$2 million invested to fund a new CIHR Centre for Intercultural Research on Prevention of Gender Violence: Preventing Gender Violence

The CIHR’s Institute of Gender and Health (IGH) is investing $2 million in the CIHR Centre for Intercultural Research on Prevention of Gender Violence at the University of Ottawa Institute of Population Health. The Centre will focus on migrating minorities through a novel approach that links Aboriginal and immigrant groups in cities with their home communities.

“Gender-based violence has significant effects on the health of women, men, girls and boys in Canada and around the world. Migrating minorities, who are the focus of the centre’s work, are at an increased risk of gender-based violence,” says Dr. Joy Johnson, IGH Scientific Director.

The Centre will generate proposals for intervention research with partner communities of origin and with urban groups: the Nakota Sioux in Alexis and Edmonton; the Mohawk in Akwesasne and Ottawa /Toronto, Inuit living in Ottawa and in the north, and a subgroup of the Ottawa Latin American immigrant community. Each partner will name its own researcher to train and work with the Centre, increasing their research capacity and contributing to leadership of the Centre.

“We will focus on the positive roles of parenting and cultures of origin to prevent gender violence,” says Dr. Neil Andersson, executive director of CIET, a research NGO affiliated with the University of Ottawa and principal investigator at the new Centre. “Although the pressures of moving to a city can cut people off from their culture of origin, we believe those cultures can still be protective – we have to work out how to make them more protective in relation to gender violence.”

Gender violence includes any type of sexual coercion, non-sexual physical violence and related forms of abuse based on gender in addition to the physical trauma caused by rape or child sexual abuse. Survivors of gender violence face significant risks, including HIV infections and other sexually transmitted diseases. Survivors may also take on high-risk behaviours, leading to their re-victimization.

In both communities of origin and urban counterparts, the Centre will also build skills to use the research products to improve programs and policies that affect the health of women, men, girls and boys. Although the four partners have quite different cultures, they will share a community of practice with policy-makers and other stakeholders, developing an enabling environment for future implementation of their own interventions. 

The new Centre builds on CIET research and training in Canada and abroad. The team has trained Aboriginal health researchers in Canada for 15 years, recently through Anisnabe Kekendazone, a CIHR-funded Network for Aboriginal Health Research and the Inuit Institute for Research and Planning. In Latin America and Africa, CIET has trained indigenous and non-indigenous health researchers for 25 years. The Centre's international dimension is prominent with CIET's ongoing research on GBV in Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria and Southern Africa.

Dr Neil Andersson is the executive director of CIET and adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He has three decades of experience designing, implementing and managing evidence-based health planning initiatives. A medical epidemiologist, for the last 15 years he has supported training of researchers in more than 200 Canadian First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.  www.ciet.org


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