The Year in Review
In the last year, PAN has doubled-down on its commitment to co-lead the PHSA Collective Impact Network (CIN) but to do this humbly and sensitively. We are striving to increase the impact of our collaborative work, while building knowledge, support and cultural safety in our online gatherings. All change involves some degree of risk and discomfort, but together we have kept moving forward towards a ‘coordinated and effective community-based response to HIV and hepatitis C in our province’.
Our fellow community-based ‘travellers’ on this journey have been BC Hepatitis Network, Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC), Central Interior Native Health Society (CINHS), Options for Sexual Health, Pivot Legal Society and YouthCO. From the health authorities, the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)
We have been able to provide valuable learning opportunities (typically updates about harm reduction, epidemiology or from the BC Hepatitis testers cohort), relief funding and insights into the ongoing dual pandemics (overdose, COVID-19) facing the province.
The CIN priorities continue to be:
- Increase involvement of People with Lived/Living Experience (PWLE);
- Increase program equity and services for HIV and hepatitis C; and across BC (urban, suburban, rural and remote locations);
- Harm Reduction;
- Stigma reduction.
In addition, PAN’s commitment to uphold reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples was part of proposal for this stage of the CIN’s development. It has been prioritized and part of the conversations and learning. We have “a responsibility to advance reconciliation through understanding and action to address the ongoing impacts of colonization. In all our work we strive for cultural humility and to create cultural safety for Indigenous members, partners, and participants and we continue to learn how best to achieve this”.
In broaching the topic, there were some initial missteps that we deliberately took time and care to unpack as a group. I will share our conclusions, as they could also be helpful to others. It was agreed that truth and reconciliation conversations need to continue – not necessarily as agenda items but as part of all that we bring in working together. The commitment to decolonizing is upon the individual organizations, and power and privilege at the CIN table should be recognized. Presentations or facilitated discussion needs to be Indigenous led, perhaps with an Elder or knowledge keeper opening and closing sensitive meetings. Sensitive or triggering items will always be forewarned and attendance optional. We want to hear how organizations are creating safer spaces – a cultural skill share, our learning and stumbling blocks. We will create and environment of openness and humility, endeavouring to build trust in and between meetings. Finally, we will create room for separate breakout conversations when needed.
Furthermore, PAN is working to amplify Indigenous and other BIPOC voices through the PAN Weekly News e-newsletter, webinars, and other social media as we stand against racism (including police violence and discrimination), and for reconciliation and decolonization. The “In Plain Sight” report has shone a light on discrimination against Indigenous peoples in our healthcare system in BC, and we are collectively working to respond.
CIN work has shifted to agency-led projects that fulfil the following criteria: Engage people with lived experience (PWLE) meaningfully; Address one or more CIN priorities; and provide other CIN agencies the opportunity to participate in and enhance the project. All projects have been affected by COVID, but are making progress. Here are some examples of the work:
- CBRC and YouthCO have created a Community of Practice for Indigenous staff members, and have widened the invite. This project looks to run until May 2022, and is in process of working out how best to facilitate, what’s needed, and striving for regular attendance.
- CINHS’ project called Safe Space in Healthcare and Advocacy has moved on from surveys to small group walkthroughs of clinics to gather feedback on the safe space creation.
- With an eye on the HCV Elimination Blueprint Implementation – BCHN’s Community Pre-Summit survey has been analysed and is in the report-writing and dissemination material stage.
- PAN’s Let’s talk Stigma Reduction event in June was well-received (resources posted). The application to fund the development of a stigma assessment tool was successful and the work has begun.
We are always looking at better ways to collaborate, strengthen our response to the CIN priorities and enhance our limited time together. To this end, PAN’s development of annual surveys and shared measurement indicators has enabled the CIN to evaluate its own effectiveness, as well as assist the PHSA in assessing individual agency’s work.
The results of this year’s CIN Survey led to 6 key takeaways that have formed the basis of how we look to change moving forward into the fall 2021. The related questions we have asked ourselves, as a network are:
- What are some ways of applying a model of shared leadership, responsibility and control?
- How do we build better collaboration between the meetings?
- How do we improve our work in the area of aligned policy agenda? (Advocacy)
- How can the wider CIN group contribute to work team activities?
- What can we do to increase a meaningful engagement of PWLE?
- What can we do to build capacity for research/evaluation?
In October we are excited to start to implement changes based on the answers, and we expect our meetings to change, deepen and become more effective – magnifying our strengths whilst not depleting our individual agency capacities. More to come in next year’s report.
In addition, PAN supported the administration, promotion, and evaluation of the second round of COVID relief funding and the new Overdose Emergency Relief funding, both from the PHSA and which focused on supports to Indigenous organizations.
Another year of COVID, and our sector – and PAN membership – has been stretched to the max, asked to do more with less (as recognized in the Leadership Message), and it has been a draining, sometimes demoralizing time. But at least – collectively, and in solidarity – we are stronger, more effective and better equipped to respond to HIV and hepatitis C and the overdose crisis. Perhaps, most importantly, we are not alone.
For more information, contact Simon Goff, Collective Impact Network Coordinator, [email protected]
Image: Bruno Figueiredo, Unsplash