IIPH Institute Advisory Board Members – Biographies

Christopher Mushquash, PhD, C.Psych. (Chair)
Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at Lakehead University, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Clinical Psychologist, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

Christopher Mushquash, HBSc., M.A., Ph.D., C.Psych., is Ojibway, and a member of Pawgwasheeng (Pays Plat First Nation). He is a registered clinical psychologist (Ontario), Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Clinical Psychologist at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Associate Vice President Research at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and Chief Scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. He is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction, with expertise in rural and northern clinical practice and the development of culturally appropriate interventions for mental health and addiction difficulties in First Nations children, adolescents, and adults. He is an academic researcher and Indigenous scholar who was born and raised in rural Northwestern Ontario. In 2017, Dr. Mushquash was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Karen Blondin Hall
Director, Cultural Safety and Anti-Racism, Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories

Karen Blondin Hall is Sahtúgot’ı̨nę (person from Great Bear Lake) and grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (NWT). She currently works in Yellowknife as Director, Cultural Safety and Anti-Racism for the Government of the Northwest Territories, Department of Health and Social Services where she provides leadership to the organization’s system-wide approach to addressing anti-Indigenous racism. For almost a decade, Karen has worked with Indigenous peoples and communities across the NWT to set the strategic vision and actions to embed cultural safety and anti-racism across the NWT health and social services (HSS) system. This includes the development and delivery of mandatory in-person cultural safety and anti-racism training for NWT HSS staff.

She holds a BSc in Health Promotion from Dalhousie University and an MA in Studies in Policy and Practice from the University of Victoria where she focused her studies and research on Indigenous health inequities, Indigenous ways of knowing, and cultural safety.

Karen comes from a line of Indigenous Knowledge Holders and is passionate about incorporating Indigenous teachings and practices into her life both personally and professionally.

Paul Brassard
Associate Professor of Medicine, McGill University
Principal Investigator, Center for Clinical Epidemiology, Jewish General Hospital
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health, Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, Université de Montréal

Dr. Brassard is a clinician-scientist and teacher with postgraduate training in parasitology and epidemiology and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physician of Canada in public health and preventive medicine with special interest in communicable disease control and prevention and circumpolar health. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University and a principal investigator in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and an Assistant Professor at Université de Montréal, Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health, Department of Community and Preventive Medicine.

He previously served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society for Circumpolar Health, as the Secretary-Treasurer of the International Network for Circumpolar Health Research and on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Circumpolar Health Publishers.

He has extensive experience in management of field research and participatory-based interventions involving the Canadian Indigenous population and currently developing a screening, prevention and promotion agenda focusing on the modern cancers touching the Inuit population of Canada.

Janice Cindy Gaudet
Assistant Professor, Campus Saint-Jean, University of Alberta

Janice Cindy Gaudet is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair at the Campus Saint-Jean, University of Alberta. Her research focuses on the intersections of Métis women’s kinship, land, wellness as tied to decolonizing research methodologies.

Robert (Bobby) Henry
Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies, University of Saskatchewan
Canada Research Chair Tier II, Indigenous Justice and Wellbeing

Dr. Robert Henry (Métis) is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. His research incorporates photo-voice methods and Indigenous methodologies, examining Indigenous health and wellbeing. He is leading a project that aims to improve public understanding about street gangs and street lifestyles through community engagement research, with a goal of informing policies that can help combat high rates of incarceration among Indigenous Peoples in the Prairie provinces. He is the Executive Director and Principal Investigator, nātawihowin and mamawiikikayaahk Research Networks (SK-NEIHR) and the Co-Principal Investigator, NEIHR National Coordinating Centre.

Sameera Hussain
Director, Strategic Integration, Office of International Affairs for the Health Portfolio
Adjunct Professor, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa

Dr. Sameera Hussain is a health policy professional mobilizing systems thinking and strategic foresight at the intersection of policy, research, and practice. With extensive domestic policy experience and international field experience, her work is rooted in the principles of equity and decolonization.

