The Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health has awarded a CAD$3.5 million operating grant to Dr. Treena Wasontí:io Delormier of McGill’s School of Human Nutrition. The grant will help to establish a Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR) over the next five years in the province of Quebec
The purpose of the NEIHR program is to establish a network of centres focused on capacity development, research and knowledge translation centred on Indigenous Peoples, and is an integral component of CIHR’s $100 M action plan for building healthier futures for Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) peoples living in Canada. Multiple indicators show that Indigenous Peoples across Canada suffer a significant health gap compared to non-Indigenous populations. This includes reduced life expectancy, higher children mortality rates and increased rates of Tuberculosis infection, all of which underline the pressing need for medical research that focuses on Indigenous health issues.
“The NEIHR is an incredible opportunity for Indigenous communities, Indigenous serving organizations and academic institutions to bring together the many positive examples of respectful and rigorous health research,” said Dr. Delormier, the Nominated Principal Applicant of the grant. “It will build on current efforts in academic institutions to create supportive spaces for Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous students and knowledge holders.”
The network is entitled: Tahatikonhsontóntie’ – ‘the faces that are coming ’– Community Mobilization for Indigenous Health Research Capacity and will be hosted at the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project (KSDPP) in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. The Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project is a nationally and internationally recognized best practice in community-based research with 25 years of experience.
The mission of the Tahatikonhsontóntie’ Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research is to be the center for research and training in community mobilization and knowledge translation for Indigenous health promotion. Network partners include Indigenous communities, Indigenous-serving organizations, academic researchers and institutions, and decision-makers and knowledge users. The Network aims to develop research opportunities, share research expertise and wise practices, and enhance access to training, research tools and methodologies that support the self-determination of Indigenous communities in attaining their visions of health and well-being. Within these community centered research spaces, Indigenous knowledge will be honoured and privileged, and bridge the strengths of western ways of knowing when appropriate.