A letter to community partners and collaborators
from Bernice Downey
Assistant professor, Nursing and Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
Acting director, McMaster Indigenous Research Institute
Indigenous Health lead, Faculty of Health Sciences

Over the past two months, we’ve seen significant changes in our lives from the rapidly-evolving global pandemic, COVID-19, both from a personal and communal standpoint.

I would like to recognize that while this is a challenging and stressful time for all Canadians, it is especially difficult for many Indigenous peoples and communities due to social, political, and economic factors that exacerbate many pre-existing problems. The emerging issues from the COVID-19 will have a significant impact on Indigenous peoples who have comorbid medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as members who need to work while also having to look after their family members.

While it is unclear how long the pandemic and its effects will last, I would like to encourage our community partners and collaborators to be resilient, self-determined, and strong-willed.

Over the past two years, McMaster University and its Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) have been working to address the current state of Indigenous health inequity in Canada which is linked to the overall impact of colonization and assimilative government policy. In the spirit of reciprocity, the FHS strives to support potential information needs of our local and regional community collaborators or others who are seeking to raise awareness or support them.

The Faculty of Health Sciences, Indigenous Health Initiatve will continue to post helpful resources on the website - healthsci.mcmaster.ca/ihi/resources  This site also provides the link to the McMaster University COVID-19 Updates site at: covid19.mcmaster.ca/

Also see the information provided by the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health at https://www.nccih.ca/485/NCCIH_in_the_News.nccih?id=450

The Public Health Ontario site for current public health guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19 disease is here: - https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus/public-resources