Diabetes Treatment and Care

To support diabetes treatment and care in Northern Ontario we partner with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA), which provides a variety of health services to 33 largely fly-in communities. There are over 30,000 people residing in these communities, of which it is estimated that up to 25% have type 2 diabetes.


With SLFNHA we have developed a Community Health Worker (CHW) Program that helps to support and improve care for people living with diabetes.

CHW programs have been successfully deployed around the world to address a spectrum of health needs, particularly in remote and rural communities where there is often a shortage of highly trained health workers. CHWs are often members of the community and therefore speak the local language and possess a deeper understanding of the cultural practices and issues impacting the community.

As part of the CHW Diabetes Program we train and mentor CHWs in diabetes management and support using customized and culturally appropriate training tools. CHWs are already on the frontline of delivering community care and our goal is to provide them with the support they need to better perform this challenging role.


As SLFNHA undertakes an expanded approach to diabetes care in the Sioux Lookout region, we are working together to develop a comprehensive Regional Diabetes Strategy that includes the integration of current programs and services, as well as the transition of programs and services under First Nations governance to effectively address diabetes prevention and control. This joint work builds upon the CHW Diabetes Program and involves two key activities: i) mapping diabetes programs and services across SLFNHA and Sioux Lookout Area (SLA) and ii) developing a coordinated regional diabetes strategy with community leaders and SLA service providers. With funding through the Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative, our goal is to develop a coordinated regional diabetes strategy to help operationalize the CHW Model of Care across the SLA.


To inform the design of the CHW Diabetes Program, we built a strong foundation of research evidence; conducted a participatory study to understand the complexity of diabetes services in Sioux Lookout from the perspective of patients, providers and community members; and developed case studies on successful community health worker programs around the world. We also completed a Diabetes Environmental Scan that provides an overview on the state of diabetes care and healthcare delivery across Sioux Lookout from different sources and perspectives, particularly that of patients.

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