Healing indicators: Developing community-based Indigenous health assessment

Healing Indicators is a project that aims to improve health policy and assessment processes by creating tools that centre communities and Indigenous knowledge. The work is in response to the need to better assess the health impacts of resource development in Indigenous communities. This project is in partnership with the British Columbia First Nations Health Authority and Simon Fraser University, and is deeply committed to engaging in Indigenous methodologies, land-based health and healing, and health justice. It features an approach that strives to decolonize public health: the research approach is integrated, connecting land-based perspectives on health and wellness, and cultural foundations into population health reporting.

The question this research asks, is “What principles and processes are needed to create and develop indicators relevant to First Nations in relation to resource development and related policy?” Research will help support Indigenous health assessments through the collaborative creation of land-based healing indicators, that prioritize Indigenous perspectives and needs through community-based research. A goal of this work is to undertake culturally safe research in an applied health sciences context.

Healing Indicators: Research in Indigenous health impact assessment and self-determination

This Health System Impact Fellowship is co-funded by CIHR, MSFHR, and First Nations Health Authority (health system partner), to help build BC’s health policy research capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making.

Healing Indicators is a research project that aims to improve health assessment policy. It addresses the need to create tools that centre communities and Indigenous knowledge in the assessment of the health impacts of resource development. The project is grounded in community-based Indigenous methods, with the purpose of developing land-based wellness indicators. The work draws on self-determination, culture, kinship, community, and land to inform and define health and wellness in a First Nations context. As a research program, Healing Indicators is committed to engaging land-based healing and health justice and features a decolonial ‘two-eyed seeing’ approach, with one eye informed by Indigenous ways of knowing, and the other western science. Progressing land-based indicator research is important within the context of the First Nations Health Authority’s “Public Health and Wellness Agenda.” Land-based health indicator development requires emergent community-based methods and design that is inclusive of leadership from Indigenous peoples. The impact of this collaboration is the promotion of critical Indigenous health research, with opportunities to expand on policy gaps in relation to land-based wellness and Indigenous health assessment. Asset-based work, such as this, is relevant within the context of provincially acknowledged widespread racism within the health care system in British Columbia. This work is also significant to the provincial commitment to implement the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIPA 2019). Healing Indicators is a collaborative research project designed to promote community-led health through land-based indicator development to inform self-determination and wellness in collaboration with the First Nations Health Authority.

Source: CIHR Funding Decisions Database

Cultural safety in knowledge exchange: Supporting dissemination activities for the FNHA Guest Edition of the International Journal of Indigenous Health


  • Katie Bauder

Team members: 

  • Alexa Norton
  • Namaste Marsden
  • Kate Jongbloed
  • Riley Bizzotto
  • Jennifer Murray

In 2019, the FNHA partnered with the International Journal of Indigenous Health to release a special Guest Edition titled "Health Systems Innovation: Privileging Indigenous Knowledge, Ensuring Respectful Care, and Ending Racism towards First Nations in Service Delivery.” This proposal describes a series of knowledge translation (KT) activities that will bring wider awareness to the edition and will result in a timely and relevant KT tool. Through a Virtual Launch of the FNHA Guest Edition, we will showcase the range of submissions by Indigenous researchers and allied collaborators and engage in dialogue about how to best translate this information so that it is relevant and useful for Indigenous people and communities. Armed with insight about how to best translate and disseminate the FNHA Guest Edition, we will collaborate with Indigenous creatives (for example artists, filmmakers or digital storytellers) to develop and disseminate a KT tool for building capacity in community. By engaging in community-defined KT, we help to ensure that the findings and knowledge assembled within the Guest Edition are appropriately translated and will be of value to Indigenous people and communities.