Engaging First Nation and Inuit communities in asthma management and control: assessing cultural appropriateness of educational resources

O Latycheva, R Chera, C Hampson, J R Masuda, M Stewart, S J Elliott, N E Fenton
Rural and Remote Health 2013, 13 (2): 2288

INTRODUCTION: Asthma is a growing concern in First Nations and Inuit communities. As with many health indicators and outcomes, Aboriginal peoples living in remote areas experience greater disparities in respiratory health compared with non-Aboriginal Canadians. Therefore, it is critically important to take into account their unique needs when developing asthma educational materials and resources. The purpose of this study is to assess the cultural relevance of existing asthma education materials for First Nations and Inuit peoples. Five First Nations and Inuit communities from across Canada participated in the project.

METHODS: A combination of quantitative evaluations (eg surveys) and qualitative approaches (eg open discussion, live chats) were used to assess printed and web-based asthma education materials. Participants represented First Nations and Inuit communities from across Canada and were selected on the basis of age and role: 6 to 12 years old (children), 12 and over (youth), parents and grandparents, community leaders and teachers, and community advisory group members.

RESULTS: In general, the results showed that although participants of all age categories liked the selection of asthma educational materials and resources, they identified pictures and images related to First Nations and Inuit people living and coping with asthma as ways of improving cultural relevance. This reinforces findings that tailoring materials to include Aboriginal languages, ceremonies and traditions would enhance their uptake. Our findings also demonstrate that visually based content in both printed and virtual form were the preferred style of learning of all participants, except young children who preferred to learn through play and interactive activities.

CONCLUSIONS: Asthma is a growing concern in First Nations and Inuit communities. Given this concern, it is essential to understand cultural needs and preferences when developing asthma education materials and resources. The findings from this research emphasize the need to adapt existing asthma educational materials to better suit First Nations and Inuit cultures and the importance of directly engaging community members in the process.

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