I am the co-founder and Executive and Scientific Director of the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre in Iqaluit, NU, which is an independent, non-profit community research centre that exists to answer the health questions of our communities. Our work spans a spectrum from exploring communicable illness to the impacts of climate change to the application of health technology and the uptake of evidence into health systems governance.
The goal of Qaujigiartiit is to enable health research to be conducted locally, by Nunavummiut, and with communities in a supportive, safe, culturally-sensitive and ethical environment, as well as promote Inuit methodologies and epistemologies for addressing health concerns, creating healthy environments, and improving the health of Nunavummiut. Since Qaujigiartiit's inception in 2006, community workshops have been delivered across Nunavut on health research methods; research skills; health promotion planning and evaluation; proposal writing; and ethical conduct in research from a community perspective.
We have competed for and won more than $50 million dollars in research and training grants over the past 17 years - funds that would not have otherwise come to Nunavut.
Program Title: Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College
I am currently co-lead of an international 7-country study on the impacts of COVID-19 in the Arctic, particularly focusing on Indigenous communities. This project began in 2021 with funding from the Government of Canada Circumpolar Affairs Directorate. As part of my Fulbright experience, Dartmouth kindly offered to co-host the final results workshop among our team, to give us a place and space to explore common theme, collectively analyse data, and move through knowledge co-creation process focused on our Arctic communities.
Arctic Lunch - COVID-19 in Arctic communities results workshop participants. Top Row (L-R): Dr. Ulla Timlin (University of Oulu, Finland), Dr. Lára Jóhannsdóttir (University of Iceland, Iceland), Dr. Gwen Healey (Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre, Canada); Dr. Lena Maria Nilsson (Umeå University, Sweden); Dr. Katie Cueva (University of Alaska Anchorage, US + baby Sia); Bottom Row: Jim Ay'akulluk Chaliak (Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, US); Malory Petersen (Montana State University, US); Dr. Christina VL Larsen (University of Greenland, Denmark/Greenland); Dr. Arja Rautio (University of Oulu, Finland); Dr. Josee Lavoie (Laval University, Canada).
Secondly, I am working on strengthening the relationship between Dartmouth College and Qaujigiartiit. Our institute hosts a Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR) funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and through this programme, we are training the next generation of Inuit researchers and scholars from Nunavut. Our whole Nunavut research team and learners will visit Dartmouth and the Institute for Arctic Studies to engage in knowledge exchange in May 2023. We look forward to a research workshop, informal conversations, and student seminars – all manner of possible knowledge exchange, particularly on Inuit pedagogy and community-driven research.
Lastly, as a visiting Fulbright Canada Research Chair, I will spend time with the archival documents that were collected by the Canadian-American explorer Vilhjalmur Steffansson. During his career, he traveled throughout Canada’s North and collected many reports, photos, and letters that are of interest to our Nunavut communities from the first half of the 20th century.