Dr. Hussain is passionate about bridging the evidence to policy gap in health systems. She is committed to generating and mobilizing knowledge for effective, evidence-based public health policymaking that addresses the social, cultural, political, commercial, and environmental determinants of health in Canada and globally.

Her recent work includes senior policy roles in COVID-19 response and recovery at the Public Health Agency of Canada and a CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship (2017-2019).

Her international experience is rooted in ground level realities, primarily in countries of the Global South, where she did field research around the health needs of marginalized communities, working with global Indigenous groups in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh), Bangsamoro communities in the autonomous region of Mindanao (Philippines), and semi-rural communities in Afghanistan.

Dr. Hussain holds a doctorate in global health policy and degrees in political and development studies. In addition to serving on this board, Dr. Hussain is an editor with Globalization and Health Journal.

Karen Lawford, Ph.D. R.M., A.M.
Assistant Professor, Department of Gender Studies, Queen’s University

Dr. Karen Lawford (Ph.D., R.M., A.M.) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Queen's University. She is the first Indigenous midwife in Canada to obtain a doctoral degree and hold a university appointment. She advocates for comprehensive gender-inclusive sexual and reproductive health and care for Indigenous Peoples. Dr. Lawford is a founding member of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives.

Dr. Jennifer Leason, PhD
CIHR, Tier II Canada Research Chair, Indigenous Maternal Child Wellness
Associate Professor, University of Calgary
Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Public Health

Boozhoo, Aniin Keesis Sagay Egette Kwe nindiznikaaz (greetings, my name is First Shining Rays of Sunlight Woman). Dr. Jennifer Leason is a member of Pine Creek Indian Band, Manitoba and the proud mother of Lucas and Lucy. Dr. Leason is a Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Canada Research Chair, Tier II, Indigenous Maternal Child Wellness and an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary. Dr. Leason is an Associate Member of the CIHR College of Reviewers and Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Public Health. She is the recipient of a CIHR New Investigator Award (2017-2020); New Frontiers in Research Fund Award (2019-2021); and CIHR Operating Grant (2020-2023), among other Patient Oriented Research grants and partnerships. Her research aims to address perinatal and maternal-child health disparities and inequities by examining maternity experiences, healthcare utilization, and social-cultural contexts of Indigenous maternal child wellness.

Candice Lys, PhD, M.S.M.
Founder & Executive Director – FOXY/SMASH
Research Associate, Aurora College

Dr. Candice Lys grew up in a very large Métis family in Fort Smith, NWT and now resides in Yellowknife.  She holds a PhD in Public Health Science from the University of Toronto, a MA in Health Promotion from Dalhousie University, and a BA Honors (with First Class Honors) in sociology from the University of Alberta.  She has nearly 20 years of experience as a community-based sexual and mental health promotion expert and researcher.

Candice is the Co-Founder/Executive Director of FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) and SMASH (Strength, Masculinities, and Sexual Health).  FOXY and SMASH are peer-led, trauma-informed, arts-based sexual and mental health programs that use the arts to facilitate discussion, education, and healing among Northern and Indigenous youth, reaching over 6000 youth to date.  In 2014, FOXY was the first organization to be awarded the entire $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize. Candice is recognized as the only Ashoka Fellow from the NWT and has earned the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) from the Governor General of Canada, a 2020 Indspire Award for Education, and a CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, among numerous other awards.

She is a Mama to a little human Luca and a rambunctious beagle named Maple.

Dr. Dawn Martin Hill
Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies Program, Department of Anthropology, McMaster University

Dawn is Mohawk and resides at Six Nations with her family. She was the first Indigenous cultural anthropologist in Canada and continues to break barriers in education and research. Her primary research over two decades is working with women and youth to develop Indigenous ways of knowing strategies, holistic assessments of community wellness, traditional medicine and improving quality of life. She founded the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University as a graduate student, and more recently, the Haudenosaunee Environmental Health Task Force to build an infrastructure of environmental health research located on Six Nations. The HEHTF is currently exploring how Indigenous families’ wellness is impacted by lack of access to clean water.  Dawn’s focus is on community-led research, Indigenous knowledge, and citizen science.

