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Original Research

Relevance of the Aboriginal Children’s Health and Well-being Measure Beyond Wiikwemkoong

Submitted: 8 March 2016
Revised: 7 February 2017
Accepted: 7 February 2017
Published: 4 April 2017

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Author(s) : Young NL, Wabano M, Blight S, Baker-Anderson K, Beaudin R, McGregor LF, McGregor LE, Burke TA.

Nancy YoungMary Jo Wabano

Citation: Young NL, Wabano M, Blight S, Baker-Anderson K, Beaudin R, McGregor LF, McGregor LE, Burke TA.  Relevance of the Aboriginal Children’s Health and Well-being Measure Beyond Wiikwemkoong. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 3941. Available: (Accessed 24 October 2017). DOI:


Introduction:  Aboriginal children in Canada experience significant disparities in health in comparison to their mainstream peers. As Aboriginal communities and agencies strive to improve health, it is important to measure the impact of new programs and services. Since many Aboriginal children live in rural and remote communities, it is important that communities have access to measurement tools that are relevant and feasible to implement in these contexts. The Aboriginal Children’s Health and Well-being Measure (ACHWM) was developed to meet the need for a culturally relevant measure of health and wellbeing for Aboriginal children (ages 8–18 years) in Canada. It was developed within one First Nation community: the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. The intention from inception was to ensure the feasibility and relevance of the ACHWM to other Aboriginal communities. The purpose of this article is to describe the relevance of the ACHWM beyond Wiikwemkoong.
Methods:  This article presents the results of a community-based and collaborative research study that was jointly led by an academic researcher and a First Nations Health leader. The research began with the 58-question version of the ACHWM developed in Wiikwemkoong. The ACHWM was then submitted to a well-established process of community review in four new communities (in sequence): Weechi-it-te-win Family Services, M’Chigeeng First Nation, Whitefish River First Nation, and the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre (OICC). The review process included an initial review by local experts, followed by a detailed review with children and caregivers through a detailed cognitive debriefing process. Each community/agency identified changes necessary to ensure appropriate fit in their community. The results from all communities were then aggregated and analysed to determine the similarities and differences.
Results:  This research was conducted in 2014 and 2015 at four sites. Interviews with 23 children and 21 caregivers were completed. Key lessons were learned in all communities that enabled the team to improve the ACHWM in subtle but important ways. A total of 12 questions were revised, and four new questions were added during the process. This produced a 62-question version of the ACHWM, which was endorsed by all communities.
Conclusions:  The ACHWM has been improved through a detailed review process in four additional communities/agencies and resulted in a stable 62-question version of the survey. This process has demonstrated the relevance of the ACHWM to a variety of Aboriginal communities. This survey provides Aboriginal communities with a culturally appropriate tool to assess and track their children’s health outcomes, enabling them to gather new evidence of child health needs and the effectiveness of programs in the future.

Key words: Aboriginal population, adolescent, Canada, child, culture, interview, surveys and questionnaires.

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