With wide-reaching community impact, Saskatchewan Blue Cross is committed to enhancing the health and wellbeing of all Saskatchewan people for generations now and those to come. We place priority on giving back to the community through programs and initiatives that advance health literacy.
Health literacy (noun) – the degree to which individuals can obtain, communicate, process, understand and act upon basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
We envision a future where there is equitable access to health and wellness information for everyone, and each person in Saskatchewan understands how to navigate their healthcare effectively.
A key part of this commitment includes seeking out and creating new partnerships with Indigenous-led organizations aimed at improving health and wellness experiences for Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. “It’s important to us to continually listen to and learn from the communities we serve,” said Kelly Wilson, President & CEO of Saskatchewan Blue Cross. “Access to healthcare and health information is a significant issue for many Indigenous people living in remote communities, and Saskatchewan Blue Cross is committed to advancing health literacy across the province, investing in programs that help everyone, regardless of their location, live healthier lives. It’s a process we started in 2020 and continue to practice today.”
Saskatchewan Blue Cross recently formed nine partnerships to advance Health Literacy in Saskatchewan, including two formed with focus on Indigenous wellness. One of these partnerships was formed with the INDSpire team.
Indspire – Saskatchewan Blue Cross Indigenous Bursary
The Saskatchewan Blue Cross Indigenous Bursary was launched in 2021 as a four-year program in partnership with Indspire, which is a national charity that seeks to enrich Canada through Indigenous education and by inspiring, achievement. Six Indigenous students pursuing careers in Social Work have been recipients of the support.
“Once I graduate, it is my dream to provide support back to the communities that need it most. I know that for Indigenous communities, implementing their own social services programs is critical to preservation of cultural practices and connecting the well-being of their resurgence and reclamation initiatives, and I want you to know that I’m dedicated and committed to being part of that.” – Danika Deitz, 2022 Indspire Scholarship Recipient, Indigenous Social Work Student
Talking Stick App (TryCycle)
Another innovative partnership to advance Health Literacy was formed in support of the Talking Stick app, a First Nations peer support platform developed by TryCycle in partnership with the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre. The app offers free and anonymous mental health support through peer advocates who are First Nations people trained to listen with compassion, respect and humility. Saskatchewan Blue Cross’ funding helps to ensure the app is accessible in multiple Indigenous languages, including translation services provided by the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre to Swampy Cree, Woodland Cree, Saulteaux and Lakota.
Truth and Reconciliation
Saskatchewan Blue Cross supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action as an organization founded to support the wellbeing of all residents of Saskatchewan. Recognizing the observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 is done annually alongside employee education programs to provide dedicated opportunity to learn, listen and reflect on our journeys to become stronger allies. To further encourage discussion on the legacy of the residential school system Saskatchewan Blue Cross provides orange shirts for employees, with $10 from each shirt being donated to the Legacy of Hope Foundation, a national Indigenous charitable organization that educates and creates awareness and understanding about residential schools.
Health literacy advancement requires many sectors and organizations in a community to take action and co-operate, with community organizations playing a critical role in delivering health information and services and in helping people develop health literacy skills. To learn more about the broader partnerships and programs Saskatchewan Blue Cross supports for newcomers, the actively aging, youth and educators, visit: sk.bluecross.ca/community.