As a Principal Investigator, Dawn leads several Global Water Futures projects, including Co-creation of Indigenous Water Quality Tools and Ohneganos: Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Training & Co-Creation of Mixed Method Tools. Ohneganos has partnerships with two communities, Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario and Lubicon Lake Band of Little Buffalo in northern Alberta, and is working to address issues of water security and water sovereignty by grounding them in the health of the environment. Her all-female Haudenosaunee research team working on a project titled Tehtsitehwa: kenrotka: we (Together We Pull It From The Earth Again) – The Ohero:kon Youth Health Intervention (CIHR-IIPH), focuses on a rites of passage program for youth as a nation building strategy. Dawn has presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues with her governance teams supporting young community women’s research on exploring environmental rights of Haudenosaunee women to land, water and bodies. Her team’s research is on multiple social media platforms under the name Ohneganos Ohnegahdę:gyo, including a video podcast Ohneganos: Let Talk Water podcast which recently receive the People’s Choice Award for the Future Ground Prize from the David Suzuki Foundation.

Dawn is a new member representing Canada on the UNESCO Hydrology Committee. She has been publishing Indigenous knowledge research since 1992, her book, Indigenous Knowledge & Power: the Lubicon Lake Nation in 1997 documents the impact of oil and forestry extraction in northern Alberta on the Lubicon people. She has numerous peer reviewed publications in Journal of Aboriginal Health, NAHO and other book chapters including a recent publication titled: Doctrine of Discovery: A Mohawk Feminist Response to Colonial Domination and Violations to Indigenous Lands and Women in Rowman and Littlefield Handbook, Women Studies in Religion, 2021. Dawn has also directed and produced three films on culture, women, and Indigenous community healing. She has worked diligently to conserve and protect Indigenous knowledge and language as founder of the Indigenous Elders and Youth Council and has longstanding partnerships with the Amazon Conservation Team, Kawenni:io immersion school, Six Nations Health Services, and Lubicon Cree Nations. Dawn is a leader in Indigenous ways of knowing and continues to advocate for Indigenous intellectual equity.

Referencing Joyce Tekahnawiiaks King (2007), “From the perspective of the traditional Haudenosaunee, we speak in terms of responsibilities with respect to water, not in terms of water rights. From time immemorial, we have held the view that the “law of the land” is not man-made law, but a greater natural law, the Great Law of Peace ….the root words for “rain” in Mohawk means expensive, or precious or holy’. Culturally, we would not abuse this resource”. Dawn’s specific research interests in traditional knowledge naturally highlights solutions in improving quality of life through attention to gender, governance, and well-being related to water quality.

Rod McCormick
Senior Professor, Indigenous Health, Thompson Rivers University

Dr. Rod McCormick (Kanienkehaka-Mohawk) is a Senior Professor and BC Government endowed Research Chair in Indigenous Health at Thompson Rivers University. Before moving to his partner’s home community of T’Kemlups te Secwepemc, Rod was a psychologist and counselling psychology professor at the University of British Columbia for 18 years. Dr. McCormick’s research focuses on community capacity building in mental health and research as well as the reclamation of traditional forms of healing. Dr. McCormick has been a clinician and consultant in Indigenous mental health for approximately 35 yrs.  Dr McCormick is also a veteran having served as a naval officer for 6 years.

Professor McCormick was the lead for the CIHR funded BC Aboriginal Capacity and Developmental Research Environments, the BC and Western Arctic Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research, and the Kloshe Tillicum network. He is currently the lead on the National/International Indigenous mentorship network Ombaashi, the indigenous undergraduate research training program: Knowledge Makers, as well as the All My Relations Indigenous Health Research Centre at TRU. He is an investigator with national initiatives such as Investigator Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) National Training Entity (NTE), the Ontario Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research, and the BC Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research.

In addition to previously serving on CIHR Institutional advisory and peer review boards, he currently serves on national and international advisories such as the Child Bright Network; as a core member of the national Expert Advisory Committee to provide advice and guidance for the reform of Indigenous Services Canada, as well as the international peer review committee for the Australian National Healthand Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Date modified: