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Source: University of Regina

Researchers partner with aboriginal communities to address health professional shortage

October 26, 2006

A research initiative led by the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan is joining forces with the aboriginal community and health agencies to find ways to put more aboriginal doctors and nurses into Saskatchewan communities.

With an investment of more than $295,000 over four years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the researchers will address aboriginal health issues by creating strategies and models that allow communities to build human resources capacity.

"We know that the availability of nurses and physicians has a large impact on the health of a population," says Eber Hampton, professor and executive-in-residence in the U of R Faculty of Business Administration. "We also know the health of aboriginal populations is below the standard of the rest of the Saskatchewan community. We believe that by working closely with aboriginal communities and other agencies we can develop strategies to build a representative, aboriginal health care work force, capable of serving those communities in a culturally appropriate way."

Pammla Petrucka, assistant professor in the U of S College of Nursing, is co-principal investigator leading the project with Hampton. Other academic team members include Marlene Smadu and Sandra Bassendowski from the U of S College of Nursing Regina site, and Ron Camp from the U of R Faculty of Business Administration.

Community partners include the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA), which includes the Prince Albert Grand Council, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation - between them representing more than 30 northern communities. The Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations and Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Branch are also collaborating partners.

"Our research is unique in that it works closely with NITHA at all stages," Petrucka says. "It is this approach that is most likely to provide culturally appropriate and meaningful results that may help our community and other aboriginal groups address the significant need for aboriginal health providers."

Both Petrucka and Hampton are researchers with the Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre (IPHRC), a joint initiative of the First Nations University of Canada, the U of R, and the U of S. The research team has extensive background in northern communities and aboriginal organizations. It includes experts in nursing and training of nurses, health care management and human resources management. Their work will address issues in aboriginal health human resources planning; community-based research; aboriginal career development; local health systems capacity; and building a representative workforce.

For more information, contact Eber Hampton at
(306) 585-4712 or Pammla Petrucka at (306) 535-9597.




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