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New grant explores Indigenous and Western healing practices

Aug 28, 2017
Guylaine Spencer

Dr. Bernice Downey is engaged in an exciting new study involving a unique health clinic based at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in southern Ontario. Downey, along with Dr. Karen Hill (principal investigator) and co-investigator Elva Jamieson, have received a Catalyst grant from CIHR to conduct the research over the next year.

The clinic, Juddah’s Place, explains Downey, “is the first of its kind to bring together both Traditional Medicine Practitioners and Indigenous Physicians in a collaborative relational practice model.” The study will explore “how this model of care, inclusive of both Traditional and Western healing practice, addresses barriers and meets the needs of Indigenous patients and families experiencing cancer. This project also aims to contribute to a more in-depth understanding regarding Indigenous evaluation frameworks that will yield findings inclusive of Indigenous perceptions of well- being,” Downey says.

The study’s principal investigator Dr. Karen Hill is an Indigenous primary care physician and faculty at McMaster University. Elva Jamieson is also a co-principal investigator. “It is very exciting to have Elva Jamieson formally named on this grant as she is an Indigenous Traditional Healer in Six Nations.”

Downey has been cross-appointed as an assistant professor to the School of Nursing and to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.  She is also advising the leadership of the Faculty in the development of an Indigenous strategy for the Faculty of Health Sciences. Downey is the Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead for Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto-Central Region, a health consultant, and a medical anthropologist of Oji/Cree and Celtic heritage.

Details of grant:

Hill, K. (PI), Downey, B. (Co-PI), Jamieson, E. (Co-PI). Juddah’s Place – An Indigenous Evaluation Project. Catalyst Grant: ‘Indigenous Approaches to Wellness Research – Wellness Journey in Cancer Control’. $126,600.  

This grant is funded by the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health (IAPH) in partnership with the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research.


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