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Our goal is to reduce the risks and harms associated with cannabis use by uplifting the voices of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people to inform the development of culturally safe, trauma-informed public health education, and future policy and research.
Abrar Ali, MD, MPH
Director of Health
In the area of cannabis, NWAC’s Health Unit works to reduce the risks and harms associated with cannabis use by uplifting the voices of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. One of the ways we do this is through the development of culturally safe, trauma-informed public health education. We also engage in policy and research work.
In 2018, Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program provided funding to community-based organizations across the country to provide cannabis public education and awareness initiatives to their constituents. NWAC used this funding to develop a community-informed approach to cannabis public education and awareness for Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
In 2021, NWAC also began work on a one-year catalyst grant, funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Our goal for this project is to explore the cannabis and mental health needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women and gender-diverse people. We are using the knowledge gained from engaging with these groups to develop an online knowledge-sharing platform. The platform will connect community leaders who work with Indigenous women and gender-diverse people living with mental health issues.
In both projects, NWAC actively engaged with urban, rural, and remote Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) communities to identify the priorities of Indigenous women and gender-diverse people related to cannabis and health.