How can you get involved with the Alberta NEAHR?

The Alberta NEAHR conducts ‘responsive research.' This means that the health research issues are identified by community and that community is an active partner in the design, development, collection of data and analysis of the research. Every community is unique and this means that every community's research needs are unique. We are available to talk about your research needs and figure out together where to access the resources to help communities move their health research needs forward.


  • How do we make a research question?
  • Could you help us analyze this data?
  • Could you please provide feedback on our research proposal?
  • We know what our needs are but we just need some help to accomplish them.
  • We need some support to help train other communities about this kind of research.
  • We want a midwifery service in our community.

In response to these questions and concerns we work with the communities to seek funding, develop research proposals, create links with experts in the given area, develop a research question, and interested students to help communities through the research process, and to access literature that may be unavailable through normal community channels.

Aboriginal Mentoring Project

The Alberta ACADRE Network, Big Sisters and Big Brothers of Edmonton (BSBB), and Community-University Partnerships (U of A) partnered in conducting a preliminary investigation into the development of mentoring programs for Aboriginal children and youth. BSBB wanted suggestions about how such programs could be designed, structured, and supported so future programs would be meaningful to communities. The multidisciplinary research team included researchers from Human Ecology, Education and the Community-University Partnerships office as well as graduate and undergraduate students. The findings of this research project informed the development of four pilot projects in partnership with Alberta Mentoring Partnership, BBBS of Edmonton, Alberta Children Services and four Aboriginal communities in Alberta. Each pilot program is as unique as the community that creates it and BSBB is sharing their pilot process and outcomes at the national level. This research has also led all provincial ministries to add mentoring for Aboriginal children to their business plans for 2004 -2005.

Completed 2003

How People Live with the Land: Cultural and Environmental Integrity in the Déline Dene Landscape

Our research relationship with the community of Deline began in October 2002 and has developed into a collaborative research program for the recovery and redeployment of Dene land-based knowledge as a ground for self-determination, environmental monitoring and community well-being. A collaborative and multidisciplinary research team is looking at the social, cultural and epistemological aspects of the Dene community's persisting relationship with the land in the context of industrial development, social and cultural change. The research bridges social and natural sciences through a program that addresses the Dene cultural experience in context of a modern community seeking to re-establish local control and capacity through institutional and educational development.

The research team is presently applying for Community University Research Alliance (CURA) funding to explore the challenges of characterizing and integrating multiple perspectives to inform social and economic processes. The objectives are to contribute to an understanding of environmental change within different knowledge traditions, the various and different values associated with the landscape, and the role of cultural process in shaping those today. The CURA proposal is a part of larger research movement within the community that originated with the Deline Uranium Team in 2001. The Deline research team has developed a monthly newsletter used to communicate research outcomes to the local community as well as to encourage uptake of the model they have developed in other communities who are preparing for research initiatives. The research partners have also participated in a number of national conferences in presenting their research process and vision.

Active since 2002

Improving Access to Health Care Services for Aboriginal Peoples

This research originates from a community workshop funded by the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health New Frontiers Program. In this community workshop, participants identified access to appropriate health services as a major concern for Aboriginals residing in urban, rural and inner city communities. A steering committee representative of Capital Health, Metis Nation of Alberta, Metis Settlements General Council and the surrounding Treaty areas, was formed to develop this community request into the access to health care services research initiative. We have completed three exploratory studies to investigate access to health care from the viewpoints of all three populations: urban, inner city and rural. A significant finding from these studies is the need to further develop culturally comprehensive care to respond to the access needs of Aboriginal people. This includes improving the relation between Aboriginal individuals and health professionals, and the incorporation of traditional medicine and liaison workers into mainstream services. The research team and participants are focusing now on the sustainability of the project which involves creating an intercultural space where teaching, learning and knowledge exchange regarding access to health care services and the development of respectful treatment partnerships from the perspectives of those affected and those who form the health care system can take place.

The objectives of the coming year will be to disseminate and further investigate the elements that constitute appropriate access to health care services from both perspectives; to explore potential avenues to develop and enhance the formation of treatment partnerships with Aboriginal individuals and health care professionals; to envision a flexible structure to ensure better access to health care services for Aboriginal individuals; and to conceptualize in partnership with Aboriginal communities future research directions in the area of health services utilization that promotes capacity building in Aboriginal peoples and health care professionals. The research plan will include comprehensive workshops to disseminate findings of exploratory projects, enhancing the research team, conducting a series of teaching encounters and focus groups with health care professionals and Aboriginal people to examine treatment partnerships, and to create a foundation within the health care system for health liaison workers to facilitate the provision of culturally competent care. The findings and process will also be shared at national conferences in the coming year.

