Community Greenhouse Project to Promote Better Management of Diabetes

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, SOAHAC and sanofi-aventis Canada propose novel solution to chronic disease challenge

Munsee, ON and Laval, QC, May 5 – The Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC), the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and sanofi-aventis Canada are proud to announce today their partnership for the establishment of a four-season community greenhouse adjacent to the SOAHAC medical clinic of Munsee, Ontario. The greenhouse will become an intergenerational community centre that will facilitate diabetes education, the promotion of healthy eating and lifestyle changes to encourage First Nations to better self-manage their diabetes.”We are excited to partner with sanofi-aventis on this very important initiative,” adds Brian Dokis, Executive Director, SOAHAC. “In a recent Food Choice Study conducted by SOAHAC and the University of Western Ontario, one of the recommendations was the establishment of a community garden to address income and place-based food challenges. We’re pleased to see this recommendation become a reality in southern Ontario. Our joint partnership with the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and sanofi-aventis represents an important milestone in our fight against diabetes.”

While diabetes is three to five times more prevalent among First Nations, most cases are preventable Type 2, and medication compliance within their communities is only 25 per cent. Against this backdrop, the three partners see clear opportunities to work jointly towards improved health outcomes.

“Sanofi-aventis’ goal is to find solutions to the gaps in patient care that exist in our health system. This project does exactly that. Our company has donated $123,000 to finance construction and supplies for this project along with the sharing of our knowledge,” says Hugh O’Neill, President and CEO, sanofi-aventis Canada. “We’re hopeful our investment can contribute to the reduction of health disparities amongst First Nations by supporting better disease management and realizing better health outcomes.”

“The greenhouse will serve three First Nations communities (Chippewas, Oneida and Munsee), providing healthy food and medicinal herbs,” says Joe Miskokomon, Chief of the Chippewas of the Thames. “It will unite both young and old in the community to learn about nutrition and healthy living. Given the epidemic of diabetes among our First Nations today, a project like this is critical to better diabetes management and the future of our community.”

The Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) strives to provide quality, holistic health services by sharing and promoting traditional and western health practices to enable people to live in a more balanced state of well-being. The Centre services on and off reserve, status, non-status, and Métis Aboriginal populations of the Southwest Ontario region and associate First Nations with the mandate of ensuring that health services are accessible, of high quality and culturally appropriate.

About sanofi-aventis Canada
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.

Sanofi-aventis is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they employ more than 2,000 people across the country. With combined R&D investments of $159.2 million in 2010, they are leaders in Canada’s biopharmaceutical sector, a critical knowledge-based industry that generates jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.

For further information:

Brian Dokis
Executive Director
519 672-4079

Joanne Kennedy
Corporate Communications
Sanofi-aventis Canada
514 956-4188

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