CAAN and Gilead Sciences Canada Ignite Hope with New Indigenous Health Grant

Press Release

REGINA, SK, Sept. 21, 2023 – CAAN Communities, Alliances & Networks and Gilead Sciences Canada Inc. (Gilead Sciences Canada) today joined hands to unveil the GLOW Indigenous Health Grant: Guiding Local Opportunities for Wellbeing, a new $4M grant program supporting community organizations. The initiative will enable Indigenous-led solutions designed to address the unique needs of Indigenous Peoples in Canada affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis.

“I’m excited to see this program come to life after our months of collaboration and thoughtful work,” says Margaret Kisikaw Piyesis, Okimaw/CEO, CAAN. “Indigenous ways of knowing and doing are essential to the health of our communities and this important work will open doors for more Indigenous Peoples to access care and will support their journey towards healing. My hope is that this program can serve as an example of how existing health systems can work with Indigenous communities and enable real change.”

Driven by the lasting impacts of colonialization and oppression, Indigenous Peoples continue to experience a significantly higher incidence of HIV and viral hepatitis compared to non-Indigenous populations.1,2,3,4 While Indigenous Peoples represent just five per cent of Canada’s total population, they make up 18.2 per cent of all new HIV infections and are two to five times more likely to contract Hepatitis C than non-Indigenous groups.5,6

These illnesses are more than just health issues; they are the scars of colonialism and structural inequities which continue to persist today. Indigenous communities face systemic barriers that hinder their access to both traditional medicine and clinical diagnosis and treatment.7,8 The GLOW Indigenous Health Grant marks a significant step forward in breaking down these structural barriers, championing the empowerment of Indigenous Peoples to autonomously shape their own path towards health and well-being.

“We recognize the unique needs of Canada’s Indigenous communities, and this acknowledgement has profoundly influenced our approach to this groundbreaking collaboration – a philanthropic commitment unlike any we’ve made as an organization in Canada,” said Christophe Griolet, General Manager and Vice-President, Gilead Sciences Canada. “This program is a proof point of our commitment to promoting health equity through robust community partnerships, and we are hopeful that our joint efforts will lead to enhanced health outcomes for Indigenous communities living with or at risk of HIV and viral hepatitis.”

Part of Gilead’s largest commitment to health equity for Indigenous communities, the grant is open to Indigenous-led organizations whose work aims to improve the holistic health and well-being of Indigenous populations, with a specific emphasis on addressing HIV and viral hepatitis. Funded initiatives will be guided by Indigenous ways of knowing and doing and align with at least one of the grant’s funding priorities: education, peer support & navigation, holistic care and capacity building.

The first cohort of funded projects will be announced in December 2023. For more information about the program, visit

About the CAAN & Gilead Sciences Canada Partnership

Gilead Sciences Canada recognizes that pursuing its purpose of making the world a healthier place goes beyond delivering innovative therapies. Improving health equity requires thoughtful listening and collaboration with community leaders to develop actionable solutions that will drive change.

CAAN and Gilead Sciences Canada marked the beginning of their partnership in April 2022 with a bundle ceremony led by CAAN Elder in Residence, Betty McKenna. Since then, the two organizations have been in close collaboration. CAAN has generously shared their guidance and expertise to ensure the joint efforts align with Indigenous teachings and address the real needs of Indigenous communities across the country. Together, the organizations have worked hard to determine their shared mission for this partnership, establish their opportunity to create impact, and develop a grant framework that prioritizes accessibility and equity.

This work has culminated in the launch of the GLOW Indigenous Health Grant: Guiding Local Opportunities for Wellbeing, a three-year commitment to support culturally adapted solutions to improve HIV and viral hepatitis health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples. This program is part of a global Gilead Sciences initiative, pledging $8M in funding over three years to increase health equity in Indigenous communities in Australia and Canada.

About Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis, COVID-19 and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California. For more information, visit

About CAAN

CAAN is a national, Indigenous organization who is leading the response to HIV and AIDS through empowerment, education and community. CAAN provides a forum for Indigenous Peoples across Canada to (w)holistically address health issues, with a particular focus on HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBIs), and tuberculosis (TB). CAAN produces culturally relevant resources to assist and empower Indigenous Peoples in preventing infectious disease through Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Doing (IWKD); respecting the diverse Indigenous Peoples of our lands, acknowledging differences and accentuating unity and strength in a spirit of wholeness, healing, and cultural safety. For more information, visit

For further information: CONTACTS: Matthew Harding – Canada,


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