Strengthening Aboriginal Health through a Place-Based Learning Community

  • John F. Anderson Scientist, Community Medicine, Centre for Addictions Research of BC, Victoria, British Columbia
  • Basia Pakula Research Associate, Centre for Addictions Research of BC, Victoria, British Columbia
  • Victoria Smye Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Virginia Peters (Siyamex) Manager, Sts’ailes Health and Family Services, Sts’ailes, British Columbia
  • Leslie Schroeder Director, Aboriginal Health, Fraser Health Authority, Surrey, British Columbia
Keywords: Aboriginal, Indigenous, knowledge, strength-based, dialogue, trust, intimacy, power, authority, connectedness, place-based learning, participatory action research 42 Journal


The Sts’ailes Primary Health Care Project is a partnership in Sts’ailes, British Columbia, between Sts’ailes, Fraser Health Authority (FHA), and academic researchers at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia. The creation of knowledge by and for Aboriginal Peoples and a commitment to strength-based research are key aspects of the project. These key elements guide the partners as they work together to explore and identify ways to enhance health services for the Sts’ailes people and other FHA clients in the region. This paper describes how the principles of place-based learning communities (PbLCs) are being implemented within the collaboration in order to facilitate the co-production of culturally appropriate strengthbased knowledge that supports the health and wellness of the Sts’ailes community. PbLCs are a welcome innovative mechanism for generating a cross-cultural understanding of local health and wellness issues. This paper makes a contribution to the documentation of successful participatory community-academic research partnerships.