January 10, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Ten years after the Inuit Health Survey was completed in 2007-08, researchers are reaching out to 2,500 participants in Nunavut, Nunatsiavut and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) of the Northwest Territories to seek consent to maintain data for continued study and comparison to results of future Inuit Health Surveys.
The 2007-08 International Polar Year Inuit Health Survey, known as Qanuippitali: How about us, how are we?, was the first comprehensive research project to look at the health of Inuit in these three Inuit regions. A separate Inuit Health Survey project operated independently in Nunavik in 2004 with a second survey in the region being conducted this year.
“The Inuit Health Survey has contributed greatly to our understanding of Inuit health in Inuit Nunangat. Inuit-supported research is critical to informing the design of policies that influence our quality of life,” said Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
“Inuit should feel free to provide their consent to the continued storage of their data knowing that it will be of great value in the development of robust policies and programming in our communities. Those who deny their consent should do so with the full understanding that their wishes will be respected.”
Informed consent is a critical part of the landmark research project. Participants were given the option in 2007-08 to be contacted before that deadline so that they could decide whether to extend their consent to preserve information such as personal identifiers (name, address and date of birth) and blood samples. Participants who re-consent can chose to be contacted again for the same purpose in 2025.
The continued storage of the data and samples provides insight into changes in Inuit health over time. All data is held in strict confidentiality at McGill University in Montreal. Individual names do not appear in any of the research data forms or samples collected.
The regional Inuit organizations including Nunatsiavut Government, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in partnership with McGill University are conducting the re-consent. This is being done in support from the Government of Nunavut, the Government of the Northwest Territories and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. Individuals will be contacted by a local study representative working with these organizations. The next Inuit Health Survey is currently being developed.
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