Interior Health’s Aboriginal Health program has awarded 16 educational grants to Aboriginal not-for-profit organizations and governments across the region to enhance the public health skill sets of aboriginal residents. Simpcw First Nation will be a recipient.
“Across the province the health status of Aboriginal people is improving but we still have a long way go,” said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Mary Polak. “By working with Aboriginal stakeholders, and addressing their needs, we are ensuring care is being delivered in a culturally appropriate manner.”
“The goal of the IH Aboriginal Health Team is to work collaboratively with Aboriginal organizations and governments to improve the health of Aboriginal people within the region and I am pleased to see $200,000 in funding allocated to this important initiative,” said IH Board Chair Norman Embree.
Priority was given to grant applications that would have a broad impact on the public health of Aboriginal populations; training programs are expected to: have previously proven beneficial outcomes have the support of, or be recognized by, public health officials take a partnership approach and foster relationships with other Aboriginal organizations.
The educational grants, which each total no more than $20,000, will be used for a variety of programs including palliative care certificates, mental health first aid, suicide prevention training and substance abuse certification through the Justice Institute of B.C.
“By increasing capacity through educational opportunities the whole community benefits,” said Bradley Anderson, IH Aboriginal Health Acting Program Director. “Interior Health wanted this to be a grass roots initiative and asked applicants to tell us why they needed to build capacity in their community and how best that could be accomplished.”
There are 44,900 Aboriginal people living within the Interior Health region, representing 6.3 per cent of the population, which includes 55 First Nation communities and 16,200 Métis people.