Active since 2002

Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project

The Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project (KSDPP) received a seed grant from Alberta ACADRE Network to support research around their training program for community based diabetes prevention programs. KSDPP is a community based participatory research project whose goal is to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes among future generations through the promotion of healthy eating habits and increased daily physical activity among school children. The seed grant supported the curriculum development and evaluation of the KSDPP Training Program in Diabetes Prevention that successfully provides skills and knowledge to community health workers to enable them to establish diabetes prevention programs in their own Aboriginal communities.

Full community participation and the adaptability of the KSDPP model to the culture of the different communities are key aspects that have been included in the revision of the Training Program. The main outcome included a revised KSDPP Training Program in Diabetes Prevention curriculum as well as additional information on Training Program organizational needs in areas of human resource (trainers, office staff, photocopying (and other office costs), and promotion (advertisement, reporting). The revised KSDPP Training Program has been adapted to meet the needs of a specific Aboriginal community for training in the community in June 2004 and serves as a national example for community based research ethical codes, program development and diabetes prevention strategies.

ACADRE Funding Completed 2003

Network North: Communicating Research Capacity through Technology

The intensification of resource development in the Canadian North has had a cumulative effect on the health of Northern Aboriginal communities and loss of traditional lifestyles. A multidisciplinary research team (mining engineers, anthropologists, linguists, medicine, computing science, and community health sciences) is investigating the effects of resource development in collaboration with a number of northern communities to identify the relationship of industrial development to community well-being. Network North will develop a responsive, integrated model to address the sustainability of Northern health relating to development activities in Canada, a model that will also have international relevance.

The research concepts and questions are currently being developed by the communities through collaboration with a multidisciplinary research team and will be consolidated in a fall workshop to be held in the North. The research process promotes the capacity of communities to address challenges that they have identified as potential or actual health risks such as impacts of contaminants; food security and environmental impacts; impact of fly in/fly out employment patterns and increased wealth on families/communities.

Outcomes will include models for sustainable community health in relation to community identified research priorities; guidelines for industry and government policy relating to sustainable resource development; highly trained new investigators who have a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamic nature and complexity of Northern health and resource development; and the creation of a new network of stakeholders linking interdisciplinary northern and southern researchers with research partners from the communities, industry and government. With the involvement of industry and government as research partners we are able to influence direct changes in policy as well as foster a stronger working relationship between the local communities, industry and government.

Active since 2003

Smoking Habits of Treaty 8 Youth

In spring 2004, a survey of smoking habits was distributed by the Tobacco Strategy for Treaty 8 to over 200 students in attendance at a gathering of Alberta Treaty youth. The survey was commissioned by the First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy. The team leading this initiative approached Alberta ACADRE Network to help analyse the survey data. An undergraduate student completed the data analysis and a report was submitted to First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy. The analysis report and presentation materials were prepared collaboratively and were presented to the Alberta Regional Tobacco Advisory Circle in June 2004. The survey outcomes and analysis will inform Treaty 8 Chief and Council about youth smoking habits and will guide First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy in developing responsive prevention strategies for Treaty 8 youth.

Completed 2004

Traditional Knowledge and Ethics

This project grew from the national colloquium on ethics in November 2003. The current context of Aboriginal health research calls for constructive discussion between aboriginal communities and researchers regarding the ethical issues and implications when engaging in research with aboriginal communities or individuals. The project is making appropriate traditional teachings more accessible to Aboriginal health academics by integrating existing databases and the audiovisual data from the colloquium. The project is led by Elder Ed Borchert who is facilitating a provincial discussion of traditional and Western ethical principles, with a view to making both perspectives more mutually accessible. In concert with our Ethics and Elders Advisory Group recommendations will be made for addressing / closing the gaps in a common ethical approach for Tri-Council policy development. This project will guide the development of the Traditional Knowledge and Ethics research theme in the coming three years.

Active Since 2004

Women's Vision of Midwifery-led Maternity Services for Fort Smith

The community of Fort Smith, NWT is a unique community that is comprised of Smith Landing First Nations, Salt River First Nations, the Fort Smith Metis Council as well as a non-Aboriginal population. Fort Smith has been managing the issue of community based birthing for years yet most children are currently born in urban cities such as Edmonton or Yellowknife due to lack of local services. The absence of mothers from the family and the community weeks prior to the child's birth creates an emotional, social and fiscal strain that could be changed.

The ACADRE Network worked with Fort Smith through an evaluation visit to another successful community-based Aboriginal birthing program in Six Nations reserve, Ontario to evaluate their birthing program and to gain information to mold and strengthen their own local birthing services. They have formed a collaborative research team that includes Health and Social Services representatives, local midwives, mothers, fathers and students from the local college. The outcomes of the visit to Six Nations led to the development of a research project to gather women's vision of what midwifery means to them and to the community and how they wish to see midwifery-led maternity services offered in Fort Smith in the future. This research project has received seed funding from the Alberta ACADRE Network in March 2004 and is currently in the data collection phase.

(Active since 2003)