Indigenous and biomedical healing practices and paradigms at Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: health services, healing, hospital care

Principal Investigator: Roher, Sophie (3)
Licence Number: 16705
Organization: University of Toronto
Licensed Year(s): 2022 2021 2020
Issued: Mar 11, 2020
Project Team: Susan Chatwood, Tracey Galloway, Angela Mashford-Pringle

Objective(s): To explore possibilities for improving the provision of health services at Stanton Hospital for Indigenous patients in the NWT.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4546.

This research seeks to explore possibilities for improving the provision of health services at Stanton Hospital for Indigenous patients in the NWT. Using an Indigenous storytelling methodology that is grounded in two-eyed seeing and postcolonial theory, this research asks:
How do Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients, health providers and traditional healers experience and understand Indigenous and biomedical healing practices at Stanton Territorial Hospital?

The study objectives are to:
1) Describe participants’ stories and experiences of hospital care, and the extent to which their stories and experiences are shaped by their understandings of Indigenous and biomedical healing practices;
2) Illuminate the extent to which colonial practices and representations shape participants’ stories and experiences of hospital care; and,
3) Provide recommendations to improve patients’ hospital care experiences at Stanton Hospital.

This project has been created with Elders, community leaders, Indigenous knowledge holders, patients and health authority officials. Key informants (Elders, patients, health administrators) have been brought together to form the Community Advisory Committee, which will oversee the project. This oversight will ensure that the project abides by ethical practices and community protocols, privileges local Indigenous knowledge’s and experiences, and benefits local community partners.

Data collection will take place in two parts. First, the Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct narrative interviews and focus groups with up to 50 participants, made up of current and former patients at Stanton Territorial Hospital, patient caregivers, hospital clinicians, traditional healers, Indigenous wellness program staff, hospital administrators, policy makers, and individuals at community organizations. Focus groups may also be conducted with patients, patient caregivers, traditional healers and Indigenous wellness program staff who might feel more comfortable sharing their stories in the community of others rather than individually. The interviews and focus groups will center on patient and provider understandings of and experiences with Indigenous and biomedical healing practices at Stanton Territorial Hospital. Second, the PI will work with an Indigenous knowledge holder who is a member of the Community Advisory Committee to co-facilitate three sharing circles with Elders and knowledge holders who have a rich knowledge of Indigenous and biomedical healing, patient experiences and hospital care. The first sharing circle will take place before the interviews begin to situate and frame the interview process. The second sharing circle will take place near the end of the interview process to deepen and extend interpretation and analysis. The third sharing circle will take place near the end of the project and will inform knowledge translation. The sharing circles are a critical component of this project because they will ensure that analysis and results are respectful and inclusive of patient experiences and Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and sharing.

The PI will work with the Community Advisory Committee to determine the best ways to share the research results throughout the research process. The findings of the study will be shared with all participants, communities, or organizations who express interest and provide me with their contact information. Findings may be made available in a variety of forms depending on the person who is requesting feedback. For example, feedback may take the form of giving a small group presentation, passing along a published academic paper, or summarizing findings one-on-one depending on the needs of the person requesting feedback. This range of feedback options is essential in order to ensure that participants have equitable access to the findings of research. As mentioned previously, participants for this study will likely represent a broad range of ages, education levels, and language skills. Providing different forms of feedback ensures that all participants have an opportunity to fully understand the findings of the study.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 10, 2020 to December 31, 2020.