A new initiative by Alberta Health Services here in the South Zone is aiming to improve outcomes and address health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients.

For instance, research shows life expectancy for First Nations in Alberta is 10 years shorter than non-First Nations.

The Indigenous Patient Navigation Service includes community and clinic profiles to identify health services and supports, both on and off reserve; an Indigenous Patient Passport to help guide patients’ plan of care; and a medical body chart translated into the Blackfoot language.

Registered nurse and member of the Blood Tribe, Chloe Crosschild, was hired as a full-time Indigenous patient navigator, as well and says her own healthcare experiences fuel her passion to close the health equity gap in the South Zone.

“This position will better assist Indigenous Peoples to navigate the complex array of programs and services AHS has to offer. In doing so, my hope is that Indigenous Peoples will experience positive and meaningful encounters with the healthcare system,” says Crosschild.

AHS and Indigenous stakeholders co-designed this service following community engagement sessions last year where many local Indigenous patients expressed frustration that they were unaware and overwhelmed by the range of services Alberta Health offers.