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Okanagan Nation Alliance & the University of British Columbia

Community Research Agreement

A Community Research Agreement was just signed in January 2011 between UBC Faculty Researchers, Rachelle Hole, Mike Evans, Lawrence Berg and Joan Bottorff and Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Governing Body for the territory holders the Okanagan People, Syilx, of the Okanagan Valley. This event will recognize the significance of the Community Research Agreement (CRA) as the first between ONA and UBC. This CRA has been part of a long consultation and collaboration process between ONA and Hole, Evans, Berg and Bottorff that first began in 2005 with in-depth consultations between local Aboriginal communities and organizations, Interior Health and UBC researchers. The long term consultation process has led to the creation of the Okanagan Aboriginal Health Research Action Group and subsequent successful grants – CIHR planning grant 2007-2008 and CIHR operating grant 2009-2012. In addition to the CRA, two outcomes of the grants to date include, the Cultural Safety Symposium held in Westbank First Nation on Dec 7, 2007 (key note Indigenous speakers, Dr. Evan Adams Canada, Dr. Jenny Baker, Australia, Dianne Wepa, New Zealand), and the Cultural Safety Workshop 2010 (key note speaker and CIHR co-investigator, Dianne Wepa, New Zealand). The community research agreement signing has now launched phase 1 of the Cultural Safety Project funded by the CIHR operating grant 2009-2012, Principal Investigators, Hole, Evans, Berg and Bottorff.

Contact Details

Wellness Committee, Okanagan Nation Alliance

Vanessa Mitchell, Health Lead and ONA Community Research Agreement Sub-Committee Chair

Vanessa Mitchell

Toll Free: 1.866.662.9609
Fax: 250.707.0166 Email: vmitchell@syilx.org

Cultural Safety Project, University of British Columbia

Michelle Smith, Project Coordinator, Cultural Safety Project 

Michelle Smith

Phone: 250.807.9667
Email: michelle.smith@ubc.ca

Rachelle Hole, Nominated Principal Investigator, Cultural Safety Project; Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, UBC Okanagan;  Co-Director, Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship, UBC Vancouver

Rachelle H.

Phone: 250.807.8741
Email: rachelle.hole@ubc.ca

Media Statement

March 18 2011
UBC partners with Okanagan Nation Alliance to promote cultural safety in healthcare

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and UBC’s Okanagan campus have entered into a Community Research Agreement (CRA) that aims to strengthen cultural safety and improve aboriginal healthcare in the Okanagan Valley.

The project outlined in the CRA is titled Establishing Cultural Safety and Effecting Organizational Change for Aboriginal Health Care in Urban Centres of the Okanagan Valley. One of the community partners to actively participate in the initiative is the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, located in the Okanagan Nation territory.

“In respect of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2005, this research partnership establishes a relationship of active collaboration and participation that will build upon the working relationship between the ONA and UBC’s Okanagan campus,” states Executive Director of the ONA, Pauline Terbasket.

Vanessa Mitchell, ONA Health Lead adds “It is an agreement that supports Syilx (Okanagan) and other aboriginal students to do research in the Syilx (Okanagan) territory to enhance mainstream programs and services for aboriginal people.”

UBC Principal Investigators in the project, supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) operating grant, include UBC researchers Lawrence Berg, Rachelle Hole, Mike Evans and Joan Bottorff. Other partners include representatives from the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Interior Health, The En’owkin Centre and the Friendship Centres.

“Cultural safety is about creating a safe space so aboriginal people have a voice in determining personal and family health outcomes,” says Hole. “The practice of cultural safety in health care establishes an awareness of personal cultural realities and attitudes. In accordance with cultural safety practices, the project has developed as a participatory action research approach committed to the active engagement of members of aboriginal communities and their institutions.”

“The CRA demonstrates a respectful dialogue and agreement between our community members and researchers working in our traditional territory to undertake research in a manner consistent with Syilx customs and protocols,” says Carmella Alexis, Syilx (Okanagan) Nation member and graduate student with the project.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance — representative of the Syilx (Okanagan) people — represents eight member communities: seven in Canada and one in the United States