Introduction Little is known about the sexual health needs that exist for many Aboriginal First Nations communities. As such, it is imperative that communities are given the opportunity to engage effectively in community-based research (CBR) and be involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of sexual health policies/programmes from inception. Within this backdrop however, are Aboriginal communities ready and/or able to engage in CBR?
Objective The primary objective of our intended study was to identify and prioritise the sexual health needs of local First Nations Aboriginal communities (Mi’Kmaq and Malaseet) in Atlantic Canada through the use of an online needs assessment questionnaire.
Method Self identified Aboriginal Community members between the ages of 15–65, from seven First Nations were recruited to participate in a confidential/anonymous, online questionnaire through the Dalhousie University OPINIO web-based interface. The questionnaire was developed and validated with four First Nations Communities in Phases one and two of the project and, was also available as a hard copy for those not having computer access. Promotion of the survey was done through posters and word of mouth at the Community Health Centres and, through flyers. A draw incentive of fifty- dollar gift certificates was also offered to participants. Once collected the data was going to be used to help communities identify and prioritise sexual health needs to ensure better appropriation of sexual health services.
Results Despite aggressive and repeated recruitment strategies, only 132 surveys (electronic and hardcopy) from a prospective sample of 2003 community members meeting the inclusion criteria (combined 7 communities) were collected, giving a response rate of 6.5%. Due to limited sample size, there were no meaningful results obtained.
Conclusion There are several lessons learned about engaging Atlantic Aboriginal First Nations communities in sexual health research that will be explored in the body of this report.
- community based research
- Indeginous Health
- Sexual health program development
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