Improved Care and Prevention Understanding diabetes in First Nations communities

Michael Green, Queen’s University
Michael Green, Queen’s University

Reducing the burden of Diabetes on First Nations people in Ontario: using population level data to inform policy and practice


  • Diabetes is a well-known challenge in First Nations populations. Understanding diabetes and its consequences is important to First Nations organizations and communities. Decisions made at the health system and policy levels can impact how well First Nations people and communities can prevent diabetes, manage diabetes, and cope with the long-term complications of diabetes.


  • In close partnership with the Chiefs of Ontario (COO), this study will examine the health care experiences of First Nations people with diabetes in Ontario. It will describe in detail: changes in the rates of diabetes and its complications over the past 20 years; how access to healthcare for First Nations people compares to other Ontarians; and, how particular policies have impacted either health outcomes or access to care for First Nations people with diabetes.
  • By working closely with patients and key stakeholders from federal, provincial and First Nations organizations, the study will identify and evaluate key policy changes that are important and where data is needed to improve decision making.

Patient engagement

  • The project represents a partnership between the research community and the Chiefs of Ontario (a political forum and secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario). Chiefs of Ontario collaborated in the development of the research questions and the research approaches used in the project.
  • The project team also established a First Nations Patient Perspectives Advisory Group composed of 8 First Nations people from diverse settings who either have diabetes or who have close family members with diabetes. The advisory group meets regularly with the research team and provides input into all aspects of the project including input into our analysis and interpretation of results and advice on knowledge translation strategies.


Photo Credit: Centre for Rural and Northern Research