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2nd in Series: First-ever FASD Prevention Plenary at the 7th International Conference on FASD: PART 1

“Evidence for multi-faceted, culturally relevant, community-led approaches” – Dr. James Fitzpatrick, Head, and Kaashifah Bruce, Program Manager of Telethon Kids Institute’s FASD Research; June Councillor, CEO of Wirraka Maya Aboriginal Health Services; Anne Russell, Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association

Making FASD History newsletter

The “Make FASD History in the Pilbara” program in Western Australia is the result of community-led and culturally relevant efforts within Indigenous communities dealing with the effects of long-term colonization and FASD. It was developed in collaboration and partnership with communities in the Fitzroy Valley and provides strategies and programs to assess and diagnose FASD, as well as to provide health, educational, and management supports to mothers and children.

James Fitzpatrick described earlier successes that underpin this program – like the Lilliwan prevalence project, the PATCHES program to diagnose FASD, and the Marlu Strategy for prevention and intervention (See Video). Dr. Fitzpatrick was nominated in 2016 for the WA Australian of the Year award for his work on FASD.

June Councillor explained the role of the “’Warajanga Marnti Warrarnja” Project – translation Together We Walk This Country – in the strategy and its long-term approach. She featured a video of the project in her remarks. View the program launch Video here.

Kaashifah Bruce presented evaluation results of using this multi-pronged approach that show an increase in: 1) awareness of FASD and the harms caused by drinking in pregnancy; 2) intentions to NOT drink during future pregnancies; and, 3) intentions to help pregnant women not to drink. The encouraging results suggest that this community-led, multi-strategy approach can serve as a blueprint for success in other Aboriginal communities.

LtoR: June Councillor, Anne Russell, Kaashifah Bruce, and James Kirkpatrick

 

Finally, Anne Russell provided a lived-experience viewpoint with examples of how stigma and stereotyping impede prevention efforts. By describing her own as well as other women’s experiences, she underscored how important it is to avoid stereotypes about women and drinking, and to talk with women and communities about what they need and what is important to them.

For more on FASD prevention in Western Australia, see earlier posts:

Alcohol Think Again Campaign in Western Australia (June 19, 2012)

Films from the Lililwan Project: Tristan and Marulu (May 9, 2012)

FASD Campaign from Kimberley and Pilbara Regions of Western Australia (October 22, 2012)

FASD Prevention in Australia’s Ord Valley (October 13, 2011)

Targeting Health Professionals in Western Australia (February 9, 2011)

Getting Fathers Involved (January 4, 2011)

More Activism from Australia (October 19, 2011)

Yajilarra: the story of the women of Fitzroy Crossing (October 15, 2010)

FASD Initiatives in Western Australia (September 15, 2010)

Best Start Resource Centre in Ontario has published a new guide to help facilitators deliver FASD workshops for First Nations women (Download guide). Using culture as its foundation, the guide focuses on promoting health. It also integrates FASD-informed and trauma-informed approaches. It is set up so that facilitators do not have to be an expert on the subject of FASD. The guide provides detailed background information, instructions and resources so that facilitators can fully prepare themselves for delivering the workshops.

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Topics covered in the training guide include:

  • Preparing for the Workshop – covers information like bringing the workshop to communities where there is a concern about the stigma attached to FASD, planning for participant learning differences, as well as handling logistical details.
  • Facilitating the Workshop – includes welcoming activities, giving background about healthy pregnancy, identifying and building on personal strengths, making a plan for health, and drawing on community for support and self care.
  • Resources, Services and Appendices – provided are weblinks to further information and videos; services for pregnancy, parenting, substance use and FASD; participant handouts, and consent forms.

Best Start Resource Centre is well known for its resources for service providers who work with diverse women and families on preconception health, prenatal health and child development.

For more on related topics, see earlier posts:

FASD is a public safety and justice priority for Aboriginal groups, October 23, 2016

Experiences of Northern British Columbian Aboriginal Mothers Raising Adolescents With FASD, January 20, 2014

Pimotisiwin: A Good Path for Pregnant and Parenting Aboriginal Teens, August 26, 2013

“You are not alone. Support is available.” Alcohol and pregnancy campaign designed by and for Aboriginal women in Manitoba, April 10, 2013

Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work from Australia, January 9, 2013

The Sacred Journey – new resource for service providers who work with First Nations families, August 1, 2012

Aboriginal Comic Book for Pregnant Women and New Moms, May 1, 2012

Pregnancy and Alcohol Brochure for Aboriginal Families, January 30, 2012

Aboriginal midwifery and Poverty & Pregnancy in Aboriginal Communities, August 17, 2011

Edmonton inner-city program - Aboriginal - CBC'

The Healthy, Empowered and Resilient (H.E.R.) Pregnancy Program in Edmonton, Alberta uses professional staff and peer support workers to reach at-risk pregnant and parenting women in inner city Edmonton. The program, developed by Streetworks, supports street-involved women to access healthcare services before and throughout their pregnancy and address issues such as addiction, poverty and family violence.

