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Many First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Ottawa face significant health challenges.  Through conversations over a period of time among leaders of Indigenous services and Ottawa health organizations, notably between Allison Fisher of Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and Dr. Vera Etches of Ottawa Public Health, the idea for an urban Indigenous Health Alliance for Ottawa arose.  Several Indigenous health service organizations and Ottawa-based hospitals and health agencies were interested in seeing what more can be done through a joint strategy that unites people from across organizations to make a difference for Indigenous health at the system level.    


In 2016 a Needs Assessment was done which identified some of the key elements of an Indigenous Model of Care:


  • A focus on prevention and promotion (requires a realignment in the system).

  • The community member is the lead in how they address their health concerns and we strengthen their will to stay healthy and in balance in their life. They “own” their care plan.

  • We practice informed choice instead of making decisions for others.

  • We recognize that community members are dealing with multiple issues at the same time and so we would use a wholistic model that simultaneously considers the four directions of health: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.

  •  There are multiple people supporting the community member.

  • There are collaborative relationships between health institutions and community services as the community member is supported in their life journey (health services, community services, managing of conditions, exercise, diet, mental health factors)

  • A recognition that people maintain their own health when they have a strong sense of healthy identity and a sense of belonging to the community so that they can access services and programs they need. If a person experiences shame they are not motivated to access any services.

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