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Indigenous Health and Educating for Equity

History of Indigenous peoples in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada

Despite Australia, New Zealand, and Canada being geography distant from each other they have several historical and current similarities.  One historical factor is that all three countries have a history of European colonization where the story of colonization for the Indigenous peoples is a story of suppression, exploitation, and inequality and to this day this is still reflected in the poor health outcomes for Indigenous peoples from all three of these countries.

Indigenous people in Canada, Australia and New Zealand experience a greater burden of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and mental illness than non-Indigenous people.  In Australia, the difference between Indigenous and non- Indigenous life expectancy is up to 17 years, in Canada the gap is 11 years, and in New Zealand there is an eight year gap. One of the major contributors to the high burden of chronic disease among Indigenous populations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand is poor access to and quality of health care.

The Educating for Equity program is about addressing the health inequalities and comparing, building and sharing experiences and approaches to Indigenous health teaching and learning in the area of chronic disease. It begins by describing existing educational approaches and the contexts in which the study is being undertaken. Indigenous health curriculum developers will be interviewed to identify the specific approaches used and the reasons underlying their use. We will conduct focus groups with learners, educators, patients and other stakeholders to study the impact of different educational approaches. This will result in development of an Indigenous chronic disease education ‘toolkit’ and methods to evaluate the effectiveness of Indigenous health education. A major focus of the project will be on ensuring that the lessons from the project are translated into practice. The research will make a substantial and enduring contribution to improving the quality of health care for Indigenous people with chronic disease and thus health outcomes.

Click on the following links for more information about E4E including:

E4E Objectives