Through our Graduate Student Fellowships program, IPHRC provides funding and support for graduate students pursuing studies related to Aboriginal health in Saskatchewan.

We are proud to announce that the following students were successful in their applications for funding for the 2011-2012 academic year:

Serene Smyth

1st Year PhD Student
College of Kinesiology
University of Saskatchewan

It Takes a Village: Addressing Health Body Weights in Urban Aboriginal Youth

Aboriginal youth have higher rates of obesity than non-Aboriginal youth. This trend is problematic because of its association with numerous diseases. More than half of Aboriginal people in Canada reside in urban areas, and this population is also very young. In 2006, 28% of the urban Aboriginal population was under 15 years old. Given that urban Aboriginal youth are such a large component of the population, there is a need to address obesity amongst this group. The goal of this project is to establish an Aboriginal Health Promoting High School and to study its effect on the physical activity level, nutrition status, as well as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of urban Aboriginal youth.

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Robert Henry

2nd Year PhD Student
Department of Native Studies
University of Saskatchewan

The Aboriginal Gang Phenomena: A Study of Past and Present Aboriginal Gang Members in Saskatchewan

Using photo-ethnography and photo-voice to capture the realities of Aboriginal gang life in Saskatchewan, this research examines the mutliple push and pull factors that affect Aboriginal males' choices to join street gangs. At the same time as this project will create space for marginalized Aboriginal males, the participants' personal stories will also help to create a framework for discussing the types of prevention, intervention, harm reduction, and supression programs that are effective for reducing and preventing gang involvement. This work is epecially important given that a reduction in gangs often results in reductions in: violence, drug/alcohol incidences, theft, sexual exploitation, and a myriad of other deviant behaviours.



Roisin Unsworth

3rd Year Master's Student
Department of Sociology
University of Saskatchewan


Exploring the Experiences of Treatment Providers Offering Care to Aboriginal Women in Drug Treatment

Traumatic life experiences can lead individuals to self medicate with alcohol and drugs in order to cope and can result in serious substance abuse and mental health problems. However, few drug treatment providers recognize how trauma is central to the occurence of these problems among women, which results in a lack of services that address trauma from a gender-informed lens. Successful drug treatment with Aboriginal women requires an understanding of their unique differences from men and focuses on assisting them in re-claiming their identity as Aborignial women through culturally-relevant healing practices while they are in treatment. Using a qualitative approach, this study will create new research about the experiential knowledge of treatment providers, inform policy, and contribute to the creation of more culturally relevant trauma-informed and trauma-specific services for Aboriginal women in drug treatment.

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Deanna Bickford

1st Year PhD Student
College of Nursing
University of Saskatchewan

Oral and Visual Research as First Nations Ways of Knowing for Youth

Approximately half of the First Nations population in Saskatchewan is under 19 years of age, and it is important to understand what health means to these youth. First Nations youth are at a high risk for developing long-term health related problems, being hospitalized, getting incarcerated, committing suicide, and HIV infections. Past health research has focused on Western knowledge in the effort to reduce an individual's risks and reduce costs to the healthcare system. Therefore, it is neccessary to reconsider how we engage First Nations youth in learning about their meaning of health and ways of knowing through a First Nations lens. Oral and visual research methods, such as winter counts, will be used to share knowledge and explore First Nations ways of knowing.  The goal of this research is to create meaningful and innovative approaches for understanding and achieving health for First Nations youth.

For more information about how to apply for our Graduate Student Fellowships or Undergraduate Research Awards, please visit our For Students page.

If you would like to learn more about any of our students, please contact Cassandra Opikokew,  Research Associate - Knowledge Translation and Communications.