Theatre, hip-hop, photography, and fish parasites. These things might not appear to have much in common, but researchers at the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre (IPHRC) are studying these as part of innovative Indigenous health research in the province.
IPHRC is a partnership between the University of Regina, First Nations University of Canada and the University of Saskatchewan that houses research at all three campuses. It is one of nine centres across Canada that comprises the Aboriginal Health Research Network Secretariat which was recently awarded a grant worth $9.2 million over two years to be shared amongst the nine Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research (NEAHRs).
"This funding [provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research] will allow us to continue to build Indigenous health research capacity in Saskatchewan and to create Indigenous health research networks at the provincial, national and international levels," said Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, director of IPHRC.
Research shows that Indigenous people in Canada suffer from health issues such as shorter life expectancies, and higher rates of suicide, diabetes and injury compared to the rest of the population.
Health issues, combined with a gap in post-secondary education attainment rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, and a growing Indigenous population create a critical need for increased Indigenous health research and capacity building, explained Episkenew.
"This is a key time for Indigenous health research, especially in Saskatchewan with the booming Indigenous population," said Episkenew. "There is a critical need to study Indigenous health in innovative and culturally appropriate ways that can be translated into positive, real community impacts."
Since its creation in 2002, IPHRC has led the way in Indigenous health research in Saskatchewan. To date, the centre has contributed over $3 million to Indigenous health research across the province through funding and grants opportunities for students, communities and researchers.
"Our success is the direct result of our talented and innovative researchers and students who continue to break new ground in the area of Indigenous health," said Dr. Carrie Bourassa, nominated principal investigator for the grant.
To learn more about IPHRC and its funding opportunities, visit: http://www.iphrc.ca/