Inuit-centred health and social science projects receive $1 million

Media Release

May 10, 2010 – Ottawa, Ontario – Twelve new research projects covering topics such as Inuit land knowledge, a cancer-causing stomach bug and success factors in high school education will receive a combined $1 million from ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada.“This announcement is a major step for Inuit. The resulting projects highlight the reality of research needs in Inuit communities and bring the vision and ideas of dozens of new Inuit collaborators,” said National Inuit Leader Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and co-chair of the ArcticNet Board of Directors.

“Arctic science and research is evolving and becoming more responsive to Inuit knowledge and Inuit needs. I encourage more social and health research to facilitate appropriate decision making at all levels of society and governance,” said Duane Smith, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada, and member of the ArcticNet Board of Directors.
“After several major research breakthroughs, such as the “Qanuippitaa?” (How are we?) survey of Inuit health in Nunavik, ArcticNet wanted to expand the health and social sciences components of its research program to further address the concerns of Inuit stakeholders,” said Louis Fortier, Scientific Director of ArcticNet.

The 12 new projects include the following (for a full list, visit www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca):

The Nunatsiavut Government, in collaboration with researchers from Trent University and Inuit Qaujisarvingat: The Inuit Knowledge Centre, will document the land knowledge of elders in Nain, Labrador. The study will provide Inuit regions with a process to better incorporate Inuit knowledge and cultural values into land management decision-making structures.

In Sachs Harbour and Tuktoyaktuk in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories, researchers will work with community health representatives to investigate the risks of Helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacterium that is a major cause of peptic ulcer disease and a risk factor for stomach cancer. The project will involve collection of data to identify effective therapies.

In Nunavut, researchers and community members will profile high schools in Pangnirtung and Clyde River to identify factors that have contributed to increased student engagement, student success and strong connections with language and culture. Their work will help to provide tools for other communities attempting a similar transformation in local education.

And the Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee will work with researchers to compile the results of Qanuippitaa? and similar studies into a Circumpolar Inuit Health Database and extract key health indicators of global change. Follow-up surveys will begin with Nunavik communities in 2011, focusing on the influence of environmental factors on chronic diseases and the onset of cardiovascular disease.

ArcticNet brings together scientists and managers in the natural, human health and social sciences with partners from Inuit organizations, northern communities, federal and provincial agencies and the private sector to study the impacts of climate change in the coastal Canadian Arctic.
Since partnering with ArcticNet in 2004, Inuit have advocated for funding to address Inuit research priorities, emphasizing the importance of health and social science in addition to physical science, and to help train the next generation of Inuit scientists.

ArcticNet is funded by the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program. A detailed process to renew the program’s funding begins later this year.

For more information:

Patricia D’Souza
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
613/292-4482; dsouza@itk.ca

Carole Simon
Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada
613/563-2642; csimon@inuitcircumpolar.com

Martin Fortier
ArcticNet
418/656-5233; martin.fortier@arcticnet.ulaval.ca

Contact:
Stephen Hendrie, Director of Communications
Tel: 613.277.3178, hendrie@itk.ca

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More