Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health and Social Services continues to be committed to improving the health and the lives of Northerners.
To achieve this goal, Health and Social Services, along with the Tłįchǫ Government and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, submitted a proposal to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to establish a Strategy for Patient Oriented Research SUPPORT unit in the NWT.
In February 2016, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research approved funding over five years to the Tłįchǫ Government to establish this unit. This funding is made available under Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s strategy for patient-oriented research.
While similar units have been established in all provinces, this is the first territorial unit. It is unique in Canada due to its shared governance structure and its focus on indigenous health research.
The goal of the Strategic Patient-Oriented Research SUPPORT Unit is to support health research that is relevant to improving health outcomes and leads to innovation in the health system in Canada, responsive to the needs of patients, communities and governments, creating a culturally competent health system.
The unit is housed within the Tłįchǫ Government, but staff will be embedded in other Indigenous government offices across the NWT. The unit has a facilitation role to bring together stakeholders and provide a platform to support researchers in the NWT.
It will accomplish its goals by identifying local research priorities and then identifying researchers that can help address those priorities.
It will provide a critical mass of methodological expertise to support this research through partnerships and affiliations and will support the training of new researchers, building capacity in the NWT.
It will also support the application of research findings through knowledge translation activities.
Today the governing council of this Unit hosts its first gathering of Indigenous, community and regional caregivers, Elders and health professionals in Dettah.
This gathering of the Hotii ts’eeda which means “working together for good health” will provide an opportunity to share best practices in Indigenous health research methodologies and to set priorities for the first year of operations.
Mr. Speaker, Aboriginal governments are important partners with the GNWT and we continue to work with them to foster our government-to-government relationship and provide better services and supports to their people. Through our sponsorship of this innovative initiative, the Department of Health and Social Services hopes to promote greater understanding and improved health outcomes of NWT residents.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.