This document presents the results of a review conducted in 2008 of Québec First Nations and Inuit health research, with the goal to identify priorities for research development and in order to shed light on decisions in regards to the health needs of Aboriginal populations.
A conceptual framework was developed to accurately define the area of Aboriginal health research. This area was defined as being composed of: The entirety of research activities on the health and well being of the Aboriginal population and on their determinants focused on producing, integrating and applying scientific knowledge, valid and relevant to the First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) in the exercise of its mandate towards communities, families and individuals.
This review looked at 230 Aboriginal health research projects funded between 1986 and 2006. These projects, selected on the basis of the principles and criteria defined in the conceptual framework, were indexed in the Banque de la recherche sociale et en santé (BRSS) of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec (MSSS), this database listing all research projects funded by Québec or Canadian organizations since the late 1980's.
One of the characteristics of these projects is that the majority covers territories under agreement and that certain thematic areas of research and segments of populations are more frequently studied; Lifestyles & Chronic Diseases as well as Prevention & Promotion of health and well-being are the two themes most often addressed while Children & Youth and Perinatality & Early Childhood are the two groups most frequently targeted. However, it is not the territories, thematic areas or segments of the population most frequently funded that receive the highest funding amounts. In fact, we observed some form of duality in Aboriginal health research with on one side, a few research areas where the majority of funding is focused on acute problems (e.g. Climate Change, Mental Health, Nutrition and Diabetes Prevention) and on the other side, numerous projects with modest funding that cover a large spectrum of subjects.
The contextualization of these results with those of the array of the BRSS projects allows us to bring to light the distinctive features of the support for Aboriginal health research, particularly the respective contributions of the Programme de subventions en santé publique du Québec (PSSP) and the Institute for Aboriginal Peoples' Health-Canadian Institutes for Health Research (IAPH-CIHR); the form and extent of their support is nevertheless quite different.
Over the 1986-2006 study period, we observed an overall increase in the number of projects funded and amounts invested. However, there are variations in the evolution as we observed, on the one hand, a decrease in projects and amounts invested for certain thematic areas and segments of the population such as Children & Youth and Perinatality & Early Childhood, and on the other hand, a steep increase in funded projects and amounts invested in the areas of Physical environment and Mental Health. Additionally, we noticed an important increase in infrastructure investments (Networks of Centres of Excellence, research networks, chairs, etc.) that we can link to the establishment of the Institute for Aboriginal Peoples' Health in 2000.
By presenting the distinctive features of this area of research, this review allows us to better define the perspectives on, and challenges to, the support and development of research on the health of Québec First Nations and Inuit. We can also speculate that it will shed light on decisions to be made and orientations to take in order for research to further contribute to improving the health of Québec First Nations and Inuit.
Please note that there is a mistake in the Annex 2 (p. 53). The Kangiqsujuaq village doesn't appear on the map but it should have been positioned at the level of Quaqtaq. As for the Quaqtaq village, it is situated further east, north of Kangirsuk. (June 28, 2010)