As a Research Associate, Grace develops and manages various projects in the areas of aging in society; dying, death and grief; health care experiences; and models of care delivery. She plays active roles throughout the entire research process including formulating innovative ideas, developing research design, and translating research to practice. Grace has conducted literature reviews on diverse health care topics such as aging, care delivery models and interdisciplinary collaboration to support research and evidence-based practice. She obtained both her Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Sciences and Bachelor of Science degree in Life Sciences from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.
Reflecting on Sustainable Relationship Building for Cancer Storywork in First Nations, Inuit & Métis Communities
It is estimated that 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their life time. In First Nations, Inuit, Métis (FNIM) Communities, these statistics are troubling as there are many systemic barriers to cancer care and a lack of knowledge about cancer. To start to address these issues, cancer agencies and organizations from Northwest Territories, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario came together to create information and resources to help improve First Nations care patient transition experiences of primary and oncology care. Since building relationships with FNIM communities and between project team members is vital for the success of this project, a sub-study was completed to explore and understand these relationships, as well as reflect on how building sustainable relationships between project constituents may have contributed to the outcome of the overall project.
Throughout the study, project team members were asked to reflect individually (journaling and semi-structured interviews) and as a group (focus groups) on their experiences around building and sustaining relationships. Project team members were given monthly prompts and asked to respond during the monthly focus group and journaling. Data analysis was ongoing and iterative. Journal entries, interview and focus group transcripts were analyzed using grounded theory hierarchical coding analysis and brought back to participants periodically for confirmation.
A framework consisting of 5 key elements for sustainable relationships building in FNIM research emerged from the data. The core concept of this framework is having a common goal that is at the center of all decision making, unifies the project team and is the foundation for building sustainable relationships. The 5 key elements need for building sustainable relationships include: investing time; collaborating to create a safe space’ having action-orientated commitment; human connection leads to trust; and being flexible.
This project is unique in that we explored, in a systematic way, how the project team worked together and with FNIM communities to build sustainable relationships in a research context. By understanding ways to build and sustain relationships with FNIM communities, we can better understand their cultural views around cancer as it affects all generations and, in turn, will give insight on ways to improve care.