- Caroline Tait, PhD, Medical Anthropologist, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan; Executive Director, First Nations and Métis Health Research Network; citizen of Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
- Michael Moser MD, Transplant Surgeon, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Background/Rationale: Indigenous peoples carry a heavier burden of chronic disease and associated risk factors than other populations in Canada, with rates of diabetes being particularly elevated. In Saskatchewan, for example, First Nations and Métis people are overrepresented on waiting lists for kidney transplants: while Indigenous people make up 16.3 per cent of the provincial population, over half of those on the waiting list for a kidney transplant self-identify as First Nations or Métis in an informal audit. However, to date there has been little research focused on Indigenous people and organ donation and transplantation (ODT) in Canada. A commonly held belief among Canadian health care workers is that Indigenous people are not in favor of organ donation or transplantation, and yet it is more complex than this, with varying beliefs dependent on the age group, rural or urban status, Indigenous identity (e.g. Cree, Saulteaux, Métis, Inuit), and immediacy of transplant need, among other factors. Population, Study Design: To explore this complex area of health more, we convened a think tank of Indigenous Elders and knowledge keepers, Indigenous transplant recipients and living donors, Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, transplant surgeons, physicians and other healthcare providers. This think tank has met monthly since May 2019, funded with several research grants. The think tank is part of a larger mixed methods study on ODT and Indigenous people in Canada. Key Results/Conclusions to date: What is clear from our ongoing discussions is the desire of Indigenous peoples to have more information about organ donation and transplantation, the need for greater inclusion of Indigenous health leaders in provincial and national ODT decision making, and healthcare systems to be better informed and responsive to the needs of Indigenous patients and families, including addressing questions of healthcare equity.
- describe the Canadian organ donation and transplantation environment, especially related to Indigenous people (First Nations, Métis and Inuit)
- understand why Indigenous people are overrepresented on organ waiting lists, and barriers they face in receiving or donating organs
- Discuss why healthcare systems need to be more responsive to needs of Indigenous people, and involve Indigenous healthcare leaders in decisionmaking