Aboriginal Health Directorate

The Aboriginal Health Directorate applies an “Aboriginal lens” to health policy development and program implementation for the Ministry of Health. In doing so it helps to implement the government’s key strategic directions for Aboriginal health.

The ministry provides guidance and support on Aboriginal health issues to other ministries and collaborates with key Aboriginal stakeholders and organizations.  Working collaboratively with health authorities allows for Aboriginal interests to be integrated into their services delivery.

Vision

First Nations and Aboriginal individuals, families, and communities in B.C. are healthy and well.

Mandate

To champion systemic change that facilitates health and wellness for all First Nations and Aboriginal peoples in B.C. through advocacy, knowledge exchange, and partnerships.

Priorities

Governance

  • Support the continuing evolution of the First Nations Health Authority, officially established October 2013, through the implementation of the British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance.
  • Support health authorities in the implementation of Partnership Accords with First Nations Health Council Regional Tables.
  • Lead the development of a work plan for the Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health.
  • Support the hard-wiring of Aboriginal health issues throughout the B.C. health sector.

Health Actions

  • Lead the ministry with ongoing implementation of the health actions commitments in the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, Health Canada, health authorities and other Aboriginal Partners.
  • Key areas of work include: Primary Care and Public Health; Health Knowledge and Information; Mental Wellness and Substance Use; Maternal and Child Health; Health Human Resources; Health Planning and Capital; and eHealth.
  • Support the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation & Physical Activity Partners Council in delivering the Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities.

Partnerships & Collaborations

The Aboriginal Health Directorate maintains strong partnerships with the regional health authorities to support improved Aboriginal and First Nations Health in B.C.

Regional Health Authorities

Each of the health authorities in British Columbia has an Aboriginal health team that leads the work for the health authority in developing and implementing its Aboriginal Health Plan.

Partnership Accords and Letters of Understanding

The five regional health authorities have each signed partnership accords with First Nations Health Council Regional Caucuses to facilitate greater collaboration with the First Nations Health Council, the First Nations Health Authority and the local regional health authority.

Fraser Health
Fraser Salish Nations and Fraser Health signed the Fraser Partnership Accord on December 12, 2011 aimed at making significant progress in improving the health of First Nations in the region. This accord was the first health agreement of its kind in the province. The Accord allows for more shared decision-making between both parties and increases First Nations participation in decisions about health services for First Nations and other Aboriginal people in the Fraser Region.

Interior Health
First Nations in the B.C. Interior, the First Nations Health Council and Interior Health signed the Interior Partnership Accord on November 14, 2012. This forward-thinking agreement will lead to greater collaboration on elevating the health and wellness outcomes for First Nations in the Interior Region and prepares all parties to work together in new ways that will promote the values of collaboration, trust, inclusion, celebration and innovation. The Accord will establish a culturally appropriate, coordinated and integrated First Nations health and wellness system and lays out a number of achievable goals, action plans, accountability structures and measureable indicators to gauge its success.

There have also been letters of understanding (LOU) signed between Interior Health and specific First Nations within the Interior. Ktunaxa Nation Council and Interior Health signed an LOU on July 26, 2012. The LOU is seen as the first step in a collaborative approach to improving health services to Aboriginal people in the East Kootenay area. The Okanagan Nation Alliance and its seven member communities - Upper Nicola Band, Okanagan Indian Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band, Lower Similkameen Indian Band and Upper Similkameen Indian Band - signed an LOU with Interior Health on June 13, 2012. The LOU commits the parties to work together collaboratively to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Island Health
The Vancouver Island Regional Health Caucus of the First Nations Health Council and the Vancouver Island Health Authority signed the Vancouver Island Partnership Accord, signifying the strength of the working relationship in support of health improvements for Island First Nations and all Island residents. The signing took place on the evening of May 14, 2012 in a cultural ceremony during the fifth annual provincial Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey Forum.

Northern Health
The Northern Regional Health Caucus, First Nations Health Authority and Northern Health signed the Northern Partnership Accord on May 16, 2012 that opens new doors for cooperation and planning to improve health outcomes for Northern First Nations. The Accord lays the groundwork for innovations in health service delivery and the creation of a more integrated, culturally appropriate, safe, and effective health system.

Vancouver Coastal Health
The Vancouver Coastal Regional Caucus, First Nations Health Authority, and Vancouver Coastal Health signed the Vancouver Coastal Partnership Accord on May 16, 2012, creating a new path to improving health outcomes, programs, and services for First Nations in the Vancouver Coastal Region.

Core Partners

Guided by the First Nations Health Plan, the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan, and the British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance (the Framework Agreement), the Aboriginal Health Directorate is working collaboratively with the First Nations Health Council, the First Nations Health Authority and First Nations and Inuit Health, Health Canada to implement the Framework Agreement and other initiatives to improve the health and wellness of First Nations and Aboriginal people in B.C.

First Nations Health Authority

The First Nations Health Authority is a health service delivery organization created and mandated to support B.C. First Nations to implement a number of guiding agreements seeking to elevate B.C. First Nations health outcomes through the creation of a more effective health care system.

First Nations Health Council

The First Nations Health Council was created following the negotiating and signing of a series of agreements between First Nations, Canada and British Columbia. It was reformed to a regional model in 2010. The role of the First Nations Health Council is to provide a focus for B.C. First Nations to continue the work of reforming health care.

Health Canada, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch

Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch works with First Nations, Inuit, other federal departments, and provincial and territorial partners to support healthy First Nations and Inuit individuals, families and communities. In British Columbia, the programs and services run and managed by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch have been transitioned to the First Nations Health Authority as of October 2013.

Additional Partners

In addition to their work with health authorities and core partners, the Aboriginal Health Directorate also works with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, and Métis Nation British Columbia to help promote the health and well-being of all Aboriginal people in B.C.;

B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres

The B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres is the umbrella association for 25 friendship centres who provide a number of services to urban Aboriginal people throughout the province.

Métis Nation British Columbia

Métis Nation British Columbia develops and enhances opportunities for B.C.'s Métis people by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services.

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