Engaging Mi'kmaq Communities in Asthma Research: A Community-Driven Assessment of the Needs, Challenges, and Opportunities Surrounding Asthma Support in Unama'ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia
Watson, Robert Joseph
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Asthma is the second most common chronic condition among Aboriginal youth. This three-phase study aims to understand the psycho-social barriers facing asthmatic Mi’kmaq youth and their parents/caregivers living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and facilitate health promoting behaviours at the community-level. A community-based participatory research approach was undertaken to: 1) identify the support needs/intervention preferences of asthmatic Mi’kmaq youth and their parents/caregivers; 2) design and pilot test a culturally appropriate support-education intervention that meets these preferences; and 3) identify the implications of the findings for asthma programs, policies, and practices and determine dissemination strategies. The findings suggest that there is a lack of community-level asthma support available to Mi’kmaq families managing the condition despite a strong desire for these services. This study offers three community-driven recommendations to increase available support: improve school-based asthma policy, develop asthma expertise within each community health center, and implement an annual, culturally appropriate asthma camp.