Vol. 8, Issue 1 – Holistic Approaches to Preventing HPV Infections and Related Diseases

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Walking With Our Ancestors

Many First Nations people believe that we walk alongside the spirits of our ancestors. Each day their indigenous knowledge and practices guide our walk towards health, the “good life.” To reach the good life, we must work together, walk together. This issue of the Journal of Aboriginal Health ( JAH) is an example of this, where a diverse group of about 60 individuals—from physicians to community members—have come together to advance what we know about preventing human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and related diseases.

The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) gives thanks to all parts of creation and all contributors who made this issue possible—the authors who submitted papers, the reviewers, the editorial board, its staff, and the production team. Also, thank you to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada for contributing funding, expertise, and social networks to this special issue.

Since 2004, the Journal has explored a wide range of themes, from the decolonization of health through indigenous knowledge and practice to First Nations communities in crisis. For the winter of 2012, NAHO is delighted to bring you this special issue in collaboration
with PHAC. According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. HPV infections can lead to diseases such as cervical cancer, the cause of an estimated 350 deaths in 2011 according to the Canadian Cancer Society. There is no national data on the incidence
and mortality of cervical cancer for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, however regional studies indicate that the incidence of cervical cancer for Aboriginal women is higher compared to women in the general population.

Cervical cancer can be prevented with vaccination and screening. However, there is a paucity of information about HPV vaccination and screening rates for First Nations,
Inuit, and Métis women. The articles contained within these pages are a step towards filling these information gaps, and can inform and tailor policies, programming, and healthcare for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. JAH is the leading open-access and peer-reviewed journal on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis health. It publishes research articles, methodological articles, community reports, book reviews, and other substantive material. The Journal is accessible through the NAHO website and searchable academic databases such as Scirus, Index Copernicus, and Google Scholar.

On behalf of all those involved, I hope you enjoy this special issue. I also hope you will become a future part of this publication by sharing your research, subscribing to the
Journal, and most importantly, joining us as we walk with our ancestors towards better health

Simon Brascoupé
Acting Chief Executive Officer
National Aboriginal Health Organization
Ottawa, ON

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