Interim leadership of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health
Message from the President

February 1, 2022

Dear colleagues,

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the individuals who have reached out, or have responded to our outreach for advice, as we navigate the process to select a new Scientific Director for the Institute of Indigenous Peoples Health (IIPH). I am deeply grateful for your feedback and support.

Although far more remains to be done, we are now soliciting interest from individuals who may wish to undertake the role of Interim Scientific Director of IIPH while the process of selecting a new Scientific Director is underway.

Before addressing this immediate need, however, I would like to provide an early sense of the selection process for the next Scientific Director. It will be a process grounded in a respectful and culturally responsive outreach to the broad Indigenous research community to seek advice, including advice on the selection process itself. Given IIPH's broad mandate to support the research interests of all Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) including Urban Indigenous communities in Canada, this engagement will include asking the critical question: "Is the IIPH governance appropriately configured?" At CIHR, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that we support Indigenous ways of learning and knowledge in forging equitable health outcomes for all Indigenous Peoples. This requires a process that is not only open to innovation but also inclusive. In the coming months, we will continue to reach out to the community to seek your advice on how this process should be developed. I look forward to sharing this with you in due course.

What is clear to me is that this engagement process cannot be rushed. Realistically, I do not anticipate having the position of Scientific Director of IIPH filled in less than 18 months. As such, there is a need for an Interim Scientific Director.

In identifying the desired skill sets for the proposed Interim Scientific Director of IIPH, we have been guided by the advice of many colleagues from the Indigenous research community. As I have indicated in previous correspondence, CIHR remains deeply committed to advancing Indigenous self-determination in health research and embedding Indigenous ways of learning and healing in our research programs. The incumbent will be expected to continue to foster this approach. In addition, the incumbent will bring a strong cultural foundation to the role that will enable the rebuilding of a trusting relationship with Indigenous communities. This will involve a deep engagement in the healing process. The incumbent will need to ensure that the initiatives jointly developed by Indigenous Peoples and CIHR continue to be nurtured and continue to flourish, including both existing initiatives and those in the process of development.

Given this, the ideal Interim Scientific Director will be an established, respected senior Indigenous scholar and leader who will:

  1. be respected by the broader Indigenous community;
  2. self-identify as Indigenous and be an accepted member of an Indigenous community with supporting references from the community's leadership;
  3. have demonstrated expertise in mentorship to junior Indigenous scholars, including but not limited to those who may be particularly impacted by IIPH leadership changes;
  4. have experience working within a healing space using a cultural foundational approach;
  5. have demonstrated expertise in high-quality research with Indigenous Peoples;
  6. have familiarity with international research groups and projects in order to ensure that current key linkages (i.e., Australia, New Zealand, USA) are nurtured; and,
  7. have familiarity with CIHR and be committed to supporting its strategic priorities (including the Indigenous research strategies in Priority C of CIHR's Strategic Plan) and the broader Government of Canada priorities related to Indigenous health research to ensure strategic coherence.

The individual who undertakes this position will be instrumental in rebuilding a trusting relationship with the Indigenous research community and in setting the foundations for advancing our Strategic Plan. Given the importance of these objectives, the appointment will be for a minimum period of 18 months. The individual will not, however, be eligible to apply for the position of the next Scientific Director, as the terms for this recruitment will be developed during this time period.

Should you be interested in further discussing this opportunity, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Tammy Clifford, Vice-President Research Programs. If you would like to apply for this interim position, please submit your CV and letter of intent (two pages maximum) to Dr. Clifford by 12:00 pm (ET) February 11, 2022.


Michael J. Strong, MD, FRCP, FCAHS, FAAN
President, CIHR

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