NORTHERN, B.C. – A five-year research project focused on enhancing Indigenous health in Northern B.C will be headed by two UNBC researchers, together with northern and provincial partners.
Dr. Sarah de Leeuw and Dr. Margo Greenwood received $1.3 million as part of a Healthy and Productive Work Initiative – Partnership Grant, from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
The five-year project includes numerous Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders across the North, Northern Health, Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George, and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH). The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), also a major partner, is contributing an additional $130,000 in funding.
Building on a pilot project launched in 2016, this is the first joint federal research partnership grant of its kind to be held at UNBC. A focus will be put on ways to transform health service delivery in Northern B.C. Included are organizations and professions to be culturally safe and culturally humble environments to provide and receive care. The program also aims to inspire new generations of Indigenous youth in the North to enter the health-care field.
“We are excited to have started this journey with our partners through which we will explore ways to celebrate Indigeneity in health care,” said de Leeuw, Northern Medical Program and Geography associate professor. “It’s an opportunity to develop northern-focused solutions that seek to create a more culturally humble health-care system that embraces Indigenous people and Indigenous knowledge.”
“Our project aspirations include teaching future health-care providers through experiential learning, training health researchers who will be writing policy and developing the knowledge landscape that health services will be provided within, and inspiring future Indigenous health care leaders,” added de Leeuw.
“Access to culturally safe care is a critical part of our ongoing commitment to improving services in our region and fostering respectful and collaborative relationships with our Indigenous communities,” said David Williams, Northern Health vice president of Human Resources. “We are committed to becoming more reflective of the people we serve in the North and look forward to furthering that goal through this project. We hope to attract more Indigenous employees to our workforce and also continue to improve the workplace for those employees.”