The First Nations Health Managers Association held its third Weekly COVID-19 Town Hall livestream on three platforms. The town hall was livestreamed at ihtoday.ca/townhall/; www.facebook.com/fnhma/; and www.facebook.com/APTNNews/.
“Having access to credible information is crucial at this time,” says Marion Crowe, CEO of the First Nations Health Managers Association, during an April 10 phone interview. “(We’re) having subject matter experts, health leaders being available to First Nations across Canada (for them) to ask questions, get answers and have credible sources of information.”
The town hall featured Valerie Gideon, senior assistant deputy minister, Regional Operations, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch; Carol Hopkins, executive director, Thunderbird Partnership Foundation; Brenda Restoule, CEO, First Peoples Wellness Circle; and Dr. Tom Wong, executive director and chief medical officer of Public Health, Indigenous Services Canada.
“People are very grateful to have a community-perspective town hall so it mimics our gatherings, but to be able to do it virtual and having it Indigenous-led,” Crowe says, noting there were about 4,200 live viewers on April 9 and more than 8,000 on March 25. “So (we’re) inviting First Nation organizations, having First Nation subject matter experts for the most part.”
Crowe says the town halls are a “great resource” for people involved with Indigenous health.
“Not that there aren’t gaps, but trying to get answers to questions on those gaps is what we’re trying to facilitate,” Crowe says. “We’re taking e-mailed questions so I dig through the inbox every Thursday and pull out questions and ask the applicable subject matter expert to answer them. We’ve had numerous questions with respect to funding (that is) available, questions like yesterday around PPEs (personal protection equipment), COVID-19 screening questions. There were a lot last week on culture and mental health resources that are available.”
People can send their questions to: FNHMA@ihtoday.ca.
Crowe says the April 16 town hall, which was scheduled to focus on youth, will probably be the biggest yet with an expected attendance of about 10,000 live viewers.
Crowe says all of the town halls are posted online at ihtoday.ca/townhall/ for people to view at a convenient time.
“We want to make sure that stays up,” Crowe says. “We wanted to make sure that it is something that people can tune into at their own time.”
The First Nations Health Managers Association currently plans to livestream the town halls every Thursday until May 21.
“We had planned to do eight town halls and we will re-evaluate after that,” Crowe says. “We are definitely reaching out to our viewers to ask them for feedback on what they want to see and what is a helpful resource.”
Crowe says one of the upcoming livestreams will feature We Matter, an Indigenous youth-led and nationally registered organization dedicated to Indigenous youth support, hope and life promotion.
The town halls are provided at no cost and are open for health managers, front-line health workers, First Nation citizens and the general public who are looking for information and advice related to COVID-19.