Background: Community organizations in Nunavut, Canada believe their programs and services are not valued or viewed as part of the continuum of health care services available in northern communities. These community-based health and wellness programs provide essential services that fill gaps within the health system, particularly in communities that are understaffed or under-resourced.
Purpose: Explore the barriers and facilitators to the implementation and sustainability of community-based wellness programs in Nunavut.
Method: Case series informed by one-on-one interviews with community health organization directors from across Nunavut.
Findings: This case series identified the barriers of culturally grounded program implementation and sustainability within Nunavut.
Communities: These include systemic funding blocks, gatekeepers, political interference/influence, disconnect between program and financial mechanisms at the territorial level, high turnover of management and admin, and lack of cultural awareness among senior program staff due to regular turnover within those positions. Facilitators include change champions, community strengths, training opportunities, and a growing evidence base. These challenges may arise from the fact that community-based wellness programs are not meaningfully included in the design of the health system.
Conclusion: Policy changes are needed that will better support community health organizations in the territory to implement and sustain health programs.