Indigenous health research program

Support the development of research on the trajectories of care and social services in Indigenous Communities.


A respectful and meaningful partnership

The Unit’s Indigenous health research program

It is designed to support changing clinical and organizational practices through health research capacity building with Quebec’s Indigenous communities.

It will be based on meaningful, respectful and egalitarian partnerships between the Unit and Indigenous patients, Indigenous communities, the associations that represent them, and the health organizations that serve them. The first stage in the program’s implementation involves starting up a dialogue with various potential community partners, organizations in the Quebec health care network, and other systems that support the development of Indigenous health research in Quebec.

By implementing the program, the Unit will apply the general principles of Indigenous health research established by the principles of OCAP, the Tapiriit Kanatami National Inuit Strategy on Research, the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador’s Research Protocol, and the ethical principles in Chapter 9 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement.

Within the program’s activities, priority will also be given to Indigenous research methodologies and decolonizing research approaches, giving precedence to the perspectives and experiential knowledge of Indigenous communities. Throughout this collaborative journey, the orientations, program priorities and terms used by partners may evolve, since the emphasis will be placed on the needs and priorities identified by the Indigenous communities. Particular care will be taken to respect the rights of Indigenous people and protect their cultural identity in all aspects of the program. The program’s specific orientations, key themes and implementation terms, as well as the indicators used to measure its impacts, will be defined in
collaboration with community partners during the first year of the program based on collective dialogue and discussion circles. At the end of its five-year funding window, the program’s potential deliverables will include:

  • Positive, respectful and egalitarian relationships between the Unité de soutien SSA Québec, stakeholders in the research community, the Quebec health care network and the various Indigenous communities in Quebec
  • Capacity building among partnering Indigenous patients, Indigenous communities and Indigenous organizations, with regard to patient-oriented research
  • Capacity building in the scientific community and among stakeholders in the health care system to ensure respectful and egalitarian partnerships with Indigenous communities
  • Tools and resources for continuous capacity building
  • Recommendations to various levels of government to develop policies that promote culturally sound pathways in our health care systems designed to create an inclusive dialogue with Indigenous patients, communities and partners
  • A strategic plan to guarantee the program’s development and sustainability

The program will be governed based on a close collaboration with people representing the four Quebec hospital centres, their university partners and members of the partnering Indigenous communities and organizations. The Indigenous health program will be co-directed by Alex McComber, assistant professor at McGill University’s department of family medicine and Kanien’kehà:ka (Mohawk) of Kahnawake, as well as Marie-Claude Tremblay, assistant professor at Université de Laval’s department of family medicine and emergency medicine. They have been collaborating successfully for many years, are highly committed to Indigenous health research, and have many years of experience in the field. Mr. McComber’s position as director of the Quebec Indigenous Mentorship Network also opens up many opportunities to collaborate in terms of mentorship and support for research capacity building among Indigenous post-secondary students in Quebec. In addition, Mr. McComber’s and Ms. Tremblay’s involvement as co-researchers in the Quebec Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research will ensure solid partnerships with this research support infrastructure, whose role complements that of the Unit.

Finally, both are co-researchers in Diabetes Action Canada in the Engaging Persons with Diabetes component and the Indigenous Peoples Health program, which will ensure an intrinsic alignment with this SPOR network.

Potential collaboration

  • First Nation and Inuit Communities in Quebec
  • First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC)
  • Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay
  • Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
  • Regroupement des Centres d’amitiés autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ)
  • Native Friendship Centres not affiliated with the RCAAQ
  • Diabetes Action Canada and other national patient-oriented research networks
  • Tahatikonhsontóntie’, Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research
  • Teionkwaienawa:kon, Quebec Indigenous Mentorship Network
  • Centre of Excellence on Partnership with Patients and the Public and the Canada Research Chair in Partnership with Patients and Communities
  • Réseau-1 Québec
  • FMOQ (Claude Guimont) for education