First Nations communities of Manitoulin to explore role of research in reconciliation

The Manitoulin Anishnaabek Research Review Committee (MARRC) is hosting a research conference February 1-2, 2019, to explore how research can contribute to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

The MARRC, chaired by Dr. Lorrilee McGregor, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Health at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), serves as a community research ethics board for the First Nation communities of Manitoulin Island. The committee evaluates proposed research projects on Manitoulin Island to ensure they respect Anishinaabek values and reflect the communities’ vision for culturally appropriate research.

Since it was established in 2001, the MARRC has reviewed more than 60 research projects, a number of them led by NOSM faculty. Researchers involved in these projects have been invited to the conference to present their findings to community members. The conference will also include small group discussions, as well as keynote addresses by Dr. Deborah McGregor, Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, and Dr. Cindy Peltier, Chair of Indigenous Education in the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University.

McGregor said the conference is an opportunity for researchers and community members to come together to learn from one another and better understand what role research can play in the reconciliation process.

“For a long time, our communities had mostly negative experiences with health research, and so the committee was established as a way to ensure that research happening on Manitoulin was ethical from an Indigenous perspective,” she said. “This conference is a way for us to build on that vision, and contribute to the larger conversation around research and reconciliation from an Anishinaabek perspective.”

The conference is funded through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant. According to the SSHRC, these grants support interdisciplinary events and outreach activities that represent opportunities to engage and exchange knowledge on successful ways of conducting Indigenous research that are transformative and contribute to reconciliation, including holistic, interdisciplinary and distinctions-based approaches.

Date:                 Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2, 2019

Time:                9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST

Location:         Manitoulin Hotel & Conference CentreLittle Current, ON

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About Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Since its inception, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has proudly defied traditional health professional education.

Born of a grassroots movement by Northern Ontarians in need of health professionals, NOSM is a medical school like no other. No other Canadian medical school is a joint initiative between two universities—in this case, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Laurentian University in Sudbury. No other Canadian medical school provides training in more than 90 communities across a geographic expanse of 800,000 square kilometres. No other Canadian medical school was established with an explicit social accountability mandate—a mandate to improve the health of the people of the region. Rather than taking an off-the-shelf approach to delivering health professional programs modelled after traditional methods, NOSM has developed novel education strategies to meet the needs of Northern Ontarians.

NOSM’s education is quite literally “all over the map,” taking learners out of the “ivory tower” and into your backyard. Learners are woven into the fabric of Northern Ontario communities. They learn in context about the determinants of health that are relevant to the region, with the hopes that their experiences will win over hearts and minds, and encourage them to return upon completion of their training. And it’s working.

You don’t have to look far to find the source of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s success. It’s right in the name: Northern Ontario. Northern Ontarians have made NOSM what it is—a locally grown solution to regional health inequalities, and an international leader in distributed, community-engaged health professional education and research.