New Brunswick Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Centre of Excellence Dream Catcher service delivery model: An Innovative Approach presented to the Legislative Assembly
Vitalité Health Network, Tuesday, October 25, 2022 – The New Brunswick Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Centre of Excellence’s Dream Catcher model was presented to the Legislative Assembly on October 18, 2022 at the request of the members of the Select Committee on Accessibility in New Brunswick.
From left to right: Noel Milliea, Elsipogtog First Nation Elder; Annette Cormier, Manager of the New Brunswick Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Centre of Excellence; and Dr. Nicole LeBlanc, Regional Chief of Staff, Vitalité Health Network, and Medical Director of the Centre, in front of the Legislative Assembly in Fredericton.
This is a key moment for the NB FASD Centre of Excellence. The Centre, which reports to Vitalité Health Network, delivers a bilingual provincial program. It aims to improve people’s health with respect, compassion, integrity, accountability, equity and engagement. Moreover, it aspires to raise the awareness of New Brunswickers to the dangers of consuming alcohol during pregnancy and it endeavours to reduce the impact of prenatal exposure to alcohol through prevention, diagnostic, intervention and support measures; it provides services to individuals with FASD and their families, as well as to professionals.
In order to help communities and meet needs, the Centre wanted to incorporate the Indigenous perspective into the program. “The Centre’s team consulted First Nation Elders to understand and learn about the best ways to deliver its services in the communities,” said Dr. Nicole LeBlanc, Regional Chief of Staff, Vitalité Health Network, and Medical Director of the Centre. “This is how the Dream Catcher model, which is based on how First Nations take action and incorporates love, trust and honesty, came about.”
Merging traditional Western medicine with First Nations science, the model places the client, family, community and culture at the centre of the circle of services. This approach has helped change the lives of individuals with FASD and those around them. “When we can bring together the right services at the right time to meet the unmet needs of the family unit, we provide the client and their family with the opportunity to build a solid foundation. The Dream Catcher model helps start the healing process, at the rhythm of the client and their family. “Our dedicated team puts this service delivery model into practice every day at the Centre,” said Annette Cormier, Manager of the Centre. The Dream Catcher model was implemented in the province’s 15 First Nations.
In 2019, the NB FASD Centre of Excellence was the first centre of its type to earn the “leading practice” designation in health standards. “The Centre and it’s unique Dream Catcher model are, in my view, the perfect example of a leading practice,” added Ms. Cormier.
Program champions help spread the work of the Centre and raise the awareness of communities. For example, the Université de Moncton is a valuable partner through its activities in collaboration with Best Buddies (@vraiscopainsmoncton) and its participation in research.
The Centre’s team is often called to present the Dream Catcher model to various organizations and as part of national and international conferences.