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CPSI Share                                                    
3/18/2020 8:00 AM
(Left to right) Marion Crowe, Executive Director, FNHMA; Maryanne D’Arpino, Senior Director, Canadian Patient Safety Institute; and Patricia Thomson, President, FNHMA
(Left to right) Marion Crowe, Executive Director, FNHMA; Maryanne D’Arpino, Senior Director, Canadian Patient Safety Institute; and Patricia Thomson, President, FNHMA

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute and the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to advance First Nations health. The MOU pledges shared interests in client/patient safety, health system improvement and capacity development for First Nations leaders and communities, and ultimately working toward reconciliation for First Nations health.

"This is an exciting juncture for both the FNHMA and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute," says Marion Crowe, Chief Executive Officer, FNHMA. On behalf of the FNHMA Board of Directors, we are thrilled to be moving forward on this partnership agreement and see it as a very fruitful, reciprocal relationship where we are working together toward health equity and accessibility for First Nations."

"We are truly inspired by and grateful for this opportunity to work in partnership, to take this journey with the FNHMA to advance patient safety and quality in First Nations communities," says Maryanne D'Arpino, Senior Director, Canadian Patient Safety Institute. "This partnership is about gaining a better understanding of how patient safety is defined and what that means to the Indigenous population. It is a very collaborative, open relationship where we can learn from each other in a patient safety context."

As the partners see opportunity and agree on joint activities, an annual work plan will be developed. The partnership will address collaboration and cooperation in three key areas:

  • Information sharing and capacity development initiatives to develop and deliver information, knowledge, training and development services that reduces the harm experienced by people and increases the presence of safety for the benefit of people served by both organizations;

  • Health system initiatives to enhance relationships between First Nations communities; and

  • Health leadership initiatives to support continued development of leaders in First Nations health and to foster shared learnings of health system leaders across Canada.

"There are some great synergies and opportunities between our organizations to build capacity with the goal of preventing harm," says Maryanne D'Arpino. "For example, we can draw from lessons through our partnership with Indigenous Services Canada in building capacity in incident management for healthcare professionals working in communities across Canada. Building on this momentum, we will better understand how the patient safety competencies can be translated and integrated within health professional training and education.

Our opportunity to partner with Indigenous patients and listen to their advice guides our true north," Maryanne continues. "Patients for Patient Safety Canada, a patient-led program of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, recently welcomed Samaria Cardinal as a new member.  Samaria's story is a way to bring awareness as we begin to shape and define what patient safety means to Indigenous people. Patient safety and patient engagement need to be synonymous, and this will be foundational to our journey in improving patient safety."

"These are the types of synergies that we hope to unpack through this partnership agreement," says Marion Crowe. "Overall, working with the team at the Canadian Patient Safety Institute will open up opportunities in patient safety that our communities may not have engaged in before. Anything that is grounded in patient safety will ultimately benefit and enhance our service delivery."

FNHMA provides training, certification, and professional development opportunities in First Nations health management and serves the needs of individuals working for, or aspiring to, health manager positions with First Nations organizations. Each year, some 350 individuals are trained as Certified First Nations Health Managers (CFNHM), including non-Indigenous partners of the First Nation community (such as representatives from Regional Health Authorities). 

"Our curriculum is grounded in community and culture and it is always a valuable experience for our non-Indigenous allies to attend our program," says Marion Crowe. "It gives us an opportunity to learn from one another and to showcase what we have worked on for the past 10 years as an organization."

Currently, there are 225 CFNHMs working in First Nations communities from coast to coast. Health managers serve in an administrative capacity in the delivery of health services to their First Nation communities, much like the role of a CEO in a traditional hospital setting. They are responsible to their funders, community and the general population of the membership on the reserves. 

The FNHMA provides leadership in First Nation health management activities by developing and promoting knowledge, quality standards, practices, research, certification, networking and professional development to expand capacity for its members and First Nations communities.   

"The pen I am holding was a gift, used as a tool to pledge our public commitment and to bind our agreement," says Maryanne D'Arpino as she prepares to sign the MOU on behalf of CPSI. "It symbolizes the culture that FNHMA creates as a mark of true leadership and comradery. The pen is made of maple, which is a symbol of strength. Maple bark is used as a medicinal herb and the Rocky Mountain Maple is considered one of the Sacred Life medicines. This gift holds special meaning as a symbol of strength and solidarity as partners. Thank you, Marion, Patricia and the FNHMA!"