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Our_Community Health Initiative - Quick Facts

We have members across BC, and acknowledge the multiple First Nations traditional territories where we live, work and play.
Our organization is housed in the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, and centered in the islands of the mid-Salish Sea, as such we specifically acknowledge our organizational host, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, and our hosts of several nations, collectively the SENĆOŦEN speaking peoples, also referred to as the Malchosen, the Lkwungen, the Semiahmoo, and the T’Sou-ke.
We work on a way forward that is based on mutual respect and marked by stories of our communities cooperating in this time of Truth and Reconciliation.

O_CHI stands for Our _ Community Health Initiative
The dash in O_CHI represents the principle that equity should never depend on identity.
We acknowledge Dr. Cindy Blackstock for this learning.

The O_CHI logo is five rings that overlap each other surrounded by a circle of dots.
The five rings represent five marginalized communities, Indigenous/Two-Spirit,
trans/nonbinary, Sex Workers, People With Disabilities, and Newcomers.

The overlap represents the intersectionality of our communities.
The colours represent the uniqueness of each, the white our common struggles
The O_CHI dash states that equity is never dependent on identity
The Silver center represents our common goal of improving wellness in our community
The circle of dots represents our ongoing welcome to all to join us.

O_CHI is a multi-year, BC-wide Community-Based Participatory Research Project investigating how to bring about systemic change for the trans, Two_Spirit, nonbinary (T2NBY )Community.
O_CHI establishes lasting, sustainable, community resources to accomplish its objectives,
O_CHI maintains equitable access by the Indigenous community, with a current focus on the urbanized Indigenous people living away from their traditional territories
O_CHI views systemic change through a strengths based lens that sees a world where the T2NBY community is a respected, vital and important part of society.
The start of that change is to see ourselves as vital, important and worthy of respect. This is where we begin.

The focus of our work are people who are desiring, exploring, living through, assisting with, or sharing lived experience of transition related to gender.
Transition related to gender is separated into three areas of interest and concern, physical, social, and personal.
Physical transition includes altering one’s biochemistry and body parts through hormone therapies and surgical procedures.
Social transition includes altering one’s gender presentation or expression from the social norm of the gender assigned (attributed) at birth.
Personal transition includes the emotional, spiritual and relationship changes that come about from the following a path of physical and social transition.
We use the collective adjective ‘trans’ or ‘community member’ when we refer to the people who are the focus of our work, which is investigating the requirements for systemic change.

Our_Community Health Initiative began with a Canadian Institute for Health Research Grant in May 2018.
It is currently funded through a Vancouver Foundation Systems Change Grant, Investigation Phase until end of 2021
It will qualify for an additional three years of funding in the Scaling Phase until the end of 2024.

Our current planning horizon is 20 years, until the year 2040.

Our_Community Health Initiative is a BC-wide project, with its three primary partners all located on southern Vancouver Island.
Team members participate from across BC, current team member reside in Nelson, Prince George, Sooke, and Victoria.

The current project funding of Our_Community Health Initiative is provided by the Vancouver Foundation. We are very grateful for their support. Their funding criteria states that our work should:

  • Tackle the root causes of complex issues by disrupting the ways that systems work
  • Challenge the way things have worked for generations
  • Collaborate within and across sectors
  • Break down the silos between health and social services, education, employment, environment, arts and culture
  • Be bold, creative, and ambitious in their approach to systems change
  • Be socially innovative, such as by grounding a project in cultural knowledge and practices
  • Do something new or using existing resources in a new way, or doing something that has worked elsewhere, or by trying something again
  • Has the potential to create lasting change for communities across British Columbia

O_CHI resources consists of in-kind contribution from the organizational partners and external cash funding.

Current annual resources include:
University of Victoria – $77,870, mainly human resources to manage the research process to ensure conformity to standards
Rainbow Health Co-operative – $16,465, mainly human resources to provide project management of initiative
Victoria Native Friendship Centre – $10,000, mainly human resources to ensure cultural safety of those engaged in or affected by the initiative
Vancouver Foundation – $100,000 – mainly cash to support systems change investigation and training opportunities

Overall we anticipate over $600,000 of resources flowing into the trans, Two-Spirit, nonbinary community in the first six years of the project. Our strategy is to use that funding to leverage an equal amount of other resources from a variety of sources, including social enterprises developed by community members.

Our resource distribution strategy targets the economically disadvantaged in the community. We do this by maintaining a 60% per cent allocation of funding to people with an affirmative hiring strategy for trans community members. Forty percent is spent on material costs related to community events.

Team salaries are typically capped at $10,000. This matches the maximum a person can receive if they are living on disability pensions or similar, a common situation for community members. It also provides supplementary income to students working in post secondary institutions, who typically make up a portion of the initiative team.

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