The original purpose of IPHRC was to establish a research environment designed to foster and increase Indigenous health research in Saskatchewan through community-generated health research initiatives and capacity building.
There were two parallel tracks identified in the development of the centre: (1) specific programs for students and researchers of Indigenous ancestry, (2) and programs that would develop and support Indigenous health research. Training grants were proposed to encourage Indigenous students to explore and participate in health research and to foster trainees involved with Indigenous health projects.
2001 - Aboriginal Capacity & Developmental Research Environments (ACADRE)
After the success of the Aboriginal Capacity and Developmental Research Environments (ACADRE) proposal in late 2001 by Nominated Principal Investigator Dr. Eber Hampton (Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, now First Nations University of Canada) and Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Ralph Nilson (University of Regina) and Dr. Bruce Waygood (University of Saskatchewan), the Government of Saskatchewan announced that it would provide matching funds and a one-time contribution from the Department of Industry and Resources.
2002 - 2013 - Network Environments of Aboriginal Health Research (NEAHR)
Development of IPHRC and its programs began in 2002 when the majority-Indigenous board first convened. In 2007, IPHRC became one of nine Network Environments of Aboriginal Health Research (NEAHRs) funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) - Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health. Together, these nine centres formed the Aboriginal Health Research Network Secretariat (AHRNetS). From 2002-2010, Dr. Eber Hampton remained as Nominated Principal Investigator (NPI). Dr. Carrie Bourassa (First Nations University of Canada) served as NPI from 2010-2012, with Dr. Jennifer Poudrier (U of S) and Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew (U of R) as Co-Principal Investigators during this time.
Co-Investigators also became part of IPHRC’s governance structure as members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC helped provide guidance in shaping the centre’s direction. Many researchers worked on this committee throughout this time period: Dr. Sylvia Abonyi (U of S), Dr. Peter Butt (U of S), Dr. Karen Chad (U of S), Dr. Marcia Anderson Decoteau (U of Manitoba), Dr. James Daschuk (U of R), Dr. Colleen Dell (U of S), Dr. Roland Dyck (U of S), Prof. William Ermine (FNUniv), Dr. Linda Goulet (FNUniv), Dr. Mary Hampton (U of R), Dr. Bonnie Jeffery (U of R), Dr. Warren Linds (Concordia), Dr. Charity Marsh (U of R), Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine (U of S), Dr. James Mulvale (U of R), Dr. Nathaniel Osgood (U of S), Dr. Pammla Petrucka (U of R), Dr. Jennifer Poudrier (U of S), Dr. Vivian Ramsden (U of S), Dr. Janet Smylie (U of Toronto), and Dr. Caroline Tait (U of S).
In 2013, NEAHR funding was extended for one year with Dr. Fred Wien serving as NPI for the national group grant application.
From 2002 - 2013, IPHRC distributed over 70 summer undergraduate research awards and over 30 graduate scholarships to PhD and Masters students researching Indigenous health. We distributed over 50 grants to community partners and researchers undertaking Indigenous health research projects in Saskatchewan communities. IPHRC also hosted numerous mentoring sessions and research colloquia, such as the National Gathering of Graduate Students (2011) and the First Annual Indigenous Health Research Conference (2011), to provide networking opportunities for students and researchers involved in Indigenous health research across the province.
2014 - Transition to Project-Based Funding
Since the phasing out of centre-based funding from CIHR- IAPH, we have switched gears and now operate on project-based funding to build Indigenous health research capacity in the province. We currently have funding from a successful Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) Health Group Grant Iyiniw-Oskâtisak Pamihisowak: Using Indigenous Knowledge for a Healthier Aboriginal Youth worth over $750,000 over three years. IPHRC Director Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew served as the project’s Nominated Principal Investigator.
Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew and IPHRC Research Affiliates Dr. Linda Goulet, Dr. Warren Linds, and Dr. Greg Marchildon were also awarded a CIHR Operating Grant worth $558,457 over three years for their project Kitinikêwin Misiwanacihisowin: Researching Arts-Based Wellness Promotion for Suicide Prevention Among Aboriginal Youth. Despite the changes to the funding landscape, IPHRC continues to successfully pursue project specific research funding that has allowed us to build a network of over 24 research affiliates and to hire more than 6 student trainees, 4 post-doctoral fellows and 4 community research associates so that we can continue empowering Indigenous communities through community-based research projects.
Following the announcement of JoLee Sasakamoose as the incoming director in 2018, IPHRC is currently assessing its place in the landscape of Indigenous health, and developing a new way forward for our research and our team. We hope to highlight the important work being done by our colleagues, while building an expert team to take on the challenges faced in the pursuit of wellness for our communities.