Presenting author: Jackson Heraid
Presenting author biography:
Jackson Heraid is a paramedic, registered nurse, and educator who has held numerous roles in emergency services, public health, harm reduction, and program development for the past 20 years. Jackson is currently the community initiatives manager for the Maskwacis Ambulance Authority and lecturer for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
24 Hour Mobile Integrated Advocacy in Remote Indigenous Territories
Jackson Heraid, Erica Schoen
Significant barriers exist for those who require support services in remote Indigenous Territories. Housing, health, counselling, childcare, harm reduction, and many other services can be either difficult to access or simply unavailable. Maskwacis is the most populated Indigenous community in Canada and the complex barriers left in the wake of colonization, the legacy of residential schools, and intergenerational trauma have led to the Maskwacis Indigenous territory being disproportionally affected by trauma, substance use disorder, and systemic marginalization exacerbated by the lack or resources in the community. To address these complex needs, the Maskwacis territory has developed a 24-hour mobile advocacy network made up of counsellors, nurses, social workers, cultural support workers, and legal advocates that provide immediate outreach support, system navigation, and advocacy. Mobile outreach is available anywhere in the community, 24 hours a day, every day, to anyone, with no appointment. This could mean sitting on the side of the road with someone who has just been arrested to ensure their rights are not violated, driving someone to a shelter in the middle of the night, or educating local schoolteachers on early childhood trauma. By successfully integrating advocacy with local law enforcement, the program has led to collaborative harm reduction efforts, reduced criminal charges for drug possession, minimized hospitalizations and improved system integration in the community. This presentation will explore successes of the program, and describe the structure for staffing, training, funding, and logistics. It will also provide a framework for how this type of program can be easily integrated into existing infrastructure such as a remote health clinical, or counselling office with minimal cost.