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University of Northern British Columbia

Investigating bottlenecks and barriers to cancer care in Haida Gwaii (Dr. Robert Olson/Dr.Tracy Morton)

The project idea is in response to a specific request to the principal investigator from health care providers, on behalf of the people in Haida Gwaii, to address difficulties concerning cancer diagnosis and care in isolated Aboriginal communities. Not only does geographical isolation make it difficult to access tertiary services, but social and cultural factors form potential barriers to accessing cancer services. The health care providers identified a need for a comprehensive electronic database of their entire population, which will enable them to participate in health care improvements and research. A research team, comprised of experts in family practice, Aboriginal health, information technology, oncology, epidemiology and biostatistics will identify all patients with a histologically confirmed diagnosis of cancer in Haida Gwaii and collect demographic data, family and personal medical histories and lifestyle information for each patient. All data will be populated in a database that will allow for analysis to identify common delays in care, survival analysis and statistical comparisons of Aboriginal vs. non-Aboriginal patients for each outcome. This project has the potential to improve Aboriginal care in Haida Gwaii and other Aboriginal remote communities by identifying bottlenecks and barriers in care and advocating for measures to address these issues; through education and resource allocation.