RHS: In the Field

New stories help bring the ‘Power of Data’ to life

Here at FNIGC we pride ourselves on being data nerds. But we know that the power that quality data, collected by First Nations for First Nations, can have to effect real change isn’t self-evident to everybody. This is why we have developed the “Power of Data” campaign, a series of original articles that focus on the real-world benefits that data from the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) has had in First Nations communities over the past two decades.

These three articles are a resource for our Regional Partners to use in the field, during meetings with community leadership and decision-makers. Modelled after traditional feature stories, each piece is based on original interviews with community members and stakeholders and features original photography taken in communities.     

In 2014 Addie Pryce, FNIGC's RHS & Capacity Development Coordintor, and FNIGC's Communications Coordinator Brad Mackay travelled to Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia, and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, in Dawson, Yukon to talk to local community members about the various ways programs and services they use on a daily basis have benefited from robust RHS data. (Each story can be downloaded at the links below.) Everything from the Children’s Oral Health Initiative and the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative to the First Nations Policing Program, the Home and Community Care program, and the Aboriginal Head Start Program on Reserve exist in part thanks to data gathered by the RHS process.

Since 1997 the RHS has been a reliable and valuable source of First Nations data for not only First Nations communities, but government stakeholders as well. In the past two decades the First Nation Inuit Health Branch (FNHIB), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Public Safety, and Public Health - among others - have come to depend on RHS data for policy, planning, and renewal purposes.

FNIGC’s Power of Data articles helps to connect the dots between participating in the RHS and the positive effects it can have in the long run. 

“The survey process is fairly abstract” says Rene Dion, Manager of Health Information and Policy Coordination at FNIHB. “Like any survey you go out and you ask questions and I think people wonder What happens with this? Where do my answers go?”

“I think it’s important to provide communities with the results in order to show them what happens to their answers, but more importantly to also provide concrete examples of how their answers can be used to improve health and quality of life.”

Copies of the Power of Data stories can be requested by contacting Brad Mackay at 1-866-997-6248 or bmackay@fnigc.ca. You can also download them at the links below. 

The Power of Data: Dawson

The Power of Data: Eskasoni

The Power of Data: Ottawa

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