Grant To Improve Access To Primary Health Care In Aboriginal Communities

Submitted. – Fraser Health is pleased to be the recipient of a $10K grant from the Vancouver Foundation to support a project aimed at improving access to primary health care in Aboriginal communities across the Fraser Health region. This development grant will be used to support the advancement of a community-based research study that examines the barriers and facilitators to accessing primary health care for Aboriginal communities in the Fraser Health region.

This project will build upon work initiated in 2011 by Fraser Health, Stó:lô Nation, the First Nations Health Authority, and Simon Fraser University, in which Aboriginal communities in the Fraser Health region identified cost, geography and cultural safety as some of the significant barriers facing their communities in accessing basic primary health care services. This newest grant from the Vancouver Foundation will focus on translating the results of the 2011 work into policy reform aimed at eliminating the barriers facing Aboriginal communities in accessing basic primary care.

In the first phase of this work, Fraser Health will invite select individuals from First Nations communities to join the research team, and will focus on further developing partnerships in the community. Following this, the research team will review the literature collected in the 2011 CIHR project, finalize the research questions and write the grant proposal to procure additional support for further phases of this work.

This project complements Fraser Health’s ongoing commitment to improving access to primary health care to Aboriginal communities. In September 2013, the Kla-How-Eya Healing Place in Surrey opened its doors to welcome the urban Aboriginal community into their new location. The Kla-How-Eya Healing Place provides culturally safe and holistic primary health care services for urban Aboriginal clients without a regular family doctor or nurse practitioner.

The clinic offers a nurse practitioner and a newly hired physician who work collaboratively with other health professionals to meet the primary health care needs of Aboriginal people who are not currently accessing mainstream general practitioners. Nurse practitioners are trained to assess, diagnose and treat the health needs of babies, children, adults and elders, and have a specific Master’s degree and licensing.

“Fraser Health is committed to supporting the health outcomes of the Aboriginal people living in our communities and reserves. This grant from the Vancouver Foundation will help us continue this important work by improving access to culturally-appropriate services, and strengthening our partnerships with Aboriginal communities.”
Colleen Hart, Vice President Clinical Operations & Professional Practice, Fraser Health

“Primary care has been identified by the Fraser Salish leadership as a priority. The First Nations Health Authority is pleased to partner with Fraser Health and to build upon projects like Kla-How-Eya, which support patient centred and culturally safe primary care. Working directly with communities and our partners we will identify and continue to eliminate barriers to First Nations primary care services.

Richard Jock, First Nations Health Authority Vice President Policy, Planning and Strategic Services


About Fraser Health
Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health services to the largest and fastest growing population in B.C. The health authority is committed to improving the health of the population and the quality of life of more than 1.7 million people living in communities from Burnaby to Hope.

About the First Nations Health Authority

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is the first province-wide health authority of its kind in Canada. In 2013, the FNHA assumed the programs, services, and responsibilities formerly handled by Health Canada’s First Nations Inuit Health Branch – Pacific Region. Our vision is to transform the health and well-being of BC’s First Nations and Aboriginal people by dramatically changing healthcare for the better.

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