For the first time, researchers have access to detailed information about how an urban Aboriginal population in Canada uses health care. A new study, called Our Health Counts, uses this health database to clearly demonstrate the unique challenges faced by urban Aboriginal people in Canada – according to researchers at St. Michael's Hospital.
The findings, published today in BMJ Open, illustrate striking disparities between urban First Nations individuals and the general population.
"We found elevated emergency room use, multiple barriers to health care access and significant rates of chronic disease among urban Aboriginal adults," said Dr. Michelle Firestone, an associate scientist with St. Michael's Hospital's Centre for Research on Inner City Health.
Credit: St. Michael's Hospital
Researchers interviewed 554 First Nations adults in Hamilton, Ont. – chosen for its large Aboriginal population and strong infrastructure of Aboriginal community health and social services. Researchers collected data for factors that influence a person's health such as poverty, illness and income for Hamilton's First Nations population.
"Compared to Hamilton's general adult population, we found elevated emergency room use, multiple barriers to health care access and significant rates of chronic disease among urban Aboriginal adults," said Dr. Michelle Firestone, an associate scientist with St. Michael's Hospital's Centre for Research on Inner City Health.
More than 10 per cent of First Nations adults visited the emergency room six times or more in the previous two years – only 1.6 per cent of Hamilton's general adult population could say the same.
"Hamilton has extensive health and social services but 40 per cent of respondents felt their access to health care was either fair or poor," said Dr. Firestone, who holds a PhD in public health. "This shows geography is not the only health care barrier for First Nations people."
Almost half of respondents reported that long waiting lists to see a specialist were a barrier. Other common barriers included not being able to arrange transportation; not being able to afford direct costs or transportation; services not covered by non-insured health benefits and lack of trust in health care providers.
More than 60 per cent of Aboriginal people living in Ontario live in urban areas. An increasing number of First Nations individuals are moving to urban centers to seek better housing, employment and education opportunities and for the services and amenities available.
The most common chronic conditions of Hamilton's First Nations adults included arthritis (30.7 per cent), high blood pressure (25.8 per cent), asthma (19 per cent) and diabetes (15.6 per cent).
Among First Nations adults living in Hamilton:
Aboriginal people are often excluded, unidentified, or under-represented in most Canadian health information databases. Our Health Counts fills this health information void by using respondent-driven sampling – a research method used to recruit hidden or stigmatized populations by relying on participants to identify the next wave of study recruits. Our Health Counts is the first respondent-driven sampling of urban First Nations people in Canada.
"Our Health Counts is a significant contribution to public health," said Dr. Firestone. "This data will have important implications for health service delivery, programming and policy development. It should directly inform strategic directions and improve health of urban Aboriginal people in Ontario."
This project was funded by the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Aboriginal Health Transition Fund.
About St. Michael's Hospital
St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
For further information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Media Relations Adviser
St. Michael's Hospital
416-864-6060, ext. 6537
Geoff Koehler | Eurek Alert!
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction