Healthy living in Nunavut: an on-line nutrition course for inuit communities in the Canadian arctic.
Hamilton S, Martin J, Guyot M, Trifonopoulos M, Caughey A, Chan HM
Int J Circumpolar Health. 2004 Sep ; 63(3): 243-50

OBJECTIVES: It is recognized that empowerment of Indigenous Peoples through training and education is a priority. The objective was to design a course that would provide an innovative training approach to targeted workers in remote communities and enhance learning related to the Nunavut Food Guide, traditional food and nutrition, and diabetes prevention. STUDY DESIGN: A steering committee was established at the outset of the project with representation from McGill University and the Government of Nunavut (including nutritionists, community nurses and community health representatives (CHRs), as well as with members of the target audience. Course content and implementation, as well as recruitment of the target audience, were carried out with guidance from the steering committee. METHODS: An 8-week long course was developed for delivery in January – March, 2004. Learning activities included presentation of the course content through stories, online self-assessment quizzes, time-independent online discussions and telephone-based discussions. Invitations were extended to all prenatal nutrition program workers, CHRs, CHR students, home-care workers, Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative workers and public health nurses in Nunavut. RESULTS: Ninety-six health-care workers registered for Healthy Living in Nunavut, with 44 actively participating, 23 with less active participation and 29 who did not participate. CONCLUSIONS: Despite having to overcome numerous technological, linguistic and cultural barriers, approximately 40% of registrants actively participated in the online nutrition course. The internet may be a useful medium for delivery of information to target audiences in the North.

I tried this course. I learned a lot and it worked well even over dial-up. I’m posting it here as an example of (really) distance training which can work.

The Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE) is an incredible idea. Harriet Kuhnlein, the first director, does excellent work with communities. CINE was one of the models for formulating an autonomous, community-based Center for Human Ecology, (northern Pueblos, New Mexico.)

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