Inuit Health Education and Adaptation

Current research projects (2019-2023)

Understanding Patterns of Social Interactions in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to Support Prevention and Management of Infectious Diseases

Location: Inuvialuit Settlement Region
COVID-19 and other infectious diseases spread when people are in contact with one another, but the understanding is currently very limited of who is in contact with whom, and how often, in Inuvialuit communities. To accurately predict how a disease will spread and respond with appropriate public health measures (e.g., school closures, targeted vaccination, etc.), good data on interpersonal contact rates is needed. At present, the contact rate data used by Canadian epidemiologists are almost exclusively from large European cities. These data are unlikely to capture the realities of interpersonal contact patterns in Inuit communities where housing is limited and often overcrowded, harsh climates restrict where and how people can spend time, and traditional lifeways still structure many interactions. Inuvialuit Regional Corporation will use simple diary-based survey methods to fill this gap. The project will simply ask people to record, for one day, who they are in contact with and how often. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will provide a foundation for Inuvialuit and other remote Indigenous communities to access evidence-based, epidemiological insights on par with other Canadians.