FORGE AHEAD research program gains momentum with 11 partnering communities across Canada

The TransFORmation of IndiGEnous PrimAry HEAlthcare Delivery (FORGE AHEAD) Research Program’s reach is expanding as 11 diverse First Nations communities progress with their community-driven diabetes quality improvement (QI) initiatives.

Five partnering communities from Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec (Wave 1) are wrapping up their 18-month QI interventions which included training workshops and mentoring/support activities to support the integration of progressive clinical and community readiness consultations, clinical and community QI activities and the use of a diabetes registry and surveillance system. Several communities have hosted successful local knowledge exchange events, and post-intervention data entry in the diabetes registry and surveillance system and process evaluation activities are winding down.

It’s a busy spring for the Western FORGE AHEAD Research Team as another six partnering communities from British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland (Wave 2) are making steady progress in their QI journeys. On March 23 and 24, Dr. Stewart Harris and his research team hosted over 30 clinical leaders, interdisciplinary healthcare providers, Elders and traditional leaders at the second of three QI workshops. The first workshop was hosted in November at the Ivey Spencer Centre, this second was by tele/videoconference here at The Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine. Stewart’s clinical presentations, tailored to communities’ interests, focused on insulin and self-care management, prevention of diabetes-related complications, risk management, mental wellness and diabetes. The workshops included break-out sessions and partnering communities appreciated the dedicated time and the support of research team moderators to plan small tests of change (Plan-Do-Study-Act [PDSA] cycles) to be implemented in the next three months. These networking opportunities and the sharing of resources are important in FORGE AHEAD. We continue to improve the tele/videoconferencing experience as we look to the final QI workshops in July.

FORGE AHEAD is a five-year research program that brings together First Nations communities, academic researchers, healthcare professionals, industry leaders, government and policy partners, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations to improve diabetes management in First Nations communities. The program is being implemented in two waves in order to facilitate community participation. The primary objective of FORGE AHEAD is to develop and evaluate community-driven, culturally relevant, primary healthcare models that enhance chronic disease management and appropriate access to available services in First Nations communities in Canada. Funding is generously provided by the Canadian Institutes of Research, The Lawson Foundation and AstraZeneca Canada Inc..




FORGE AHEAD Western Team (clock-wise): Dr. Stewart Harris, Susan Webster-Bogaert, Jim Esler and Jordan Tompkins

FORGE AHEAD Program Manager:

Susan Webster-Bogaert

T: 519-661-2111 Ext 22105


Principal Investigator:

Dr. Stewart Harris