Harper Government Invests in Aboriginal Health Research

New initiative sets the course for a focussed 10-year health research agenda

For immediate release –

2012-30

Left to right: Ms. Carol Hopkins, Executive Director, National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation; Dr. Colleen Dell, Research Chair in Substance Abuse, University of Saskatchewan; Mr. Greg Rickford Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; Mr. John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; Mr. Pete Bernard, Elder, Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation; Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR; Mr. John Henri Commanda, President, Odawa Native Friendship Centre

Ottawa, Ontario & Iqaluit, Nunavut (June 21, 2012) – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development today announced an investment of $25 million in a new long-term aboriginal health research initiative called Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples.

The Ministers also announced support for six major projects to study the best ways for health providers to collaborate with First Nations, Métis and Inuit to improve community wellness.

“Our Government is committed to improving the health of Aboriginal Canadians,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “To help make these projects as effective as possible, this new research initiative requires researchers to partner with aboriginal communities.  Together they’ll figure out the most effective ways of tackling key health issues such as suicide, tuberculosis, obesity and oral health.”

At the core of the Pathways initiative is a focus on finding ways to increase and adapt existing health research to the diverse needs of Aboriginal communities, where values, traditional knowledge, and history vary greatly.

"Today's announcement commits long-term, stable funding that will help drive the innovation required to improve health outcomes in aboriginal communities," said Minister Duncan. "By focusing on collaborations between health researchers and aboriginal communities, we will see more meaningful health solutions that can be successfully implemented, leading to healthier communities."

“Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is supportive of this announcement,” says national Inuit leader Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.” We applaud the focus on intervention-centred research to improve health outcomes around suicide, TB, oral health, and obesity. We look forward to ongoing engagement in this process in order to align the Pathways initiative with the ongoing work of ITK and our Inuit Qaujisarvingat: Inuit Knowledge Centre. We must build bridges between health research and Inuit health priorities as defined by Inuit.”

Researchers are expected to work closely with health stakeholders and partners in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. This will allow them to share knowledge and best practices in a respectful, cooperative way to foster changes in health policies and practices.


John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development


Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health

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The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

Fact Sheet

Further information:

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
613-957-0200

David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
613-941-4563