A workshop on Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health Risks in Canada’s Aboriginal Population was held at the Telus Centre, University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, on February 12-13, 2002. A follow-up meeting was held on March 7. The workshop was organized by the University of Alberta’s recently established ACADRE Network for Aboriginal health research training and funded by the New Frontiers Program of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The invited participants included community members, Elders, health care providers and researchers. Their common purpose was to develop an agenda for healing, that is for restoring, cardiovascular and respiratory health in Aboriginal communities.
n May, 2001, before the Alberta ACADRE Network existed, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation offered funding for workshops on cardiovascular and respiratory health in Canada. We wanted to bring together a group of people to talk about cardiovascular and respiratory health risks in Aboriginal peoples. A working group was established
in the Faculty of Medicine and Brenda Cameron, from the Faculty of Nursing, and a couple of students were invited to join us. We had an Aboriginal medical student and one of Korean descent. They were both very interested in the topic of smoking in youth and thought they could contribute something. With only a few weeks to develop the grant proposal and submit it, we started to work up the ideas on a workshop on cardiovascular and respiratory health in Aboriginal people. A lot of the ideas came from Gustavo Zayas, who comes from El Salvador. He had some valuable experience with Community Participatory Research. So he brought a lot of the key original ideas in it to give people an overview of the topic from experts in the field. Gustavo used the metaphor of the tree with its roots, its branches, its trunk, its leaves to represent four levels of applicability: systemic, community, family, individual, plus the idea that all levels — the whole tree — might be affected. The workshop was an introduction to Participatory Action Research.
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