Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey Q+A
1. How is this survey different from previous Inuit health surveys?
While Inuit are asked to take part in many surveys, most are not developed and controlled by Inuit. Past surveys have been led primarily by southern academics. The questions asked are not always relevant to us and do not focus on our priorities. Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey is a survey by Inuit and for Inuit. It is the only Inuit controlled health survey that includes Inuit of all ages from all communities across the four Inuit regions. All information from the survey will be owned by Inuit. For the first time, all Inuit regions are working in partnership to develop and carry out the survey. Uniquely, one of the goals of the survey is to provide training and resources to help develop the skills required by Inuit to conduct our own surveys on a regular, ongoing basis. This helps ensure that Inuit have greater control over research and that survey and research-related expertise and jobs stay in Inuit communities.
While there have been several Inuit health surveys in Nunavik, and one in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut and Nunatsiavut in 2007-2008, Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey includes all four Inuit regions. Regional representatives have worked together towards a survey that reflects their common priorities. Regional comparisons can point to best practices and regions can learn from the experiences of others.
2. When will data collection begin and what type of information will be collected?
The survey will be launched in Inuit communities in 2021 and will take place every five years. Survey questions will be determined based on the priorities of Inuit regions. The survey makes use of an Inuit-specific determinants of health framework and as such will include questions on education, language, housing and food security and other determinants. Additional information will be gathered on a host of health-focused themes such as chronic conditions, access to health services, mental wellness, injuries and harvesting, among others.
3. What will data collection “look like” for Inuit? What can participants expect to experience?
In previous years, the Amundsen Coast Guard ship was used to host survey participants. The ship was very expensive, and its arrival in communities was sometimes delayed because of weather and other factors. Not everyone could go aboard the ship, due to age and other restrictions. A different approach will be taken for Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey. Land-based teams, consisting of interviewers, counsellors, logistics managers and others will arrive in each community prior to data collection. They will work with a local team of community members to roll out the survey and to ensure that the survey experience is a good one for participants. Because interviews will take place in the community, rather than on the ship, Inuit of all ages and abilities may be selected for participation.
4. How will survey data and findings be used?
Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey will collect up-to-date information required by communities, Inuit regional governments and others to better understand the health challenges that Inuit face. Data from the survey will be owned and controlled by Inuit and will reflect health priorities determined by Inuit. The survey will provide actionable information to help develop health-related programs at the community, regional and national levels. The survey will take place on a regular basis allowing Inuit organizations to see how the health of Inuit and our communities are changing and where resources need to be invested.
5. This survey is being called “permanent” – in what way is it permanent?
Funding has been secured to ensure that the survey will take place on an ongoing, regularly scheduled basis, rather than on an ad hoc basis as was the case with previous survey iterations. Data collected at regular intervals can be used to monitor change over time, assist with program planning and can contribute to the development of interventions aimed at improving the health of Inuit.
6. Some people have pointed out that the majority of the information from the Qanuippitali? Inuit health survey was never made public – how will results from this survey be conveyed back to participants, as well as to Inuit and the general public?
Much has been learned from previous experiences. From the beginning of survey planning, considerable thought has been given to the dissemination of Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey results. Detailed timelines are being developed to ensure that key findings get back to survey participants and interested Inuit in every region in a timely, culturally appropriate way. Because the entire survey process, including data dissemination, is Inuit-controlled, information will reflect the health priorities of Inuit. In addition, data access protocols will be developed for researchers and others who may wish to explore survey results. Survey communications will be overseen by a team appointed by Inuit organizations, and a dissemination strategy, determined by Inuit, will be developed to ensure that information flows to a wide audience in the most appropriate and timely way.
7. When will survey results be made public? Where will the survey’s information be stored and where will it be publicly accessed?
The survey will begin in Inuit communities in 2021, with the results available as early as 2023-2024. Regions will work with communities to determine how best to share results. As survey data will be controlled and owned by Inuit regions, discussions are underway to determine how and where survey data should be stored. Inuit access to survey results is a priority. Specific protocols around access to the data are currently under discussion and details will be provided at a later date.
8. Are there any specific areas the survey will focus on? Ex: child sexual abuse, mental health etc.?
Information on a wide variety of topics will be available for Inuit of all ages – children, youth, adults and seniors. Discussions are currently underway to determine the content of the adult questionnaire. All regions have expressed interest in data on numerous topics such as smoking, cannabis and other drug use, mental health, access to and perception of health care services, suicide, food security and others. In time, similar discussions will take place to determine questions asked on the child and youth questionnaires.
9. What does the name Qanuippitaa? mean, and wasn’t that also the name of the Nunavik survey in 2004?
Qanuippitaa? means “How are we?” This name was used for the 2004 Nunavik Inuit Health Survey and was chosen by all regions for the national survey as it speaks to one of the main goals of the upcoming survey – to provide an overview of the health and wellness of Inuit.