The prevalence of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has increased amongst Indigenous populations. To figure out why and what to do about it, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) has partnered with Fort William First Nation.
“Indigenous populations have a unique set of health issues which we would like to help reconcile through this study,” said Dr. Mitch Albert, Ph.D, Director of MRI Research, TBRHRI. “Our hope is to raise awareness about respiratory health amongst Indigenous communities, thus increasing the likelihood of them accessing care.”
Fort William First Nation will help recruit both healthy volunteers, and people who suffer from various lung disorders from their community to participate in the study with the Health Research Institute. The findings will then be compared against the findings of non-Indigenous volunteers. Chief Peter Collins of Fort William First Nation will work closely with the Health Research Institute to help develop the clinical protocols.
The aim is to determine an optimized set of MRI scan parameters that will produce clear, anatomically and clinically relevant images of the lungs for healthy participants and participants with various lung disorders. The results are expected to provide unprecedented information on the extent of respiratory disease progression in people of Indigenous descent.
“This study has the potential to improve the respiratory health status of our Indigenous patients and families,” said Dr. Albert. “We couldn’t do this important work without the support of Fort William First Nation and I’m so thrilled to partner with them on this endeavour.”