April. I know we get hints of those things here on Vancouver Island, but they are given more gently and for shorter periods.
I love that grass gets greener in winter and that I can still see grass at all in December! I can still hear bird songs in January and I don’t have to plug my car in at night so it will start in the morning, or scrape the ice and frost from the windows so I can see to drive. Somehow though, my internal body rhythms still respond to the relative darkness and coolness by wanting to curl up at home with a cup of tea and good book. Read more
Together in Wellness Highlights First Year of BC Tripartite Framework Agreement
In true tripartite fashion, the Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health developed an interim annual report, Together in Wellness, signifying the one-year anniversary of the signing of the BC Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance.
The Ministry of Health, as the secretariat in the development of the report, posted the full report on its website, after developing the report jointly with the First Nations Health Authority and Health Canada over the summertime. The report was developed as a commitment in the BC Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance to make public an annual report. Read more
Provincial Health Officer’s Special Report
On October 4, 2012, the Provincial Health Officer released The Health and Well-being of the Aboriginal Population Interim Report. This update was provided to fulfill the commitment in the Transformative Change Accord (2005) in which the Provincial Health Officer releases interim updates on the health and well-being of Aboriginal and First Nation peoples in BC every two years, in addition to more extensive reports released every five years. This report is a follow-up to the 2007 interim update and the 2009 release of Pathways to Health and Healing – 2nd Report on the Health and Well-being of Aboriginal People in British Columbia. The 2012 interim report provides updates on the seven performance indicators from the Transformative Change Accord: First Nations Health Plan (2006) – life expectancy at birth; mortality rates (deaths due to all causes); infant mortality rates; Status Indian youth suicide rates; practising, certified First Nation health care professionals; and childhood obesity.
Aboriginal Health Leads Meet in Prince Rupert
Aboriginal Health Leads from each of the Health Authorities congregated on October 15-16, 2012, in Prince Rupert, to discuss a variety of topics, including Indigenous Cultural Competency training, Aboriginal self-identification systems in the health sector, and recent Partnership Accords between health authorities and First Nations Regional Caucuses. Read more
Staff Feature: Winter Activities and Fond Memories
This winter, the staff at the Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch were asked to share their favourite holiday memories and tips for maintaining balance over the winter months.
Being from the prairies, my husband and I are not too bothered by the winter weather in BC, as we are accustomed to much colder temperatures and six months of snow. I do, however, miss the brightness of clear (and sometimes very cold) winter days.
It is important to stay active and to get out – we do Tai Chi and water fit classes, and walk our dog no matter what (not that the dog walks are about choice!). I would not turn down an opportunity to travel somewhere sunny and warm, though. Read more