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Responding to health inequities: Indigenous health system innovations

  • J. G. Lavoie (a1), D. Kornelsen (a1), L. Wylie (a2), J. Mignone (a1), J. Dwyer (a3), Y. Boyer (a4), A. Boulton (a5) and K. O'Donnell (a3)...


Over the past decades, Indigenous communities around the world have become more vocal and mobilized to address the health inequities they experience. Many Indigenous communities we work with in Canada, Australia, Latin America, the USA, New Zealand and to a lesser extent Scandinavia have developed their own culturally-informed services, focusing on the needs of their own community members. This paper discusses Indigenous healthcare innovations from an international perspective, and showcases Indigenous health system innovations that emerged in Canada (the First Nation Health Authority) and Colombia (Anas Wayúu). These case studies serve as examples of Indigenous-led innovations that might serve as models to other communities. The analysis we present suggests that when opportunities arise, Indigenous communities can and will mobilize to develop Indigenous-led primary healthcare services that are well managed and effective at addressing health inequities. Sustainable funding and supportive policy frameworks that are harmonized across international, national and local levels are required for these organizations to achieve their full potential. In conclusion, this paper demonstrates the value of supporting Indigenous health system innovations.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: J. G. Lavoie, Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba College of Medicine, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Email:


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