OISE assistant professor Jeffrey Ansloos named as Canada Research Chair

Press Release

July 16, 2020

An OISE faculty member Jeffrey Ansloos, has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Critical Studies in Indigenous Health and Social Action on Suicide.

The Canada Research Chair in Critical Studies in Indigenous Health and Social Action on Suicide will help to establish critical research on the structural dimensions of suicide for Indigenous youth and communities.

While suicide is often conceptualized and treated as a mental health issue, this program of research aims to deepen knowledge of the structural dimensions of Indigenous suicide. By drawing on Indigenous studies and community psychology, this program of research will grapple with the social, political, cultural, environmental, and technological factors that might shift how we conceptualize and respond to the phenomena of suicide within Indigenous communities.

“I am thrilled to be named a CRC, and advance critical research on health and social issues facing Indigenous communities,” said Ansloos, an assistant professor of Indigenous mental health and social policy in OISE’s department of applied psychology and human development. ” I am committed to advancing an approach to suicide studies and suicide prevention which takes seriously what Indigenous feminist, queer and community scholars have been voicing for a long time, that is the importance of addressing structural violence.”

“The mainstream psychological approach to suicide research is often interested in biomedical conceptualizations of suicide and clinical approaches to prevention,” Ansloos explained. “The approach of my program of research is more broadly concerned with understanding what structural conditions and systems of oppression exist which make the colonial logics of suicide possible? And further, what conditions are needed not only to make life more livable, but that enhance quality and vitality of life, and indeed, liberation for Indigenous youth and our communities.”

“I am grateful for the support of so many friends, colleagues, students, and community in this important work, and I hope that this work will ultimately shine a light on the amazing and brilliant ways that young people and our communities are healing, navigating profound challenges, and lifting each other up,” he added.

This program will seek to better understand how various structural dimensions intersect with social identities and lived experiences of Indigenous peoples, in particular, queer young people, and the influence of these factors on suicide.

Drawing on a community-based and social action framework, and using qualitative, arts-based and new media-oriented research methods, this CRC will help to identify, develop and share those practices which address structural dimensions of suicide, and nourish vitality and life within Indigenous youth and communities.

“The announcement of Professor Ansloos’ appointment as a Canada Research Chair in this vitally important area is very welcome news and we congratulate him,” said Michele Peterson-Badali, OISE’s Associate Dean, Research, International and Innovation.  Moving beyond suicide as ‘mental health issue’ to understand its systemic and structural dimensions is necessary to inform theory, policy, and practice. Ansloos has already established an international reputation as an expert in critical and Indigenous perspectives on suicide, youth mental health, and Indigenous rights. We are grateful that he has taken up this crucial file.”

Ansloos’ current research is focused on the social determinants of mental health. He also researches digital ecologies of Indigenous youth political mobilization, specifically at the intersections of public health, social movements, and Indigenous rights.


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