The following story was published in the 2022-23 SHRF Annual Report.
See the full publication here.
Supporting responsive, engaged and strength-based Indigenous health research in Saskatchewan has long been a priority of SHRF. Doing so inspires the honest and open consideration of research funding opportunities and processes, markers for success and traditional ways of knowing. We recognize the importance of supporting research to address health equity for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and that this can only happen by researchers working with and for these communities. SHRF is proud to have funded an array of projects in 2022-23 in which Indigenous communities play a leading or central role.
SHRF also works to create a space where excellence includes diverse approaches to research. We are cognizant that research and granting processes, which were built for colonial institutions, can represent obstacles to Indigenous collaboration in research. We are committed to continuing to learn about and address these obstacles so that health research that is important to Indigenous people and communities can happen meaningfully—from developing the application to sharing the knowledge.
Heeding the Call
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRCC) clearly outlines the role of health and health research in their 94 Calls to Action. As part of our commitment to these calls, SHRF established the Research Connections, Truth and Action Grant in 2021. This funding supports knowledge mobilization projects that specifically address one or more of the TRCC’s Calls to Action and embrace both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives. The projects funded through this grant reflect meaningful steps towards the engagement of knowledge-users, community members and individuals with lived/living experience into Indigenous health research and practice.
The TRCC’s Call 62ii directly addresses the need for the federal, provincial and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with survivors, Aboriginal peoples and educators, to support post-secondary institutions in educating teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and methods into classrooms. Dr. Vincent Ziffle’s (pictured) Research Connections, Truth and Action Grant aims to correct misconceptions of and speak about long-held Indigenous traditions by facilitating Teaching Circles and conversations in First Nations languages regarding the therapeutic, ceremonial and spiritual aspects of Indigenous plants and their science. This process will reflect the perspectives of Elders from across several bands and regions in Western Canada, which will be represented and documented through an open-access survey manuscript and shared orally in both public and academic spheres.
Elders’ Residency on Medicinal Plants and Languages: A Series of Truth and Action Workshops Connecting Knowledge Keepers and Community Through Medicinal Plant Traditions and Indigenous Languages
Vincent Ziffle [First Nations University of Canada]
2022-23 SHRF Research Connections, Truth & Action Grant
Supporting Indigenous Community-Based Research in Saskatchewan
Across SHRF’s many grants, Indigenous-based health research is addressing and supporting the unique systems, circumstances and goals of the Indigenous communities of Saskatchewan. We are proud to witness the engagement, consultation and consideration inherent to this work, and are eager to participate in its continual evolution as a primary pillar of Saskatchewan health research.
Dr. Amira Abdelrasoul’s (pictured) research program focuses on improving hemodialysis, a field of medicine presently challenged by the bio-incompatibility of current membranes and the poor clearance of certain toxins from the blood. As she works to engineer novel hemodialysis membranes that can overcome these shortcomings and moves toward the development of a wearable artificial kidney (research initially supported by a 2019-20 SHRF Establishment Grant), she is also utilizing funding from a 2022-23 Research Connections Grant to build relationships with Indigenous hemodialysis patients—a group 30% more likely to be hospitalized due to complications. By fostering these relationships and learning about outcomes that matter to Indigenous patients, Dr. Abdelrasoul is focusing her research direction and embracing a patient-oriented approach to hemodialysis advancements.
Establishing Connections with Indigenous Hemodialysis Patients in Saskatchewan Towards Improved Patient Outcomes
Amira Abdelrasoul [University of Saskatchewan]
2022-23 SHRF Research Connections Grant
Dr. Stacey Lovo (pictured) is working in partnership with Indigenous community members and scholars to address inequities and challenges faced by Indigenous peoples seeking care for neuropathic pain in Saskatchewan. Through a 2022-23 Solutions Innovation Grant, she and her team are working to understand the experiences and expressions of neuropathic pain amongst Indigenous populations living remotely, and developing culturally responsive virtual care interventions for the management of neuropathic pain. The team will co-develop a culturally responsive inter-professional virtual assessment process for neuropathic pain that respects Indigenous experiences and language descriptions, with the goal of supporting the feasibility and accessibility of future virtual neuropathic pain care options.
Community-Directed Virtual Care Strategies for the Management of Neuropathic Pain in Remote Indigenous Communities: A Collaborative Approach to a Culturally Responsive Virtual Care Process
Stacey Lovo, Gary Linassi [University of Saskatchewan]
2022-23 SHRF Solutions, Innovation Grant
Learn more about SHRF's health research funding opportunities at: https://www.shrf.ca/funding