Indigenous Health Network
The HNHB LHIN Indigenous Health Network (IHN) is made up of Indigenous health and social service providers across Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, Brant, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Six Nations of the Grand River. Together with the LHIN, the Indigenous Health Network seeks to address the health needs and issues of local Indigenous communities.
Through the formation of the IHN, many health service providers and Indigenous organizations have developed stronger partnerships with each other and the LHIN. Collectively, the IHN strengthens the voice of Indigenous communities and provides essential advice and direction on local health care priorities, planning and service delivery.
The IHN’s connection and engagement with local Indigenous community members across the LHIN brings forward diverse perspectives and experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples living both on and off-reserve, and in urban/rural settings.
The purpose of the IHN is to create a forum that will harmonize the efforts of First Nations, Métis and urban Indigenous health and social service providers toward creating a health system that:
- Meets the wholistic health needs of Indigenous Peoples across the region from an Indigenous perspective.
- Integrates traditional Indigenous knowledge and healing systems for healthy people and healthy communities.
- Commits to input from Indigenous communities regarding present and future programs and services.
- Improves the capacity of a broad range of stakeholders to contribute to improved health outcomes of Indigenous Peoples.
- Through designated staff leads, liaises with the HNHB LHIN Board to ensure decisions are positively impacting Indigenous Peoples’ health status and access to services.
In April 2015, the IHN developed its 2015-2018 Strategic Plan based on the health needs of local communities and the health-specific recommendations identified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Final Report and Calls to Action. The five key priorities identified were:
Indigenous Cultural Competency
Access to Traditional Healing
Strengthening the Family Unit
Mental Health & Addictions and Suicide Prevention; and
Chronic Disease Management & Prevention
To support these priorities, the IHN engaged in a variety of activities from 2016-19 including:
In partnership with Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle (formerly SOADI) and other IHN organizations, De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre (DAHC) led the development of a plan to broaden access to mental health services, patient navigation, primary care, and traditional healing in Niagara. Support for a Niagara-based adult mental health case manager and the enhancement and coordination of an outreach program model in Niagara was approved by the LHIN Board in December 2016.
In November 2016 and March 2017, the IHN hosted two community engagement gatherings in Niagara and Brantford respectively, attended by approximately 220 individuals. These gatherings brought together Indigenous community members, Indigenous health and social service providers, and mainstream health care organizations to learn, share, and discuss current experiences, barriers, and opportunities to improve health care for Indigenous communities. Feedback from these two engagements included recommendations in the areas of cultural safety, Traditional medicine, mental health and addictions, diabetes, home and community care, and end-of-life (EOL) care.
To support the effective implementation of the Health Links model across the HNHB LHIN, Indigenous organizations including DAHC, Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle (formerly SOADI), and three Friendship Centres were engaged and identified as care partners involved in developing coordinated care plans for Indigenous community members who would benefit from this approach to care.
In February 2019, the IHN hosted a community engagement event in Hamilton, attended by approximately 47 individuals. This gathering brought together IHN members and mainstream healthcare providers who had already completed online Indigenous Cultural Safety Training. The intent of the gathering was to evaluate the benefits of the online Indigenous Cultural Safety training program and offer additional information and training to further their personal and professional development towards cultural safety and reconciliation. Feedback from the event confirmed the value of the online Indigenous Cultural Safety training and the need for more in-person education sessions and workshops for mainstream healthcare providers.
For more information, read the LHIN’s most recent reports, including its Annual Business Plan and Annual Report.
Community Engagement Reports
Resource - Indigenous Health Network's Indigenous Allyship Toolkit
Indigenous Cultural Safety Community Engagement Report - February 2019
Indigenous Health Network Report - Fall 2018
Sharing Palliative Care Journeys - A Perspective of Indigenous Families and Communities - November 2017
Indigenous Health Network Report - Fall 2017
Aboriginal Patient Navigation Service Coordination Report - March 2016
Traditional Medicine in Today's Health System, December 5, 2014
Summary of Recommendations for Improving the Indigenous Patient Experience - March 2013
- Membership list - The IHN actively encourages youth participation. The IHN has two membership spots available for Indigenous youth. If you are interested in joining the IHN or would like to learn more, please contact Kelly Cimek, Director, Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 905.523.0886 ext.4249.
- Terms of Reference
- If you would like to request an opportunity to engage with the Indigenous Health Network (IHN), please complete the IHN Guest Request form. Completed request forms can be sent to email@example.com.