Building Healthy Mi'kmaq Communities in Prince Edward Island

— Vianne Timmons

Timeline: February 2002 - July 2004 (Completed)
Funding Amount: $149,475.00

What is this research Project about?

This research Project will interview Mi'kmaq children in the Lennox Island and Abegweit communities on Prince Edward Island to learn about the children's perceptions of health and the determinants of their health, the children's and parents' perceptions about the specific health and education needs of the children and the children's health behaviours. The research will support efforts in both communities to learn more about their health and build healthier communities.

How will this research be done?

The research will include qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative data will be collected through interviews and in-depth case studies. Quantitative data will come from self-reports about current health behaviours. There are approximately 225 children and youth aged 18 and under in the two communities. The researchers hope to interview each child aged 5-18 years, along with one primary care giver per child. They also hope to interview the primary care giver of each child under 5 years of age, all pregnant mothers and some key informants in both communities. Children will have the option of being interviewed alone or with another child. The research process and specific interview questions are being developed with key health and education representatives in the communities. Other community members will be involved in planning and conducting interviews and participating in the analysis and interpretation of the results. They will also be involved in sharing the results with the community as part of an ongoing dialogue, to inform community-driven interventions.

Why is this research important?

Reliable and current health information is necessary for policy development and program planning. Aboriginal people on Prince Edward Island have not been represented adequately, or at all, in health surveys of Aboriginal people in Canada. This research will provide community-level data that accurately reflects the health needs of these two Mi'kmaq communities. The involvement of the Mi'kmaq community members in this research should provide relevant and useful recommendations for future interventions that will be directed and owned by members of the communities. This approach will support and enhance a change process, already occurring in the Mi'kmaq communities on Prince Edward Island, which leads to partnerships, community ownership of health issues and improved health for these communities. The information gathered will also be of interest to the 28 small Aboriginal communities throughout Atlantic Canada.

Vianne Timmons
Vice President's Office
University of Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown, P.E.I.