This study examined the way health care is delivered in the six disparate Inuit regions of Canada, among populations that have the highest suicide rate, lowest life expectancy, and highest birth rate of all Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Using a holistic, population health-based approach in interviews with 41 key informants and an evaluation of commentary from the Inuit Health Policy Forum, this report lays the foundation for a future analysis of models of health care delivery. It finds that mental health issues and suicide prevention are considered top priorities in all Inuit regions and that all communities have basic, front-line nursing services, although staff shortages are straining the system. Regional differences are evident with respect to physician care. There is a general need for an emphasis on prevention, education, and health promotion and a need for Inuit involvement at all levels of the system in order to integrate traditional knowledge and culture.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.