According to Diabetes Canada, Indigenous people experience diabetes rates that are 3-5 times higher than the general population.
Through CIHR’s Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples’ Health initiative, Dr. Kurtz and an interdisciplinary team of researchers, health care providers, Indigenous community members/Elders/healers/youth at three BC Friendship Centres have been working to identify solutions to this significant health concern.
Together, they identified a number of measures, such as improving access to holistic health care; integrating traditional, land-based healing, ceremony, talking circles, and hunting/gathering; offering telehealth; introducing walking/exercise programs; and strengthening cultural safety and health education as action priorities for diabetes and obesity prevention and self management.
A Métis nurse educator and qualitative researcher, Dr. Kurtz is now pursuing a four-year Indigenous-led, community-driven, multi-site study with her team and six BC interior urban/rural Friendship and Métis Centres. Supported by CIHR, her team’s goal is to bring together traditional and Western knowledge to shape activities and programs to improve diabetes and obesity wellness in Indigenous communities.
“Working together, this research will lead to culturally safe, equitable, strength-based health care practices, policies, and research that can be adopted by Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.”
– Dr. Kurtz