Climate as a Health Determinant in the Aklavik Region of the Northwest Territories

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: health, social sciences, wellness, climate change, socio-economics, food security, lifestyle

Principal Investigator: Chatwood, Susan (4)
Licence Number: 14487
Organization: Arctic Health Research Network
Licensed Year(s): 2009
Issued: Mar 17, 2009
Project Team: Community Members (TBD, Aklavik Health Committee), Students and Staff (TBD, Moose Kerr School)

Objective(s): The main objectives of this research are to 1) describe climate change as a determinant of health and highlight the specific relevance to our northern regions; 2) describe the current climate changes evident globally, nationally, in circumpolar regions and in the community of Aklavik; 3) describe a health determinant and how they are related to wellness and disease, (i.e. socio economic determinants, lifestyle and environment); 4) begin to link climate change observations to health determinants and describe the impacts or possible health outcomes (i.e. ice road stability and economics, shifting animal migrations and food security, etc.).

Project Description: This licence is being issued for the scientific research application No.1060.

The main objectives of this research are to 1) describe climate change as a determinant of health and highlight the specific relevance to our northern regions; 2) describe the current climate changes evident globally, nationally, in circumpolar regions and in the community of Aklavik; 3) describe a health determinant and how they are related to wellness and disease, (i.e. socio economic determinants, lifestyle and environment); 4) begin to link climate change observations to health determinants and describe the impacts or possible health outcomes (i.e. ice road stability and economics, shifting animal migrations and food security, etc.)

The research will be integrated within the current curriculum at the Moose Kerr School. The project will be composed of three main sections: 1) the collection of the information related to climate change and health determinants; 2) the synthesis of this information with video methodologies and 3) the dissemination of the project.

The students will collect information on climate change and health impacts through live interviews with key stakeholders in the community. Interviews will be held with the key stakeholders in the community. The youth will develop the questionnaire based on the background work on climate change and health. There will be a retreat/gathering at a traditional site on-the-land to provide an open opportunity for discussion regarding environmental changes and to conduct interviews. The video information gathered on climate change and health determinants will then be synthesized and be edited and produced in a short video.

The on-the-land experience will involve the youth at a winter bush camp gathering for four days to interview and have discussions with Elders around environmental changes and their relationship to health. The students will also be involved in planning the trip, setting up the camp site and assist in preparing traditional foods for meals, gathering firewood and maintaining the camp.

Findings will be shared with the research community via conference presentations and publications in public health or circumpolar journals.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted in Aklavik from March 16 to April 30, 2009.