A self-report health app developed by a team of CHEO researchers helps connect First Nations children and youth to local supports


Ottawa, Ontario — Monday March 18, 2024

An app developed by a team of CHEO researchers in collaboration with Indigenous children and their community leaders, offers a culturally appropriate and holistic approach to health assessment. The app, known as the Aaniish Naa Gegii: the Children’s Health and Well-being Measure (ACHWM), generates a summary score and 4 domain scores which are in keeping with Anishinaabe teachings: spiritual, emotional, physical and mental (or intellectual) scores. Results of the assessment offer new mechanisms to talk about wellness, initiate strengths-based conversations and expedite connections to local supports.  

“Empowering Indigenous children through culturally sensitive tools like the ACHWM can identify their needs early on and foster a holistic approach to health assessment rooted in Anishinaabe teachings,” said Dr. Nancy Young, Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute and ACHWM Team Lead. “This study highlights the transformative potential of community-based screening and the impact of immediate triage, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and connection to local supports for the well-being of First Nations children and youth.” 

A study, led by Dr. Young and Mary Jo Wabano (then Health Services Director at Naandwechige-Gamig Wikwemikong Health Centre), and published in CMAJ Open, examined whether the ACHWM health app they developed identified children’s needs for support earlier in their illness than would typically occur. The team recruited 227 First Nations children aged 8 to 18 years and the app aided in identifying previously undetected health needs among 21% of the children. This demonstrates potential to transform Indigenous children’s engagement with healthcare, highlighting the value of community screening to optimize access to services. 

To learn more about the ACHWM visit https://achwm.ca. 

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