Two UNBC researchers, together with northern and provincial partners, have embarked on a five-year research project focused on further enhancing Indigenous health in northern B.C.
Dr. Sarah de Leeuw and Dr. Margo Greenwood received $1.3 million as part of a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
It is the first joint federal research partnership grant of its kind to be held at UNBC, and is one of only nine such grants held across Canada. The work builds on a pilot project launched in 2016.
Key partners include 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. The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, also a major partner, is contributing an additional $130,000 in funding.
"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, a Northern Medical Program and geography associate professor.
The project will focus on ways to transform health service delivery in northern B.C., across existing organizations and professions, into a culturally safe and culturally humble environment in which to provide and receive care. It also aims to inspire new generations of Indigenous youth in the North to enter the health-care field.
"We are going to look at what each of us in the North can do to help support our common goals in this project," noted Greenwood, a First Nations Studies and Education professor, and Northern Health vice president of Indigenous Health. "This means getting together with stakeholders across the region, having good conversations around the issues, and encouraging people to be self-reflective on practice, programs and the system."
Other project participants include collaborators from the Northern Medical Program, University of British Columbia, and McMaster University. The First Nations Health Authority was a key partner in the 2016 pilot project.