1Toronto Centre for Liver Disease/Viral Hepatitis Care Network (VIRCAN), Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) Collaborative, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
3Ontario First Nations HIV/AIDS Education Circle (OFNHAEC), London, Ontario, Canada.
4Deceased 01 07 22.
BACKGROUND: Administrative health data provide a rich and powerful tool for health services research. Partnership between researchers and the Ontario First Nations HIV/AIDS Education Circle (OFNHAEC) allowed for comprehensive analyses of the health and economic impacts of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in First Nations populations across Ontario, using administrative data. Examples of meaningful involvement of First Nations partners in research using secondary data sources demonstrate how community-based participatory research principles can be adapted to empower First Nations stakeholders and decision-makers. The aim of this review is to summarize and reflect on lessons learned in producing meaningful and actionable First Nations HCV research using health administrative data, from the perspective of health services researchers who collaborated for the first time with First Nations partners. METHODS: We discuss how our relationship with OFNHAEC formed and how engagement contextualized findings and provided opportunities for fostering trust and mutual capacity building. Methods included adherence to data governance principles, agreements outlining ethical conduct, and establishing commitment between partners. RESULTS: Engagement with OFNHAEC enhanced cultural understandings in study conception, design, and analysis, and enabled meaningful lessons for both parties through contextualizing findings together. Partnership ensured attention to factors, such as strength-based approaches and limitations of administrative data in their representation of First Nations peoples, that are not considered in standard HCV health services research using administrative health data. CONCLUSIONS: Collaboration throughout the HCV research provided first-hand experience of the relevance, representation, and importance of incorporating First Nations perspectives in health services research using administrative data.