Four Winds Initiative

The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System (PRIHS) Indigenous Patient Navigator project has the goal of helping Indigenous Patients and their families to navigate the complexities of the health system and to help them through the different transitions during their journey in and out of care. We know Indigenous people continue to experience barriers in accessing health care leading to health inequities and poor health outcomes compared to other segments of the population.

This project will work with Indigenous patients and families to co-design a navigation service with the goals of providing smoother access to services, creating better connections to health and other community services, and ultimately improving health outcomes.


The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System (PRIHS) Indigenous Patient Navigator project has the goal of helping Indigenous Patients and their families to navigate the complexities of the health system and to help them through the different transitions during their journey in and out of care. We know Indigenous people continue to experience barriers in accessing health care leading to health inequities and poor health outcomes compared to other segments of the population.

This project will work with Indigenous patients and families to co-design a navigation service with the goals of providing smoother access to services, creating better connections to health and other community services, and ultimately improving health outcomes.


  • Get to Know the South Zone Indigenous Patient Navigator

    22 June, 2020
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    Oki, niitaniko Iitaapiit'saanskiaki!


    1. Tell us a little about yourself, your background


    Hello, my name is Chloe Crosschild. I am a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation) with relations from both Mamioyiiski (Fish Eaters) and Aakaipokaiksi (Many Children) Clans.


    I was raised both on and off reserve by my parents who have been married for nearly thirty years. I am the eldest of five children and single mother to my nine-year-old daughter, Paisley. I currently follow Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot ways of knowing) and honor Naatowa'pii (holy way of life).

    I am also a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor and Master degree in Nursing from the University of Lethbridge currently working toward my PhD in Nursing. As an RN, I have worked as a community and public health nurse for AHS and the Blood Tribe Department of Health and as a Clinical Instructor and Advisor to the Nursing Curriculum for the University of Lethbridge. As a PhD student, I have also worked with the EQUIP Emergency research project while attending school at the University of British Columbia.


    2.What are you most excited about in this position?


    This position is part of a larger research project that takes a grassroots approach to collaborate with Indigenous community members. As the Indigenous Patient Navigator, I will have the opportunity to listen, learn, and share solutions and strategies with First Nation, Metis, and Inuit peoples in the South Zone to address the current gaps in health programs and services. Moving away from the traditional top down approach to providing services, the Indigenous Patient Navigator position works with and alongside Indigenous Peoples to co-create solutions and that is what I am most excited about.



    3.How do you hope this position will help Indigenous patients and families?


    I am passionate about Indigenous Peoples health and working to address health inequities Indigenous Peoples face. As a young Indigenous woman and RN, I have not only witnessed but experienced racism and discrimination in the health care system. These experiences fuel my passion to close the health equity gap and I believe that this position will be able to effectively bridge the gaps in health and health care for Indigenous Peoples in the South Zone. I hope this position will better assist Indigenous Peoples to navigate the often complex array of programs and services AHS has to offer. In doing so, my hope is that Indigenous Peoples in the South Zone will experience positive and meaningful encounters with the health care system.



    4.Tell us about your research interests


    Over the past three years I have been involved in health research, specifically in Indigenous Peoples' Health, maternal child health and structural violence. In August 2019, I successfully defended my MN thesis, Urban Indigenous Mothers' Experiences with Postnatal Nursing Care in Southern Alberta: A Blackfoot Methodology. My thesis was a community engaged project that centered Blackfoot values and protocols throughout the research process. Inspired by the mothers stories I believe it was imperative to continue with this research to advocate and push for health equity in southern Alberta. I am currently enrolled in the PhD in Nursing program at the University of British Columbia to expand on my thesis research.



    5.What’s the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?


    It's very surprising for people to learn that there are five generations of women alive and well in my family. My daughter is still able to visit with her great-great grandmother and we see her on a weekly basis. I took my last position as the PHN in Cardston just so I could be closer to her.


    6.What’s something you’re really grateful for?

    I am truly grateful for the strong Indigenous women who raised me. My mother, grandmothers, and all my aunts have supported me in all avenues of my personal and professional journey. It is their strength and tenacity that has allowed me to be here and the intergenerational wisdom of my ancestors has guided me to where I am today.

    7.How do you like to spend your free time?

    I typically spend my free time with my family or reading a good book. Due to the COVID-19 quarantine, I have learned that I love virtual paint nights, puzzles and board games.

    8.What is your favourite family vacation?

    I have traveled many places with my family, including road trips down the west coast and through the Redwood Forest, to Disney Land in California, to Disney World in Florida, to Mexico, and most recently to Maui. Although, my favourite family vacation would have to be the two trips we've made to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. We spent a lot of our time unwinding and relaxing on the beach, swimming and snorkeling in turquoise waters, and ATVing and Ziplining through the jungle at night. The food was always great and the people are always so welcoming.

    9.What are you most proud of?

    I am most proud of my daughter, Paisley. She is the light of my life and keeps me on my toes. As a young and single mother, I told myself that I wouldn't become another statistic. I wanted my daughter to have a good life and be proud of where she came from. Four days after delivering my daughter, I was back in the classroom with a baby on my hip. We like to joke around and tell people that she also has her BN, MN and soon to have a PhD because of all the nights she's listened to me talk about my papers and presentations. Paisley's love of animals and art is inspiring to me. She has two horses, Ru and Buttercup, one dog, Nanook, and two cats, Gizmo and Oliver.

