In January 2019, the Canadian Journal of Public Health accepted a paper submitted on the evaluation of the program Niiwin Wendaanimak, and the article has just been released. Special thanks to Vivian for her role in leading the evaluation process and ensuring that clients were fully engaged. Please see below the abstract about the piece and a link to the full evaluation:
“I feel safe just coming here because there are other Native
brothers and sisters”: findings from a community-based evaluation
of the Niiwin Wendaanimak Four Winds Wellness Program
Michelle Firestone1,2 & Jessica Syrette1 & Tessa Jourdain1 & Vivian Recollet3 & Janet Smylie1,2
Received: 13 August 2018 /Accepted: 30 January 2019
# The Canadian Public Health Association 2019
Background Urban Indigenous populations in Canada are steadily growing and represent diverse and culturally vibrant communities. Disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples’ experiences of the social determinants of health are a growing concern. Under the guidance of the West End Aboriginal Advisory Council (WEAAC), Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (PQWCHC) launched the Niiwin Wendaanimak Four Winds Wellness Program that seeks to enhance health and community services for homeless and at-risk Indigenous populations in Toronto.
Objectives A process evaluation was carried out to (1) assess the collaborative service delivery model; (2) identify service gaps and issues for homeless and at-risk Indigenous populations; and (3) develop recommendations for how non-Indigenous organizations can provide culturally responsive services for Indigenous populations.
Methods In consultation with the WEAAC, a thematic analysis of qualitative data collected from 2 focus groups with community members who access the Niiwin Wendaanimak program and 17 key informant interviews with staff and peers was conducted.
Results The Niiwin Wendaanimak program bridges teachings of inclusivity and the practice of harm reduction to create a non-judgemental space where community members’ dignity and autonomy is respected. Strengths of the program include Indigenous leadership and access to activities that promote wellness and community building.
Conclusions As a non-Indigenous service provider, PQWCHC is meeting the needs of homeless and at-risk Indigenous populations in Toronto. Program strengths, system gaps, and challenges including policy recommendations were identified.