In early December 2022, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health announced nearly $10 million in federal funding for 16 projects across Canada. This includes funding for a new World Spine Care Canada (WSCC) and the Indigenous leadership of Pimicikamak Okimawin (Cross Lake First Nation) research project and health service in Cross Lake, northern Manitoba. The research team includes OCA members Drs. Jean Moss, Patricia Tavares, Deborah Kopansky-Giles, and Silvano Mior.
Funding for this implementation and impact study will enable access to high-quality, low-cost, non-pharmaceutical, and non-surgical care for low back and neck pain in Cross Lake as a first step in evaluating Global Spine Care Initiative (GSCI)’s comprehensive spine care model. The GSCI model is premised upon evidence-based, people-centred, and integrated health care that uses a collaborative care model with the patient at the centre of care. Using this model, adapted to the local context, the clinician will triage patients and facilitate referrals to the most effective and appropriate care, including chiropractic. With this approach, the research team also aims to reduce opioid use for musculoskeletal (MSK) issues like back and neck pain.
“This is an exciting stage for the initiative, where we’ll be looking at the readiness and feasibility to implement the proposed model of spine care,” says Dr. André Bussières, professor, Département Chiropratique, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and McGill University. “It’s also crucial for the research team to understand if and what tweaks need to be made to the spine care model to meet the community’s needs. The ultimate goal is for it to be sustainable and fully implementable in other remote communities and Canadian provinces.”
The spine care service will be integrated into the Cross Lake Nursing Station and operate via a triage system and evidence-based care pathway. Health care professionals, including Dr. Jennifer Ward, an Indigenous chiropractor, as well as nurses and physicians will be available to provide services tailored to each patient’s particular needs.
From 2013 to 2018, leading spine clinicians, scientists, people with lived experiences, and educators worldwide, including chiropractors were invited to participate in the GSCI – a scientific arm of World Spine Care (WSC) led by Dr. Scott Haldeman – to develop an evidence-based, practical, and sustainable spinal health care model for communities around the world with various levels of resources. The model represents eight core principles with a six-step implementation plan.
“The beauty of this model is that it can be applied anywhere, in any country, and in any place,” says Dr. Tavares, full-time assistant professor and primary clinician at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC). “It allows us to speak the same language, and addresses prevention and regular care. Implementing this model will help make care for patients with low back and neck pain more efficient by getting them the right care at the right time and at the right place.”
As the clinical co-ordinator of the Dominican Republic Project of WSCC, Dr. Tavares will provide training to local and incoming clinicians on the spine care model.
“CMCC is excited to collaborate on this project,” says Dr. Kopansky-Giles, professor of graduate education and research at CMCC, and assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto. “We have a long history of working closely with the Indigenous community previously in Ontario in the delivery of musculoskeletal care at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. This project represents the college’s and the chiropractic profession’s commitment to enhancing health care services and access for Indigenous people in Canada, consistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.”
In partnership with leaders and clinicians, the knowledge gained through the work of the GSCI will facilitate capacity-building in the community, as well as provide a better understanding of the cultural adaptability of the model and potential for its implementation in other settings locally and internationally.
This project was made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP), as well as the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA), Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF), and the Skoll Foundation.