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Getting ready for January

Our Community Advisory Boards met via teleconference at the end of November to discussion final protocols and approve the questionnaires and program evaluation materials.  Les and I just returned from Winnipeg where we completed our facilitator and interviewer training sessions after nightmarish flight delays due to the Minneapolis Blizzard of 2012!  We didn’t make it to Winnipeg until half way through the first day, but our communities were able to use the morning to collaborate and share information, so it actually worked out nicely.

As Melissa mentioned in a previous post: We unveiled the revised manual (which has changed based on community feedback), reiterated the importance of program fidelity, and trained interviewers and the team about research guidelines, interviewing techniques, and evaluation protocols.  The communities provided really great feedback and suggested a few important changes that need to be made before we go live in January.

Recruitment is set to begin in the coming weeks with our first community beginning their pre-testing in Mid-January. If all goes well, we should have all four of the reserves in the field by mid-March.  Right now we are focusing on proofing our materials and sending them to printing, so we are ready for a quick start in 2013.

Devan Crawford, Director of Research Analysis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Weytkp !

Weytkp ! from Splatsin Territory in Enderby BC

We are pleased to report on our progress on the project that we began during the last week of September. We just wrapped up session #8 this week after having to postpone the sessions over the past two weeks due to funeral services that occurred in the community.

After the first few sessions, we found a nice routine that was enjoyable for all the participants. It was clear that the highlights for everyone were the great food followed by traditional stories told by our elder, Julianna Alexander. Everyone jammed onto the circle of couches and were swept away with the tales of Coyote and Bear, and various other characters from the past. Our stories have been followed by weekly traditional Secwepemc words that Julianna teaches us how to pronounce (the first being the greeting: Weytkp, as seen above).

Elder Julianna Alexander arranges some of the prizes for the participants

We have been getting great feedback from our participants and it is clear that both youth and parents are eager for the Wednesday night sessions to come around each week (the parents reported that there were a few disappointed youth when we had to postpone the sessions recently). Perhaps part of the excited anticipation is for the great food, prizes, and great company. It didn’t take long for the name tags to be unnecessary as we quickly familiarized ourselves with each other through the activities and the thoughtful discussions each night. We have a very diverse group in ages, ranging from 10 to 17 with our youth, but despite the spread in ages, it is working out wonderfully. Our parents have been eager to share their stories of successes and challenges in their roles as parents. We have had some great moments where families report moments through their weeks where they successfully applied skills learned in the previous week in their daily lives.

Cookies!

The facilitators meet outside of the session times each week on a fairly regular basis each week as we make final adjustments and changes as needed and continue to compensate for the missing resources (games, puzzles, videos, etc) that are used in the original program. We also gather an hour before our 5pm start time to make final preparations, room set up, create the chart paper outlines and review traditional words, and of course, brew some coffee for the parents…. or perhaps more for the facilitators.

Splatsin family and youth participants with facilitators

We will complete session #9 next week and then break for the holidays and return in January for a busy three weeks as we plan to do two sessions a week to catch up on the missed sessions before our targeted final celebration and evaluation throughout the week of Jan 21, 2013.

kukwstsétsemc (thank you) for reading!
from the Splatsin Team: Julianna, Jodi, Deanna, Raven, and Don

Behind the scenes at University of Minnesota-Duluth

The most important thing to report on at the moment is our appreciation of project manager Devan Crawford. She has tirelessly worked to resolve the international money issues, accounting rules, and all of the associated red tape on top of her other duties.  A current issue we face is navigating our way through 3 ethics review boards (again) — we need to submit new protocol for our planned January program launch and are working with University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Jewish General Hospital ethics review groups.  Fun!
Our Community Advisory Boards, UNL, and UMN will meet via teleconference in 2 weeks for final discussion and hopeful board approval of the questionnaires to be included in the program evaluation. Devan and Les will be meeting in Winnipeg in early December to complete our facilitator and interviewer training sessions (I can’t go due to teaching obligations).  There, they plan to unveil the revised manual (which has changed based on community feedback), reiterate the importance of program fidelity, and train interviewers and the team about research guidelines, interviewing techniques, etc. This will also be an opportunity for our community partners to share experiences and provide recommendations to the University team members.
In closing, our team felt that the last Montreal gathering was incredibly successful – I’m attaching a photo of some of us in attendance.  Hope to see you all soon!
Melissa Walls

Update from our team in Québec (FNQLHSSC)

Traditional Mi'gmaq site at Gesgapegiag

My name is Audrey Vézina and I have been working for the FNQLHSSC as a mental health adviser since 2009. I coordinate the adaptation and implementation of the intervention for communities in Quebec.

Since May 2012, Gesgapegiag, a Mi’gmaq community near the town of Maria in Baie des Chaleurs and Mashteuiatsh, an Innu community located near Roberval, Lac Saint-Jean, have been working on the Culturally-Based, Family-Centered Mental Health Promotion program for Aboriginal Youth.

 

The Mashteuiatsh team: Maggie Robertson, Jacinthe Connolly, Diane Paul, Meggie Noël and Julie Girard

 

The cultural adaptation will soon be completed and group sessions will begin next January. The teams involved are as motivated as they are creative. For instance, they decided to include a cultural exchange trip which will take place at the end of the intervention. Thus, participating families will be welcomed into and have a chance to host the other Nation. The 14 group sessions will be adapted to the preparation of the trip and to participants’ ability to make discover their culture to others. This journey-discovery is an initiative that will engage parents and youth towards a common goal throughout the intervention, and will strengthen links between communities through their culture.

 

 

Mashteuiatsh Health Centre

 

Mise à jour de notre équipe au Québec (CSSSPNQL)

Site traditionnel Mi'gmaq à Gesgapegiag

 

Je me nomme Audrey Vézina et travaille depuis 2009 à la CSSSPNQL, comme conseillère en santé mentale. Je coordonne l’adaptation et la mise en œuvre de cette  intervention auprès des communautés du Québec.

Depuis mai 2012, Gesgapegiag, communauté Mi’gmaq située près de la ville de Maria, dans la Baie des Chaleurs et Mashteuiatsh, communauté Innue se trouvant près de Roberval, au Lac Saint-Jean, font partie du programme de promotion de la santé mentale pour les jeunes Autochtones.

 

L’équipe de Mashteuiatsh : Maggie Robertson, Jacinthe Connolly, Diane Paul, Meggie Noël et Julie Girard

 

Les travaux d’adaptation culturelle seront bientôt achevés et les sessions de groupe débuteront en janvier prochain. Les équipes font preuve de motivation autant que de créativité, dans l’adaptation de l’intervention. À titre d’exemple, elles ont décidé d’inclure un voyage d’échange culturel qui se déroulera à la fin de cette intervention. Ainsi, les familles participantes seront accueillies et accueilleront par la suite l’autre Nation. Les 14 sessions seront à la fois adaptées à la préparation du voyage et à la capacité des participants à faire découvrir leur culture. Ce périple-découverte est une initiative qui mobilisera les parents et les jeunes vers un objectif commun durant toute l’intervention, et qui renforcera les liens entre les communautés au moyen de leur culture.

 

Mashteuiatsh Centre de Santé


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