The CIHR Aboriginal HIV & AIDS CBR Collaborative Centre Update

Sherri Pooyak and Marni Amirault

Aboriginal HIV and AIDS Collaborative Centre

Wise Practices & CAAN AGM

The focus of the AHA Centre over the course of the spring and summer months was largely on planning and organization for Wise Practices and the CAAN AGM. We worked closely with an Advisory Committee made up of community partners and committee members across CAAN’s network to ensure the best program possible for 2015. In addition to our own events, we were thrilled to be invited by the Institutes of Aboriginal Peoples Health (IAPH)  at CIHR to co-host the National Gathering of Graduate Students July 13 & 14, and to co-host our ‘Working Together’ event with the Centre for REACH at the end of the week. Over 200 delegates came together from July 13 to July 19 inclusive, making 2015 one of the best attended gatherings in CAAN history! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of our planning committee, our partners, the presenters, and of course, conference delegates for making our week a huge success.

We’d also like to send a special shout out to our AHA Centre Community Research Associates (CRAs) and their mentors for a very well-received Way of the Sweetgrass panel presentation that spoke to First Nations, Métis and Two-Spirit specific research methodologies. Video recordings from this panel, our Working Together event and more will be made available on the AHA Centre webpage. Stay tuned for that!

Working Together an AHA Centre & REACH Co-hosted event – Held July 19, 2015 

Post WiAHA-photo-01se Practices, the AHA Centre and the CIHR CBR Collaborative: A Program of REACH held the Working Together event to discuss the ‘essential ingredients’ for ensuring successful and respectful cross-cultural community-based research (CBR) partnerships. This session highlighted how two national CBR Centres advance HIV research together, and featured a keynote address by Dr. Cathy Worthington on the promises and tensions of collaborating across cultures. A panel of Aboriginal and allied researchers reflected on their experiences in projects where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples came together with a common goal: to address HIV in our communities. Working Together was a great success! We were fortunate to have a few of the AHA Centres’ CRAs involved as well.

AHA Centre Evaluation

Earlier this year, we wrote a successful CIHR Planning grant that brought the AHA Centre Evaluation Sub-Committee and our AHA Centre evaluators, San Patten and Lori Ann Roness together. The goal of this grant was to collaboratively craft our evaluation tools and to strategize ways to maximize our evaluation work so the AHA Centre can meet the needs of our community. Our Evaluators were also on hand during Wise Practices where they began to collect baseline data for the AHA Centre. The Evaluators have submitted a draft interim report that outlines results from the Wise Practices evaluation.

National Aboriginal Research Advisory Committee (NARAC)

The National Aboriginal Research Advisory Committee (NARAC) reached the end of its first two-year term of in April of this year. We invited standing NARAC members to renew their involvement on the Committee or to step down if NARAC was no longer a good fit for them. A new call was launched to fill vacant seats on the committee. We are happy to say that we have brought together a skilled and knowledgeable group of Aboriginal community and academic researchers, community members, youth representatives and Elders too. NARAC II meets every two months to guide the work of CAAN and the AHA Center, holding us to the highest standard.

Capacity Building and Knowledge to Action at the AHA Centre 

Traditionally, the roles and duties of the Community-Based Research Managers have been divided down the middle of the country between an Eastern and a Western Community-Based Research Manager. Upon reflection, we have concluded that we need to re-orient our work plans to better engage with the Knowledge-to Action and Capacity Building efforts that we have set out to do at the AHA Centre. We are drafting up new job descriptions that take our new focus into account.

AHA Centre and CAAN’s Research and Policy Unit Meeting in Dartmouth, NS

AHA-photo-02As part of CAAN’s overall research program, the AHA Centre met with the CAAN Research and Policy Unit (RPU) to engage in a two-day PATH (Planning Alternative Futures with Hope) training, facilitated by Rene Boucher and Trevor Stratton. It was an honour to work so closely with Rene and Trevor as they helped us articulate our hopes, dreams and realities for the next two years of the RPU and AHA Centre. It was an incredible experience to walk through this process and to see our vision come to life on paper in such an impactful and creative way. A big thank you to Rene and Trevor for their guidance and patience as they guided us to our vision for the next 2 years!

Recent Book Chapters 

Within a week of each other, two texts that contain chapters written by AHA staff and Co-Directors were sent to the CAAN research office!

AHA-photo-03The AHA Centre opens and (almost) closes this volume titled Determinants of Indigenous Peoples’ Health in Canada: Beyond the Social, (Margo Greenwood, Sarah de Leeuw, Nicole Marie Lindsay, Charlotte Reading, eds.). Chapter 1 Structural Determinants of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, was written by Charlotte Reading (Loppie). Chapter 22, Determining Life with HIV and AIDS, was co-authored by Sherri Pooyak, Marni Amirault and Renée Masching and discusses some of what the authors have learned since they began working in the field of HIV and AIDS research.

To order the book, please go to: www.amazon.ca/Determinants-Indigenous-Peoples-Health-Canada/dp/1551307324

See more at: www.unbc.ca/releases/37944/new-textbook-gives-voice-indigenous-perspectives-on-health – sthash.CYIn6qnr.2ygOctZn.dpuf

AHA-photo-04La recherché communautaire VIH/sida: Des savours engages, Joanne Otis, Melina Bernier and Joseph Josy Lévy (eds.) Marni Amirault co-authored chapter two in this volume: Du Facilitateur de la recherché au centre de collaboration: Sountenir le renforemeent des capacités de recherché sur le VIH/sida dans les communautés au Canada. Randy Jackson and Renée Masching co-authored chapter 8 titled: Community-Based HIV and AIDS Researech ans an Ethical Engagement Model with Aboringal Communities in Canada: Benefits and Continuing Challenges.

For more information, please go to: www.puq.ca/catalogue/livres/recherche-communautaire-vih-sida-2613.html

CAAN is currently under construction. Please check back soon for updates.