New IPHRC director wants to continue legacy of late Episkinew
- EFN Staff | April 01, 2018
JoLee Sasakamoose has been appointed the new director at the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC).
“I am honoured and accept this opportunity to lead a nationally recognized research centre that harmonizes Indigenous knowledges to restore Indigenous health capacity,” said Sasakamoose in a media release. “Our strength will be in our partnerships and engaging Indigenous Peoples in developing the way forward. We are at a time of tremendous change and we have the opportunity to shape the provincial health landscape within Saskatchewan and beyond.”
The previous IPHRC director was the late Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew who passed away February 18, 2016. Sasakamoose said it’s rather intimidating to fill her shoes leading the research centre.
“Just seeing how much demand is on IPHRC in general and on the role of the director,” said Sasakamoose. “It’s just shocking what she must have done while she was alive that probably many of us didn’t realize. I had no idea the amount IPHRC is in demand in the community.”
Sasakamoose is an Anishinabe (Ojibwe) from the Three Fires Confederacy in Michigan and Ontario, with membership in M’Chigeeng First Nation and an active citizen of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. She started working with Indigenous groups in defining healthy communities for more than a decade.
The Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School hosts IPHRC. Executive Director Kathleen McNutt said Sasakamoose was the ideal candidate to lead the Centre after recognizing her service as an IPHRC research affiliate under the leadership of Episkenew.
“Sasakamoose is regarded for her work with Indigenous communities and provides a much-needed and appreciated Indigenous perspective to the work that is being done in the school,” said McNutt.
Sasakamoose is an associate professor of Educational Psychology and Indigenous Counselling in the University of Regina’s Faculty of Education and a methodologist with the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research. Previously, she served as the founding director of the Health Advocacy and Research Training program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from Michigan State University (MSU), a Master of Science in Human Development, Counselling and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island, and a PhD in Higher Adult and Lifelong Education from MSU. She joined the U of R in 2011.
Her research explored the intergenerational effects of historical trauma with Indigenous Peoples and the use of traditional healing methods in the promotion of health and wellbeing. In partnership with the First Nations communities of Saskatchewan, she co-authored the Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Theory, a theoretical framework to improve well-being of Indigenous Peoples.
Sasakamoose will be under a three-year contract and hopes to accomplish a lot under her role including getting a fully staffed centre, establishing long-term sustainable funding, and would like to see the centre become a trailblazer for Indigenous methodologies.