Dr. Amy Wright awarded CIHR grant for project that aims to improve provision of health services for Indigenous infants & families

21 May 2019

Dr. Amy Wright has been awarded a planning and dissemination grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for her knowledge dissemination project Promoting culturally safe delivery of health services for Indigenous mothers and their infants.

Access to health care services is an important way to promote health and wellbeing, mitigate the harmful impacts of social inequity, and combat morbidity and mortality. Indigenous people in Canada experience inequitable access to health care, citing barriers such as experiences of racism and discrimination, and a lack of respect for traditional medicines and ceremonies. Promoting equitable access to health care is imperative to optimizing the health and wellbeing of Indigenous mothers and infants.

Dr. Wright’s CIHR-funded project will involve the creation of three videos to be viewed online by clinicians and trainees in Canada with the hope that the content will stimulate transformative change in attitudes, beliefs and health care delivery for Indigenous mothers and infants. The video series content will be generated from Dr. Wright’s PhD research which demonstrated the critical need for culturally safe and trauma and violence-informed approaches to health care with Indigenous infants and their families. Building trusting relationships, providing holistic care (including meeting cultural and spiritual health needs) and using trauma and violence-informed approaches to child protection issues were extremely important ways that health providers could promote equitable and safe health care for Indigenous mothers and families.

This community-based project is a collaborative initiative with the Friendship Center, Indigenous mothers and health providers in Hamilton, and will provide an opportunity for community members to engage with each other, facilitate the building of trusting relationships, and give voice to Indigenous mothers who are often silenced by Western-dominating discourses in healthcare. This project aims to inform health providers of how to improve the provision of health services for Indigenous infants and their families in Hamilton, with the ultimate goal of positively impacting the health and wellness of these families.