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Danielle Bourque's research wins awards and recognition

Aug 27, 2019
Guylaine Spencer


Photo above: Danielle Bourque

She is still in graduate school, with plans to defend her Masters’ thesis this fall, but rising scholar Danielle Bourque is already attracting national recognition for her research.

One of her greatest honours this year was winning the “Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s Program”, a prestigious and competitive award from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). The funding (worth $17,500) supports her thesis work, which Bourque explains “focusses on how nursing educators are integrating Indigenous cultural safety concepts into nursing education.”

The CIHR award is one of nine honours she received this year.

This spring, Bourque won a travel award from McMaster Institute of Indigenous Research (MIRI) for full funding to attend a conference of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) in New Zealand in June. “It was my first trip to New Zealand and my first trip to NAISA,” she says. “This is an international gathering of Indigenous academics from all fields of studies from around the globe. In fact this year’s conference was the largest Indigenous academic gathering to date with over 1,500 Indigenous academics in attendance. It was an incredible conference and experience to share space and stories with so many Indigenous scholars from around the globe. In particular, meeting and collaborating with other Indigenous graduate students reaffirmed my place in academia and the work I am currently doing is being done in a good way.”

The Canadian Nurses Foundation (CNF) granted Bourque the TD Aboriginal Nursing Fund Award. “I’ve been privileged to receive a CNF award every year since 2014, since my first year as an undergraduate student in nursing. The CNF offers many awards every year to nursing students at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level. They do an excellent job of providing funding for Indigenous students.” During her undergraduate studies, Bourque collaborated with the CNF on a documentary called “The Journey” about three young Indigenous nurses who are working to improve health care for Indigenous people in Canada. (For more about her experience see:  The Journey: An interview with Danielle Bourque.)

Two other external organizations recognized Bourque’s work this year. INDSPIRE is the largest funding organization for Indigenous students in Canada in all fields of education. “Receiving INDSPIRE is very important to me since its main purpose is to support Indigenous students like myself in pursuing and being successful in post-secondary education,” says Bourque. The Registered Nurses Foundation of Ontario (RNFOO) also bestowed upon Bourque their Nursing Research Interest Group (NRIG) award.

Internally, McMaster University recognized her with several awards. The Indigenous Graduate Scholarship comes with funding that is renewable for a second year. Also, at the Faculty of Health Sciences Research Plenary this spring, Bourque received three non-monetary honours. One was the Indigenous Students Health Sciences (ISHS) award for Graduate Performance and Community Leadership. “They recognize Indigenous students within Health Sciences for their academic standing as well as their community leadership,” says Bourque, who is a ISHS mentor and participates in various volunteer outreach work with Indigenous students within and outside the ISHS office. At the same event, she received the Graduate Student Diversity Award as well as the Outstanding Achievement Award.

As Dr. Olive Wahoush, Bourque’s thesis supervisor, says, “These awards are an important recognition of the quality and relevance of her work. Findings from her research about Indigenous Cultural Safety and nursing education in Ontario will be very informative for nursing education in Ontario and beyond.”

It has been a busy year for Bourque, with her studies, clinical practice at the Juravinski Hospital, travel and volunteer work. So what comes next, after her Masters’ degree is completed? “That’s a great question,” she says. “I’ll be at McMaster supporting Indigenous research on a contract basis and hopefully continuing my work within the broader Indigenous community in and around Hamilton –that’s the goal. A PhD is in the future. But I’m going to enjoy this year, spend time with family and have some rest.” 

For more information about scholarships available to Indigenous students in health sciences at McMaster, visit the Indigenous Students Health Sciences (ISHS) website:


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