The ACHH Initiative’s ultimate goal is to gather and combine traditional and Western knowledge to better understand how Indigenous children’s pain is experienced, expressed, interpreted, assessed and treated. What began in one Indigenous community (Eskasoni First Nation) expanded to three maritime communities and will now be expanding to additional communities across the country and internationally in the coming years.
Early research findings suggest that a complex mix of factors have led to a cultural divide for First Nations children in pain and non-Indigenous health care providers. We want to help bridge that gap.
Western-based health care professionals use pain measurements like facial expressions and numeric scales which may not be accurate tools for diagnosis and treatment of Indigenous children’s pain. Issues of discrimination and intergenerational trauma (including residential school experiences), as well as a lack of understanding of cultural traditions by health professionals, have added to the problem.