The CommunityFirst Approach: Reorienting the COVID-19 pandemic response in Indigenous communities through empowerment, autonomy and ownership for health and wellbeing
The COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Impact Grant (Co-RIG) Program: Phase II focuses on innovations and initiatives that prepare family physicians and their interprofessional teams to cope with challenges related to the pandemic and its long-term impact.
This week we are highlighting the CommunityFirst Approach: Reorienting the COVID-19 pandemic response in Indigenous communities through empowerment, autonomy and ownership for health and wellbeing project. Led by Dr. Sumeet Sodhi, the project includes partner organizations Ilisaqsivik, an Inuit-led community wellness organization; SeeChange Initiative, a Canadian advocacy non-profit organization; and the University of Toronto, Department Of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM).
The goal of the project is to build resilience and autonomy within some of Canada’s most vulnerable and isolated communities and to support Indigenous partners as they respond effectively to health crises with a strengths-based and solution-focused framework.
Through this work, Dr. Sodhi and her team have co-developed the CommunityFirst approach, which allows and encourages communities to leverage their assets and identify priorities for action. The CommunityFirst model incorporates the values of solidarity, humility, humanity, and community, with the implementation focusing on incorporating culturally appropriate responses. These values lead to ownership for priority setting and the development of beneficial partnerships with governments and organizations to increase agency at the community level and improve autonomy at a pragmatic level.
Dr. Sodhi and her partners have made great strides while implementing the CommunityFirst approach including the development of a trauma-informed community workshop incorporating a cycle of connection, engagement, co-creation, and reflection. This workshop created the CommunityFirst Roadmap providing a straightforward and adaptable action plan with verified resources aligned with World Health Organization guidelines and best available, evidence-based recommendations. All of this works together in a cohesive harmony to help those impacted by trauma be self-sufficient, agile, and responsive in a community-forward way.
LinkedIn: @University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine