Policy/ Community Health Pillar

Policy/Community Health Lead: Jon McGavock


Policy/Community Health Researchers: Helga Bryant, Jan Sanderson, Kristy Wittmeier, Leanne Boyd, Leona Star, Mariette Chartier, Patricia Gregory, Barbara Rawluck, Rob Santos, Stephanie Sinclair, Wanda Phillips-Beck, Melanie D Souza (RRC), Kiri Shafto (PHAC/ASPC)

Working closely with communities, stakeholders, experienced early child education programs and policy makers, our formative work supports the design of interventions that will improve early childhood health.


Working closely with Rob Santos from Healthy Child Manitoba, our team will help to move discoveries into evidence based decision making and rapidly develop policies or programs for improving child health.​

PNC North

Factors Affecting the Inadequate Prenatal Care Among Women in Northern Manitoba

Pregnancy continuum care (PNC) is critical: it has the potential to reduce perinatal morbidity and mortality by treating medical conditions, identifying and mitigating risks, and helping women to address behavioral factors that contribute to poor outcomes. 


However, despite Canada’s universally funded health care system, pregnancy care use varies widely across the province with the highest rates of inadequate pregnancy care found in northern Manitoba. Although research has been conducted in inner-city Winnipeg on the determinants of inadequate PNC, little is known about the determinants of inadequate PNC in northern Manitoba. Indigenous women living in these areas experience several transitions in care during this time, between both health systems and jurisdictions. Poor transitions or lack of continuity in these transitions can lead to poor prenatal and infant care, resulting in significant morbidity in mothers and children, perpetuating inequities in health. Wholistic, culturally safe interventions are needed to support continuity of care during the perinatal period to reduce these inequities and promote lifelong well-being among Indigenous women and their children. 


To address these inequities, we gathered a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, policy makers, health providers and Indigenous women to develop and evaluate an intervention to improve continuity of care for Indigenous women during the perinatal period.

This will be the first health systems intervention to improve health systems transitions during the perinatal period for Indigenous women living in northern regions in Canada. It will serve a model for improving health systems and jurisdictional transitions among Indigenous women during the pernatal period.

This project builds upon a successful health systems intervention delivered in Winnipeg’s inner city that improved rates of prenatal care. To hear more, click here. To read the final evaluative report, click here.

How do early-life environmental exposures and health influence child development, as measured by the Early Development Instrument (EDI)?

This project will link individual early-life and biological data from the longitudinal CHILD pregnancy cohort with Early Development Instrument (EDI) data at Healthy Child Manitoba (HCM).

This collaboration will facilitate a unique in-depth analysis of the family, biological and environmental exposures and factors that influence social development and a novel exploratory analysis of how a child’s individual health history and other early life exposures may influence their readiness for school.