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Diabetes in Canada’s First Nations communities

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In Canada, significant disparities between the health status of Indigenous peoples and the general population exist, particularly for chronic diseases such as diabetes. It has been the aim of the Diabetes Research Team housed at Western University to work with Canada’s First Nations communities to develop new and innovative ways to change the current healthcare model in Indigenous communities with the overall goal of changing the trajectory of increasing diabetes rates. Over the last 30 years, Dr. Stewart Harris and his team have led over 30 grant-funded research projects that are all built on the principles of participatory action as their foundation. This work has defined the epidemiology of diabetes in Canada’s highest risk population and has led to numerous innovations, from electronic registries to strategies to facilitate the integration of community and clinical programs on-reserve that, too often, lack coordination. Through a five-year nationally funded program called FORGE AHEAD, Dr. Harris is working with Indigenous communities across the country to identify local health challenges and improve the delivery of chronic disease care. http://www.tndms.ca/forgeahead
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