NAN Logo
Logo for Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). Courtesy of Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) recently joined with a number of healthcare partners, including UHN, to sign Relationship Accords intended to strengthen and guide partnerships working to improve health outcomes throughout NAN territory.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to work collaboratively with NAN and other like-minded partners to advance health system transformation," says Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Site Lead, Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research at UHN. 

"UHN's commitment to advance cultural safety and health equity will help build meaningful and sustained relationships with Indigenous communities, necessary to support access to high-quality cardiac care appropriate to the local context."

The Accords were signed last week during NAN's Virtual Chiefs Assembly on Health Transformation and Governance. NAN's Health Transformation is a community-led process intended to bring about a once-in-a-generation change to the existing health system at NAN community level.

To implement the Transformation's core pillars, system partners are selected to support NAN in creating a new health system and ensure NAN citizens receive the full complement of services they are entitled to, according to NAN's Health Transformation Progress Report from Fall 2019.

NAN's partnership with UHN was initiated in 2019 by Dr. Ross and supported by leadership from UHN's Indigenous Health Program, who over the past several months have built a relationship strategy to ensure this work is done in a respectful manner. Dr. Lisa Richardson, Ashley Migwans, and Holly Smith were integral in the success of these efforts.

Through these Accords, NAN will work in collaboration with partners for improved health outcomes for communities and bring meaningful improvement in healthcare across NAN territory. This includes practice guidelines, quality improvement and development tools, culturally specific training and awareness, practice support and strengthening communications, according to NAN's press release.

Other healthcare organizations who signed these Accords include the Canadian Red Cross, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario and Ornge, Ontario's provider of air ambulance and critical care transport services. Ornge is currently working in partnership with NAN to deliver and administer COVID-19 vaccines to remote communities through Operation Remote Immunity.

"We are grateful that these dedicated experts are committed to working with us and our communities in the design and function of an effective health system. These Accords are significant steps to achieving health equity and the removal of barriers to safe and effective health care across NAN territory," says NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler in NAN's press release.

"Miigwetch to our partners for their dedication and support. We look forward to working together to build capacity and improve health outcomes for our communities."

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