RHS: In the Field

New phase of landmark First Nations health survey launches in First Nations communities across Canada

April 1, 2015 (Ottawa, ON) – The First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) is proud to announce that the latest phase of its First Nations Regional Health Survey (FNRHS, or RHS) begins its official roll-out in 250 First Nations communities today.

RHS Phase 3 is the latest version of the landmark survey process, which was established in 1997 as a means of collecting much-needed information about the living conditions of First Nations people living on reserve and northern communities across Canada.

In the two decades since, the RHS has become recognized as a cornerstone of reliable, quality data about First Nation communities and is a go-to source of information for First Nation communities, researchers, academics, and government stakeholders.

“Data collected from the previous RHS surveys has influenced and informed program and policy development in a number of health programs, including the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative and the Aboriginal Head Start Program” said Addie Pryce, FNIGC’s RHS & Capacity Development Coordinator. “FNIGC is confident that the RHS Phase 3 survey process will continue to yield important data for First Nations communities and leadership.”

The only First Nations-governed holistic health survey of its kind in Canada, the RHS is currently in the third year of a five-year process that will see it collect data from 250 First Nations communities, in collaboration with its regional partners in 10 provinces and two territories.   

FNIGC’s counterpart survey, the First Nations Regional Early Childhood, Education, and Employment Survey (REEES) is currently winding down data collection and is on-track to deliver initial results this fall, with a final report coming in spring 2016. 

RHS Phase 3 will spend the next year deployed in First Nations communities, after which it will begin the data cleaning process with an eye to delivering a final report in 2018.

“FNIGC knows that success does not come without challenges. A survey of this size and scope is a long-term process that is built on effective planning, collaboration, open communication, and lessons learned,” said Gail Mc Donald, FNIGC’s Executive Director. “Our experience has shown that the power of data – especially quality data – can have a meaningful impact in our First Nations communities. That’s why it’s important to take a moment to celebrate the official implementation of RHS Phase 3, our founding survey.”

The “Power of Data” principle is one that guides all of FNIGC’s work, which includes our core survey work, capacity development efforts, our First Nation Data Centre, FNIGC Data Online, and our upcoming “Fundamentals of OCAP™” online training course developed in conjunction with Algonquin College.   

As the premier source of information in Canada about First Nations people living on reserve and in northern communities, FNIGC is committed to collecting and protecting data that reflects the diversity of life in the 634 First Nations communities across the country.  

FNIGC recognizes that good information—information that is collected by First Nations people for First Nations people—is the key to making good decisions that can positively benefit the health and well-being of First Nation communities.    

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