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Background: Processes for epidemiology embedded with Indigenous methodology are needed. Building Bridges was developed to engage Indigenous peoples in epidemiology to address health issues relevant to them.
Objectives: We describe our process for meaningfully engaging Indigenous leaders and peoples living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in epidemiology research.
Methods: As a community-based research (CBR) project, Indigenous methodologies and leadership ensured the quality and relevance of findings. Study phases included 1) advisory board formation, 2) recruitment, 3) research question identification, 4) data analysis from the Canadian HIV Observational Cohort (CANOC) collaboration, 5) data interpretation and contextualization, and 6) knowledge translation and exchange.
Lessons Learned: Support and guidance from Indigenous team members, Spiritual Leaders and Elders along with meaningful relationships with allied academic researchers were pivotal. Expertise and lived experiences in Indigenous culture, HIV, epidemiology and services enabled multidirectional learning.
Conclusions: Building Bridges' success hinged on ongoing co-learning and engagement of Indigenous peoples, service providers and researchers.