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Fam Pract. 2017 Jul 24. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmx068. [Epub ahead of print]

Evaluating an Indigenous health curriculum for diabetes prevention: engaging the community through talking circles and knowledge translation of results.

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Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project, Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada.



Kahnawà:ke is a Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) community in Quebec, Canada. In 1997, the community-controlled Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre in partnership with the Kahnawake Education Center, and the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project (KSDPP) developed an elementary school diabetes prevention health education program, aimed to increase knowledge of Type 2 diabetes, healthy eating and active lifestyles. Long-term goals for KSDPP community and school interventions are to decrease obesity and diabetes.


To evaluate the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre Health Education Program for Diabetes Prevention (HEP) and use key principles of knowledge translation to promote understanding of results to upgrade HEP content and improve delivery.


A KSDPP community-based participatory research team used mixed methods for evaluation, combining a cross-sectional survey for 23 teachers with interviews of two elementary school principals and three culturally appropriate Indigenous talking circles with HEP authors, teachers and parents. Questionnaire results were presented as descriptive statistics. The thematic textual analysis identified emerging themes from talking circles and interviews.


Facilitators of HEP delivery were an acknowledgement of its importance; appreciation of prepared lesson plans for teachers; and KSDPP's strong community presence. Barriers included reduced administrative support and instructional time due to competing academic demands; the need for increased Kanien'kehá:ka cultural content; and outdated resource materials. Recommendations included increasing teacher training, Kanien'kehá:ka cultural content and administrative support.


Community researchers undertook detailed knowledge translation activities of facilitators, barriers and recommendations with hospital and education centre administrators and Kahnawà:ke community to maximize uptake of findings before external dissemination of results.


Aboriginal health/native populations; community medicine; prevention; school health education; talking circles

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