Making Dreams A Reality

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Making Dreams A Reality

Canada
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The University of Lethbridge has a rich heritage as a leader in First Nations, Métis and Inuit education. Situated on Blackfoot land in southern Alberta, the University strives to build strong relationships and relevant programs for all First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. The Faculty of Health Sciences’ commitment to our First Nations, Métis and Inuit students remains a central feature of its programming, and the Faculty strives to maintain relationships that are positive, mutually respectful, culturally appropriate and productive.

Our quest is to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit students to navigate the post-secondary education experience. The goal is not only to personally support students so they can successfully complete their degrees and return to work in their home communities, but also to improve cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural education that complements the growing interest in the ways that traditional protocols influence contemporary practices.

The idea of creating a targeted support program for Aboriginal students in nursing stemmed from discussions amongst the Blood Tribe Department of Health, the University of Lethbridge, Red Crow Community College, Piikani Health Services, Siksika Health Services, and the Blackfoot Confederacy in 2007. Through these discussions, the Support Program for Aboriginal Nursing Students (SPANS) evolved. In 2010, in addition to providing support for baccalaureate nursing students, the Faculty of Health Sciences extended support services to all First Nations, Métis and Inuit students in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Addictions Counseling and Public Health degree programs. This comprehensive program changed its name from SPANS to Support Services for Aboriginal Students in Health Sciences.

Support Services for Aboriginal Students in Health Sciences is intended to provide: support to students by offering support in the often challenging transition from home and family life to university, mentorship programs with elders and aboriginal health care professionals as well as tutoring and counselling support. In addition, social networking opportunities are provided as well as assistance with scholarship and bursary applications.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have a long tradition of caring for the ill and helping people stay well, yet the shortage of health care professionals is particularly evident in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Canada. Poverty, addictions, substance abuse and other health issues have placed tremendous stress on community health care resources. Communities are challenged to increase the number of Aboriginal people entering health care disciplines such as nursing, addictions counseling, and public health.

Before the support services were in place, enrolment and retention were low, with only a handful of students spread across the four-year Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Health Sciences programs. However, with targeted support, these numbers have steadily increased. Sixty plus students are currently enrolled for the 2011/2012 school year and continued growth is anticipated. Correspondingly, graduation rates of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students have also increased.

Canada’s Aboriginal population is growing faster than the general population. Education is a critical factor in ensuring that First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples have success within the workforce. This new generation of health care professionals will address the health issues experienced amongst our peoples and provide appropriate health services to families living on the nation’s reserves and in its urban centers. Increasing the number of Aboriginal health care professionals is crucial to: enhancing the capacity of communities, positively influencing effective and efficient health care delivery, and making dreams a reality.

About You
About You
First Name

Marilyn

Last Name

Lamb

Confirm a user name that will be displayed publicly to identify your entry

MLamb

About You, Your Group, or Your Organization
Name

University of Lethbridge

Country
Please confirm that this project could benefit First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples

Yes

Twitter URL
Facebook URL
Youtube URL
What categories best describe who your group or organization serves (check all that apply)

First Nations people, Métis people, Inuit people, First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, Other.

What best describes your group or organization

University, Technical Institute or College.

How long have you, your group, or your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Innovation
Define your idea / project in 1-2 short sentences

The Faculty of Health Sciences is committed to personally supporting students to achieve success by providing access to Elders, mentors, tutors and counselors.

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Expanding (it has been running for a while, has grown, you know it is making a difference and now you want to expand)

Social Impact
Please tell us about the social impact of your idea or proect

First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have a long tradition of caring for the ill, yet health issues have placed tremendous stress on community health care resources. Education is a critical factor in ensuring that First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples have success within the workforce. Increasing the number of Aboriginal health care professionals is crucial to enhancing the capacity of communities and positively influencing effective and efficient health care delivery. This new generation of health care professionals will address the health issues experienced amongst our peoples and provide appropriate health services to families living on the nation’s reserves and in its urban centers.

Your Future Goal(s): Tell us what you hope to achieve with your idea or project in the next year

To help students succeed in their post-secondary health care education so they can return to work in their home communities.

In 5 years, what will be different as a result of your idea/project?

According to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), 8 percent of Aboriginal Canadians have achieved a University degree. Those who do achieve a bachelor’s degree earn more and significantly more likely to be employed.
The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge will continue to be excited about contributing to the next generation of health care professionals and improving the health of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. The number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students enrolled at the University of Lethbridge in the Faculty of Health Sciences will see a significant increase, and these students will have the ability, the credentials, and the confidence to share their knowledge with their communities.

Sustainability
Tell us about the people/ partnerships that are already involved and why they are important to your idea or project.

Blood Tribe Department of Health, the University of Lethbridge, Red Crow Community College, Piikani Health Services, Siksika Health Services, and the Blackfoot Confederacy

If there are other people/partners that you will reach out to tell us who they are and why they will be important to your idea or project.

Approximately 100 words left (800 characters).

Describe the kinds of support you receive (other than money) or will need to support your idea or project (e.g.: donated, space, equipment and volunteers)

The University of Lethbridge is committed to supporting its First Nations, Metis and Inuit students.

Do you currently have funding for your idea or project?

Yes (answer the next two questions)