CBC News featured the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program last week in the article “Pregnant aboriginal women find ‘world of difference’ in Edmonton inner-city program” (July 27, 2015). Nikki Wiart interviewed staff and clients of the program and learned about the importance of outreach, peer support, and the impact of early engagement with services on pregnancy and parenting outcomes.

90% of the program’s clients are Aboriginal while 50% of the staff is Aboriginal. Morgan Chalifoux, a pregnancy support worker, with the program describes how her personal experiences as a teen mother and living on the streets can make a difference: “”Honestly, if I wasn’t aboriginal, if I didn’t have the experience, if I didn’t use when I was on the street, if I didn’t understand what it was like to have my son threatened to be taken away from me … I wouldn’t be able to have the success that I have now with the clients.”

The program uses a harm reduction approach to addressing alcohol and other substance use during pregnancy. An evaluation of the program found that:

  • 76% of 139 pregnant women who connected with the program reported substance use, typically alcohol (32%), marijuana, and other drugs
  • While connected with the program, women reported elimination of use (40%), safer use (37%), and reduction of substance use (26%) at least once during their pregnancy with the program

The Alberta government has committed to funding the program for another three years as well as developing similar programs in Red Deer and Calgary.

For more on the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program, see earlier posts:

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Colleen Dell, University of Saskatchewan professor and Research Chair in Substance Abuse, has developed a number of resources for addressing substance abuse.

Most of the resources can be downloaded for free or ordered (also free) from her website.

Take a look at the list of resources here.

Several of the resources include music videos and accompanying workshop tools developed through community-based research. Check out the videos below.

Also, take a look at a brief clip of Colleen and her therapy dog, Anna-Belle. For more about animal-assisted interventions in healing from substance abuse, check out this part of the website.

 

nursing for women's health

Earlier this year, Sherri Di Lallo wrote an article for the journal Nursing for Women’s Health called “Prenatal Care Through the Eyes of Canadian Aboriginal Women” (Vol 18, Issue 1, pp. 38-46).

The article provides an overview of the Aboriginal Prenatal Wellness Program (APWP) in central Alberta, Canada. The four Maskwacis First Nations of Hobbema border Wetaskiwin and Ponoka Counties in Central Alberta and have a total population of 13,784 people.

The Aboriginal Prenatal Wellness Program is a culturally safe program that provides client-centered prenatal care that is designed to empower women, families and communities.

The program was created in 2005 to serve Aboriginal women who weren’t accessing the traditional system for prenatal care. Between 2002 and 2007, 16.5 percent of all women in Central Alberta who delivered at Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre had received little or no prenatal care prior to their delivery. Of those, 82 percent were from the Maskwacis area.

The article discusses aspects of providing culturally safe care, including the importance of assessing cultural biases, understanding the roots of health disparities in Aboriginal communities, and understanding cultural history and current practices. Central to cultural safety is self-reflection and building trustful and respectful relationships.

The article provides a summary of an evaluation of the program. Overall, between November 2005 and February 2009, 281 women participated in the program and the percentage of women having limited or no prenatal care dropped.

In terms of substance use, forty-four percent of women stated that they quit drinking and using drugs once they found out they were pregnant while 39 percent decreased their smoking and 16 percent quit smoking.

For more on cultural safety and FASD prevention, see earlier posts:

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The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre in Winnipeg delivers children in care and community based programs and services to Aboriginal families.

Check out tweets from the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre from yesterday (International FASD Awareness Day).

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Learn more about the organization on its website or view the YouTube clip below.

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Celebrating the Circle of Life: Coming back to Balance and Harmony: A guide to emotional health in pregnancy and early motherhood for Aboriginal women and their families is a guide developed by Perinatal Services BC and the BC Reproductive Mental Health Program, a program of BC Mental Health & Addiction Services.

The guide has seven parts:

  • Introduction
  • Part 1 – Basic Aboriginal Teachings
  • Part 2 – Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the first year of being a parent
  • Part 3 – Feelings during Pregnancy and After the Birth
  • Part 4 – Coming back to Balance and Harmony
  • Part 5 – For Partners, Family and Friends
  • Part 6 – Resources

Alcohol use is discussed throughout the guide, including in the sections about pregnancy and the first year of being a mother.

