Dinner program quality improvement to promote positive health outcomes among Aboriginal youth
Objective: Health outcomes among Aboriginal peoples in Canada are significantly lower than the general population. This study examines areas in which the quality of dinner programs can be improved in order to promote positive health outcomes in Aboriginal youth.
Methods: 22 cross-sectional quality improvement surveys were collected from attendees of the Vancouver Native Youth Initiative (VNYI) dinner program in Vancouver’s downtown east side (DTES). Survey questions focussed on dinner program quality, demographic information, and health care access for men (n=11) and women (n=11) ages 16 to 26.
Results: Of the survey participants, the mean age was 23.0±1.0 years and 86.4% self-identified as Aboriginal. The majority (50%) lived in single room occupancy (SRO) housing. 23.8% of respondents used the connected Vancouver Native Health Society (VNHS) clinic for other purposes. The average rating of agreement to the statements “I am likely to recommend the VNHYI dinner program to my friends” and “The VNHYI helps me overcome barriers to health care” were 4.75/5 and 3.3/5 respectively. Attendance on days coinciding with government financial assistance cheque distribution days (4.25+/-0.91) was significantly lower than non-cheque days (15.23+/-1.90).
Conclusions: The dinner program successfully targets Aboriginal youth and provides highly satisfactory meals. Areas of improvement that were identified include increasing participants’ access to the adjacent VNHS clinic and increasing the total attendance of the program. Distributing pamphlets or signs describing the clinic’s available resources and holding dinners strictly on non-cheque days are suggested solutions to these identified weaknesses.