Alberta Health Services is launching a three year project in Southern Alberta, with the goal of improving health outcomes for Indigenous people across the province, and also navigate the health system in order to improve patient outcomes and address health discrimination between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.
AHS Chief Officer for the South Zone, Katherine Chubbs says they've engaged a broad-based steering committee and together, they will design truly workable and effective solutions.
A report from 2017 showed Indigenous people in the province are twice as likely to suffer from liver cancer and diabetes and three times as likely to attempt suicide.
Part of the project will involve the creation of two Indigenous Navigator positions for AHS South Zone. The navigators will have a clinical background, either as a nurse or social worker, in order to help patients move through the health system and, if needed, to act as a liaison to help foster understanding between medical staff and Indigenous patients.
Chubbs adds that Indigenous patients and families expressed frustration with the health system during community engagement sessions three years ago.
A session at the end of the project will report on the results and to discuss next steps, sustainability and the potential to spread the model throughout the province.