    10.How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?

    I spend time with family and friends, cook homemade meals (most of the time), and take long walks in the coulees.


    Photo Credit: University of Lethbridge

  • National Indigenous Peoples Day 2020

    22 June, 2020
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    We are thankful for the land on which we are able to work, live, and play and give thanks and acknowledgement to the traditional territory of the Blackfoot peoples and for the many First Nation, Métis, and Inuit who now call this place home.

    We have included a list of suggestions on how to celebrate or commemorate this meaningful day:

    Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival: Live-stream the virtual edition of the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival from June 1 to 21

    Spend the day learning about Indigenous history of where you live or work: A Timeline of Alberta’s Indigenous History; The Blackfoot Nation; Writing-on-Stone Sacred Roots

    Learn some greetings in the language or where you live or work: USAY Blackfoot Learning Guide

    Seek out podcasts by Indigenous peoples: Native Currents, This Land, Red Man Laughing, Coffee With My Ma, All My Relations, The Jig Is Up, Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo

    Seek out music by Indigenous musicians

    Seek out Films and Documentaries: Reel Injun (trailer), Indigenous Made Film Catalogue; Shadow of Dumont (trailer), Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Blood Quantum, Smoke Signals, Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii, Thunderheart, Windtalkers

    Read a book by an Indigenous author

    Discover Indigenous Humour: CBC’s Unreserved devoted an episode to Indigenous comedy, Stand-up, sketch and satire: The rise of Indigenous comedy; Charlie Hill at the Winnipeg Comedy Fest; Don Burnstick

    Fill your personal or professional pledge of Reconciliation and discuss with family, friends and colleagues

    Read and discuss the 10 Guiding Principles of Reconciliation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report with family and colleagues.


  • COVID-19

    16 June, 2020

    Thank you for visiting Together4Health. We have paused our engagement activities on this project so that our AHS teams can focus on supporting Albertans as we work together to respond to COVID-19. We appreciate your understanding.

    If you have questions about COVID-19, please visit www.alberta.ca/covid19 to learn more. Online resources include a self-assessment for COVID-19; complete that assessment before calling Health Link 811.

    Please subscribe to this project to receive updates and be alerted when this project page is reactivated.


  • Four Winds Stakeholder Engagement Session

    25 September, 2019
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    The first stakeholder engagement session was held on September 10, 2019. Co-Investigators, Katherine Chubbs and Dr. Melissa Potestio led the participants through an energizing and collaborative day to discuss the challenges of Indigenous patient navigation. Read more about the day here.

    Participants from the Kainai First Nation, Piikani First Nation, Métis and Inuit along with members from the community and staff from Alberta Health Services met to share and discuss challenges experienced by Indigenous peoples when accessing/navigating services within the South Zone of Alberta.

    Groups prioritized the challenges and brainstormed potential solutions. The group participation and collaboration was a key part of the co-design process.

    By the end of the day, 213 solutions were identified for 28 different challenges ranging from accessibility and access to primary health care to integration, collaboration and partnership.

    These potential solutions are now being discussed and reviewed by the Steering Committee to identify which solutions could be trialed within the South Zone.

    The project has the ultimate purpose of moving beyond identifying challenges, to actually address and provide necessary supports to improve transition in and navigation of services for Indigenous patients and families.

    A graphic recording was created by Aaron Russel and will be unveiled once it is completed. Below is a sneak peak of the work in progress.





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  • Elders Announce Indigenous Name for PRIHS Project

    26 August, 2019

    Indigenous Elders Morris Little Wolf (Piikani), Winston Wadsworth (Kainai), Alice Zwart (Inuit), Alice Bissonette (Metis) and Beatrice Little Mustache (Piikani) gathered to discuss the naming of the South Zone Indigenous Patient Navigation Model project.

    Through the Creator, "Four Winds" was identified.

    • Wind is of significance in the Blackfoot, Inuit and Métis cultures.

    • Wind is also significant to the South Zone (chinook winds).

    • Wind is never ending and transcends all cultures.

    • Winds bring calm and relaxation.

    • Wind also signifies a journey.

    • Wind is cleansing and healing.

    • Wind also comes from 4 directions (like the medicine wheel).

    • Wind is invisible – a power that you don’t see.

    The Four Winds project hopes to support and provide navigation services for Indigenous patients and their families. Moving from having to chase support, to feeling the support, like a warm wind.

    A naming transfer and Pipe Ceremony was held on August 21, 2019.

    The ceremony was a heart touching and emotional experience. Special thanks to the Elders for leading the steering committee through such a special cultural tradition and for telling such meaningful and impactful stories.



  • Launch of Indigenous Patient Navigation Project

    26 August, 2019

    June 17, 2019

  • Research aims to improve Indigenous health outcomes

    26 August, 2019

    Research aims to improve Indigenous health outcomes

  • New research hoping to improve health outcomes for the Indigenous population

    26 August, 2019

    New research hoping to improve health outcomes for the Indigenous population - Lethbridge News Now