The guide was developed for:

  • Aboriginal Women – This guide was created to help soon-to-be and new mothers who are worried about their mood and/or experiencing depression.  The guide is focused on emotional health and includes information on what to expect and how to cope with all of the changes that come with pregnancy and a new baby.
  • Health Care Providers – This guide can also be used by healthcare providers who work with Aboriginal women and their families in the Perinatal period, especially those who may be experiencing baby blues or depression.
  • Partners, Families & Friends – Part five is written for partners, families and friends and includes information on how to support a woman during pregnancy, childbirth and the early months of being a parent.

The guide can be downloaded from the Perinatal Services BC website.

 

Pages from pimotosiwin_july19b

The Best Start Resource Centre in Ontario, Canada has released a new resource for service providers called Pimotisiwin: A Good Path for Pregnant and Parenting Aboriginal Teens.

Pimotisiwin is an Ojibwe word that means following a good way or a good path. The resource is intended to help service providers support Aboriginal children and youth to live a good life, on a good path.

The content is relevant to health care providers, early childhood educators, teachers, prenatal service providers, parenting program staff, and others who come into contact with Aboriginal teens who are pregnant or parenting. The resource may be most useful to non-Aboriginal service providers who want to strengthen their services for Aboriginal youth. The content may also be useful for new Aboriginal staff, providing an orientation to the prenatal and parenting needs of Aboriginal youth.

Substance use is included as an area for discussion during pregnancy. The resource provides background on why Aboriginal teens might use substances:

“Substance use can be seen as a way to cope with past and present traumas, self-medicate for undiagnosed mental health concerns, or cope with serious ongoing stresses such as poverty or abuse. Substance use can include alcohol, solvents such as glue and gas, street drugs, misuse of prescription drugs, etc.’

This resource is available for free download from the Best Start Resource Centre’s website here.

For more resources for service providers on working with Aboriginal women during the perinatal period, see previous posts:

New poster and brochure from Healthy Child Manitoba

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It is important for women to receive clear and supportive information about staying as healthy as possible during pregnancy. This includes receiving appropriate culturally sensitive information about the potential impact of alcohol on pregnancy and ways of preventing FASD.

Women accessing the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba wanted to get this message out to their community. Working with nursing students on practicum, and with help from the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre and Mount Carmel Clinic, they designed the message they wanted women to hear and know: “You are not Alone. Support is available.” Download the poster as a PDF here.

Healthy Child Manitoba worked with the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre at the final design and production stages providing: (1) helpful suggestions about design qualities including the final placement of visuals on the posters and brochures, (2) accurate message and content information for the posters and brochures, and (3) the financial resources for the production of the posters, brochures and promotional items.

Learn more about other FASD prevention initiatives in Manitoba, including Project Choices and the InSight Mentoring Program, on the Healthy Child Manitoba website.

For more on alcohol and pregnancy awareness initiatives in indigenous communities, see earlier posts:

Handbook Cover

“The Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work is a practical tool written for Aboriginal drug and alcohol workers, mental health workers and others working in this field. It offers a detailed look at alcohol and drug work from clinical, through to prevention, early intervention and harm reduction. This handbook is also likely to help people working to improve policy and those advocating for change.

The idea for it came from workers all over Australia. They told us that they needed an easy to use handbook that can help them respond to the range of alcohol and drug issues they face every day. They also told us that such a book needs to take into account the complex challenges facing workers when helping clients, their families and, sometimes, whole communities.”

This plain language, evidence-based guide was created in partnership between the University of Sydney and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal agencies and health professionals. Four of the six editors are Aboriginal.

It covers alcohol and drug use as well as a whole range of other issues, including child protection notifications, legal issues, working with clients without housing, mental health and polydrug use, and community-wide approaches.

Chapter 2 focuses on alcohol and Chapter 16 focuses on Special situations, settings, and groups, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and early childhood. It discusses the use of brief intervention and counselling approaches in the context of alcohol and pregnancy. It also has sections covering Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, Alcohol use in pregnancy and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

The handbook was first distributed to alcohol and drug professionals from around Australia at the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference in Western Australia in June 2012.

The project started in 2010 with a grant from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and continued with the support of the NSW Ministry of Health.

The handbook is available online.

Overview: Four Levels of FASD Prevention

Information Sheet: What Men Can Do To Prevent FASD

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