Peer Health Advocacy Wellness Network

  • Peer Health Advocacy Wellness Network (PHAWN) is launching as a division of Wellness Wheel to create a peer network within the partner communities participating in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) “Know Your Status” (KYS) Implementation Grant. This need was vocalized at the November 2018 KYS grant meeting. Key points noted at this meeting were the need for:
    • Knowledge sharing between communities
    • Reciprocity
    • Best practices
    • Collective healing
    • Sharing circles
    • Training
    • Esteem building
    • Educational tool development to include families and elders
    • Teachings to include families and elders
    • Capacity building within Peer groups
  • To achieve these key points, PHAWN was developed and has asked partner communities to identify their own community needs and PHAWN will then work in conjunction with the communities to develop a program based on these needs. In addition, PHAWN will link the Peer Networks from each partner community with each other, and to other provincial and national resources to support and increase the capacity of their peers.


  • PHAWN envisions harmonized Indigenous and Western ways of healing within the peer network. PHAWN aims to build relationships within and beyond each partner community in parallel with the Peer Health Advocates (PHAs).


  • PHAWN is geared towards providing services for all people living on First Nations Band lands in Saskatchewan, who are living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and/or substance use issues. PHAWN’s intention is to find peers with similar lived experiences to those who are not seen in the current western system, as PHAWN knows it is important to acknowledge all individuals who may benefit from the shared understanding that peers hold. These individuals may include (but are not limited to); Indigenous, LGBTQ2S, African Caribbean Black (ABC), newcomers, people who use drugs (PWUD) and other marginalized communities.

Peer Support Philosophy

  • The philosophy of peer support is that individuals have within themselves the knowledge of what is best for them and a strong desire to find a path towards improved health. The Peer Health Advocate guides that person as they search for that inner knowledge and reignite that hopeful desire.
  • Peer support is based on relationships in which each person is considered equal within the relationship and self-determination is highly respected. Peer support is focused on health and wellbeing rather than on illness and disability. In all types of peer support relationships, empathetic understanding and experiential learning is shared in a non-judgmental and supportive manner.
  • Our peer support services aim to break isolation and provide social and emotional support and connection for people living with HIV, Hepatitis C and/or substance use issues through harmonization of Indigenous and western ways of healing.
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