This is a blog recording the announcements that are sent out on the CASCA listserv.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Major concerns re CIHR and Aboriginal Health Research

Forwarded message for CASCA list serves:

From: "Ann Macaulay, Dr." <>

Subject: Major concerns re CIHR and Aboriginal Health Research
Date: November 27, 2014 at 10:02:41 AM GMT-5

Dear Everyone,

I am writing today as a member of a new national Aboriginal Health
Community Steering Committee, whose members include both Aboriginal
and non-Aboriginal senior researchers.

We are extremely concerned about Major changes at Canadian Institutes
of Health Research (CIHR) and the very negative impacts these changes
are having on Aboriginal health research in Canada.

The Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health (IAPH) was created to
address major inequities in Aboriginal health, train Aboriginal
researchers, and those in Aboriginal health research, give voice to
Aboriginal community members and develop research ethics to ensure
researchers always undertook research in partnership with Aboriginal
communities/organizations. IAPH was the first dedicated Indigenous
research institute in the world, was very successful in the first 10
years with very positive feedback from the CIHR International Review

However in the last few years there has been:

• Discontinuation of CIHR funds to support the nine Aboriginal
capacity building centres (ACADREs/NEAHRs), when there is still huge
need to train more Aboriginal researchers (especially those who are

• Reduction of institute funds dedicated to Aboriginal health,
which means that Aboriginal researchers face increased funding
competition and will result in decreased Aboriginal focused research

• Discontinuation of the Aboriginal position on the CIHR
ethics committee

• Proposed merging of the institutes and the Institute
Advisory Boards which will further dilute the Aboriginal voice

Last week the Aboriginal Health Community Steering Committee members
wrote open letters to Dr Alain Beaudet and the Governing Council (GC)
before the last GC meeting with a request to meet to discuss these
key points of concern. Dr Beaudet and GC have not responded to our
letters or request to meet. We are now releasing all the letters to
University leadership across Canada, Aboriginal health researchers,
Aboriginal organizations, those who support Aboriginal issues and the
press to highlight the issues and request support for a meeting
between CIHR and senior Aboriginal health researchers.

Pages 6-7 in the cover memo of the attached document summarises our
requests to Dr Beaudet and the Governing Council.

" (1) that you make no decisions, or take any steps administratively
to implement previous decisions, that would have the effect of further
undermining the Aboriginal health presence within CIHR and its
programs. An example would be the plan to eliminate the IAPH Advisory
Board or to dismantle the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health. It
would not be adequate nor consistent with the kind of relationship of
which we speak to be offered an opportunity to participate in the
implementation of decisions that you have already made — decisions
that we perceive to be harmful to the Aboriginal health community and
made without any meaningful involvement by that community, and

(2) that you agree to participate with us in a process to address and
resolve the full range of process and substantive issues that were
summarized in Dr. Wien's letter of 15 November 2014. We envisage that
would involve an initial meeting with Dr. Beaudet and other CIHR
representatives as appropriate to discuss and agree to an ongoing
process of dialogue".

The Aboriginal Health Community Steering Committee would be very
grateful if you could

1. Support our request for committee members to meet with CIHR
leadership by writing to the contacts on P7 of the document

2. Forward this document widely to your listserves and contacts -
researchers, Aboriginal organisations, community members, those who
support Aboriginal issues

Please do contact me if you would like further information. We will be
very grateful for your feedback, guidance, points for discussion,
recommendations and requests.

Please also know that many of the other Institutes are also very
concerned with current CIHR changes

MANY thanks and apologies for multiple postings and those I overlooked
on this email!


Ann C Macaulay CM MD FCFP FRCPC (Hon)

Professor Family Medicine

CIET/Participatory Research at McGill (PRAM)

5858 Cote de Neiges, 3rd floor

Montreal, QC H3S 1Z1

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