Implementation of the Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program

  • Author / Creator
    Lopresti, Sabrina F.
  • Introduction: The Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program (IYMP) is a peer-led health promoting school program grounded in the teachings of Indigenous scholars. IYMP aims to reduce risk factors for obesity and type 2 diabetes and empower Indigenous youth and communities. High school youth mentors provide mentorship and offer younger elementary students healthy snacks, physical activity games, relationship building activities and traditional Indigenous teachings under the guidance of a community-appointed young adult health leader (YAHL). Based on successful pilot testing, the program is being rippled (IYMP team’s preferred term for scaling up) to new Indigenous communities. Principal Investigators (PIs) deliver IYMP as a multi-sited community-university partnership (CUP) with 13 Indigenous communities across Canada. The IYMP model allows for community tailoring and flexibility in the delivery of program components. The purpose of this research was to describe the implementation of IYMP and identify the key characteristics involved in implementation at the local and national levels across Indigenous communities. Three studies were done to achieve this aim. The objective of study 1 was to identify the key characteristics of successful implementation in year 1 of rippling, as perceived by youth mentors and YAHLs. The objective of study 2 was to identify the key characteristics of successful implementation as a multi-sited community university partnership with Indigenous communities, as perceived by IYMP Principal Investigators. Finally, the objective of study 3 was to describe the characteristics of implementation of IYMP in year 1 of rippling, in two rural First Nation communities in Alberta.
    Methods: This research used a multi-method research design. Study 1 was a focused ethnography. It included the following data generation strategies to capture key characteristics for successful IYMP implementation in schools: field observations, national team meeting notes, focus groups with youth mentors (n=8) and YAHLs (n=8), and four follow-up interviews. Study 2 was a qualitative descriptive study. It included key informant interviews with Indigenous and non-Indigenous PIs (n=5) to capture characteristics necessary for the success of IYMP as a multi-sited community university partnership. Study 3 was a descriptive case study of program implementation in two Alberta schools. It included observational field notes of program activities and quantitative data from program log forms to describe how the program was delivered and who participated in it.
    Results: In study 1, 5 key characteristics were identified as necessary for successful IYMP delivery, as perceived by youth mentors and YAHLs: relationships, communication, community engagement, instilling a sense of ownership, and program supports. In study 2, the overarching theme identified a posteriori (that is, derived through reasoning after analysis) as contributing to IYMP multi-sited CUPs as perceived by IYMP PIs was forming a community of practice (CoP). The sub-themes under CoP were shared interest for Indigenous health/wellbeing and social justice, relationships (new and existing), mentorship within the IYMP CoP, and taking a decolonizing research approach. In Study 3, examination of program delivery showed that as IYMP was rippled to communities in Alberta it was feasible to deliver core components (physical activity, healthy eating, relationship building and traditional Indigenous teachings) at each program session. Study 3 found that there were fewer male than female participants in IYMP school communities in Alberta. Communities could be supported to make the program more attractive to males, offer consistent healthy snacks and increase the proportion of non-sedentary activities.
    Conclusion: Collectively, the findings of these three studies contribute to the sparse literature available related to implementation characteristics of school-based peer-led Indigenous health promotion initiatives. As IYMP is rippled to new school communities, building relationships through communication and community engagement to support ownership of IYMP is important. The successful implementation of IYMP as a multi-sited CUP was the formation of an IYMP CoP with academic and community leads who had shared interests in Indigenous health and social justice. The CoP fostered relationships and mentorship within a decolonizing research approach. New IYMP communities may use the results of this research to ensure successful program implementation as the program continues to ripple to new sites. Results may be used to develop and implement new health promotion initiatives in Indigenous communities.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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