Indigenous Community Mobilization within the Context of COVID-19: Taking Action Together

Lévesque, Lucie | $314,376

Ontario Queen's University 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

Influenced by evidence-based public health guidelines and recommendations, COVID‑19 responses within First Nations communities, where many residents are especially vulnerable to health threats, have been unique. The process of mobilization to keep communities healthy was already underway pre-pandemic, but the pandemic shifted priorities and ways to respond. Communities have turned inwards and enforced strong prevention measures, such as complete community lockdowns and border checkpoints. Interactions with outside health systems have led to some highly publicized incidents of racism. This is a timely opportunity to study Indigenous community mobilization for health in a way that explicitly accounts for Canada’s colonial history. This research topic was developed from community interests and concerns. We will use a community engaged approach to research in which community decision making and research involvement are prioritized. Specifically, this project will address the research questions: What are the drivers and impacts related to community mobilization in the context of COVID-19? How can community mobilization for an emergency pandemic response be leveraged to address the long term wholistic health consequences of the pandemic? How has systemic racism, access to care and confidence in science impacted communities’ mobilization response to COVID-19? Methods will include document review, Grounded Theory, modified Talking Circles, and In-depth Interviews and will be guided by the social-ecological model and Historical Trauma Theory. Findings from this research will inform the creation or adjustment of ongoing COVID‑19 responses and identify levers to supporting trust in public health/science within First Nations communities.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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