Harper Government invests in Aboriginal Health Research
June 21, 2012

New initiative sets the course for a focussed 10-year health research agenda

Ottawa, Ontario & Iqaluit, Nunavut (June 21, 2012) –The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development today announced an investment of $25 million in a new long-term aboriginal health research initiative called Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples.

The Ministers also announced support for six major projects to study the best ways for health providers to collaborate with First Nations, Métis and Inuit to improve community wellness.

“Our Government is committed to improving the health of Aboriginal Canadians,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “To help make these projects as effective as possible, this new research initiative requires researchers to partner with aboriginal communities.  Together they’ll figure out the most effective ways of tackling key health issues such as suicide, tuberculosis, obesity and oral health.”

At the core of the Pathways initiative is a focus on finding ways to increase and adapt existing health research to the diverse needs of Aboriginal communities, where values, traditional knowledge, and history vary greatly.

"Today's announcement commits long-term, stable funding that will help drive the innovation required to improve health outcomes in aboriginal communities," said Minister Duncan. "By focusing on collaborations between health researchers and aboriginal communities, we will see more meaningful health solutions that can be successfully implemented, leading to healthier communities."

“Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is supportive of this announcement,” says national Inuit leader Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.” We applaud the focus on intervention-centred research to improve health outcomes around suicide, TB, oral health, and obesity. We look forward to ongoing engagement in this process in order to align the Pathways initiative with the ongoing work of ITK and our Inuit Qaujisarvingat: Inuit Knowledge Centre. We must build bridges between health research and Inuit health priorities as defined by Inuit.”

Researchers are expected to work closely with health stakeholders and partners in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. This will allow them to share knowledge and best practices in a respectful, cooperative way to foster changes in health policies and practices.