Brightening Our Home Fire: Women and Wellness Project Program Report

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: health, social sciences, wellness, anthropology, women's health, pregnancy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Principal Investigator: Badry, Dorothy E (1)
Licence Number: 14969
Organization: CanNorthwest FASD Research Network Action Team on Women's Health
Licensed Year(s): 2011
Issued: Sep 12, 2011
Project Team: Dr. Dorothy Badry (Co-principal Investigator, University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work & CanNorthwest FASD Research Network Action Team on Women's Health), Dr. Amy Salmon (Co-principal Investigator, CanNorthwest FASD Research Network Action Team on Women's Health), Arlene Hache (Research Team Member, CanNorthwest FASD Research Network Action Team on Women's Health), Sandra Lockhart (Research Team Member, CanNorthwest FASD Research Network Action Team on Women's Health), Marilyn Van Bibber (Consultant, CanNorthwest FASD Research NAT on women's health), Dr. Aileen Wight Felske (Consultant, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta), Dr. Christine Walsh (Consultant, University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work)

Objective(s): To develop and evaluate a culturally-based, trauma-informed, Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevention model, using a research process that is participatory, community-based, and decolonizing; and to ensure that this FASD prevention model involves and addresses the gender-specific needs of Dene women and men.

Project Description: This project is a starting place with hopes of developing a proposal for a multi-year, multi-site study to develop and evaluate a culturally-based, trauma-informed, Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevention model, using a research process that is participatory, community-based, and decolonizing.

The researchers wish to ensure that this FASD prevention model involves and addresses the gender-specific needs of Dene women and men living in an urban centre (Yellowknife), a regional centre that is self-governed (Behchoko), and a remote community (Lutsel K’e) and Ulukhaktok; and to identify a respectful process for ensuring that participating Dene and Inuit community members are involved in all stages of developing and evaluating this model through feedback- including decisions about the use of traditional knowledge and healing, sharing of information and dissemination of research results, future use of any model that is developed through this project (for research, service provision), etc.

This project was developed collaboratively amongst team members from the CanNorthwest Research Network including Arlene Hache (NWT), Sandra Lockhart (NWT), Amy Salmon (BC) and Dorothy Badry, (AB), Marilyn van Bibber, BC, and Aileen Wight Felske, AB. This group has been working together since 2007, have monthly meetings and face to face meetings twice yearly in Vancouver, BC.

Initial conversations with three communities have taken place in order to advise funding was received for this project and to respectfully inquire about potential interest and involvement with this project. No research data will be collected until the appropriate approvals including the licensing process in the NWT and submission and approval of an ethics proposal through the University of Calgary where co-principal investigator, Dorothy Badry works in the Faculty of Social Work.

The approach to the project will be through Photo Voice, a method which gives digital cameras to women participants as a means to create a visual and audio record of their voices, issues and stories. Photo Voice is grounded in the belief that people within communities are the best researchers of their own lives and this will provide a way in which to bring that voice forward. This approach also provides a means of women being involved in their own discoveries through images that are meaningful in the context of their lives.

The benefits to the communities are the opportunity to raise voices and raise awareness of healthy practices that contribute to FASD prevention. Initial conversations with the communities identified above have been very positive and welcoming. The project will involve the Dene communities of Lutsel K’e, Behchoko and the Inuit Community/Hamlet of Ulukhaktok.

One of the long term goals in the partnership and relationships developed with Arlene Hache and Sandra Lockhart living in the NWT and actively participating in the FASD Research Network Action Team (NAT) on Women's Health was to engage in a project in the NWT. All other involvement - as members of the NAT has been on a voluntary basis and grounded in community service. The NWT has been consistently represented on the CanNorthwest FASD Research Network Action Team on Women's Health since its inception in 2007.

When the research is complete a report will be developed for participants and the community. The Photo Voice images and audio will be incorporated into a CD or DVD that can be distributed to participants and each participant will receive a print copy of their photovoice presentation. The reserachers plan to have at least one member of the research team report back to the communities in order to share results of the research project. No information will be shared in communities without informed consent of the participants. The team will also prepare a written report and include the photovoice exhibits of the participants only with the individual's consent, and send a different report for each community.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 13, 2011 to December 31, 2011.