Kloshe Tilliucm doctoral scholarship recipients win Prestigious Research Awards

April 20, 2012 by Sharon Thira

Kloshe Tillicum is pleased to report that two of its doctoral students will receive two of the most prestigious health research awards available to graduate students in Canada.  The awards demonstrate the  ongoing level of scholarship of Indigenous students in British Columbia.  Dr. Rod McCormick, nominated Principal Investigator of Kloshe Tillicum for the past ten years said: “I am gratified that the accomplishments of these remarkable young women are being acknowledged.   We are very proud of them and all of the students that we have sponsored and supported over the years.  Many have gone on to make meaningful contributions in Aboriginal health.   We further commend the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health on their vision to increase the number and quality of Aboriginal health researchers in Canada.  The success of these students may not have been possible without their support.”  Dr. Richard Vedan, Co-Investigator of Kloshe Tillicum also noted that: “when we went through graduate school, there were very few Indigenous faces in academia.  These new scholars will act as role models for younger Indigenous children letting them know that they can achieve the highest levels of scholarship if they work hard too.  We are breaking the cycle of the education legacy that was initiated in the residential school era.”   All of us at Kloshe Tillicum join in congratulating Jennifer and Lyana!

Vanier Graduate Scholarship Winner – Lyana Patrick, BA, MA

Lyana Patrick is a current Kloshe Tillicum doctoral scholar studying Cultural Safety in Addictions and Mental Health Planning with Urban Indigenous Populations in the school of Community and Regional Planning at UBC.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance and is a previous Fullbright research fellow.   A work colleague, in calling her “visionary and extremely versatile and talented”  underlines what  Lyana saw as “an immense need for recognition of the link between the health and well being of Indigenous peoples and social and political self-determination.”  Of Carrier and Stellat’en descent, Lyana has a long work history in Aboriginal health and education which caused her to develop a personal connection to addiction and mental health issues.  One elder said that “her compassion and commitment to Aboriginal Health is a gift to the people.“

About the Vanier Graduate Scholarship

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) was created to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. It is worth $50,000 per year for three years and is available to both Canadian and international PhD students studying at Canadian universities.

Vanier applications endure a rigourous competitive evaluation.  The student must first be recommended  by a recognized Canadian University.  After the university review, the applications go to the respective agency—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council—for review by a selection committee.  The top candidates are then endorsed on their academic and research potential, as well as their leadership skills by the Selection Board.  The final stage of review is the Steering Committee—made up of the presidents of the three federal granting agencies, and the deputy ministers of Industry Canada and Health Canada— which makes the final decisions on funding.   Each year, it approves up to 167 Vanier scholars across Canada.

CIHR-IAPH Priority Announcement Doctoral Award Winner in Aboriginal Health - Jennifer Leason BA, MA

Ms. Jennifer Leason is a current Kloshe Tillicum doctoral scholar looking at "Indigenous (First Nations, Métis & Inuit) Women's Maternal Health: Exploring Interrelated Health Determinant through an Indigenous Women's Maternity Experiences Survey in British Columbia (BC), Canada" in the school of Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (Community, Culture and Global Studies) at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus.   Her research examines Indigenous women's definitions, status, access to, and interactions with the health care system and aims to identify key complex and interrelated maternal health determinants.   Through an application to the Research Data Center (RDC) Canada,  she will analyze Indigenous women’s responses to the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey (MES, 2006) who "excluded First Nations women living on reserve" and where "results from Aboriginal mothers are not contained in this report".  She will then conduct the MES survey questions (300+ questions on pregnancy, birth and postpartum) with Indigenous women in BC; as well as document their medical narratives.  She will also collect community feedback/ input on how to improve the survey to be more inclusive of Indigenous women's maternity experiences and Aboriginal mothering  in hopes of creating an Indigenous Maternity Experiences Survey in Canada.   

In the first year of her Master’s program at the University of British Columbia–Okanagan, Jennifer excelled to the point where her faculty invited her to fast-track to a PhD.  She is committed to Indigenous student life and experience in graduate school and developed a survey and training program to provide guidance and support to students through Kloshe Tillicum.  Having witnessed the “reoccurring cycles of poverty, abuse, dependency, addiction and the marginalization of Indigenous peoples, specifically Indigenous women...”  she notes that she has also experienced and witnessed the resiliency and strength of Indigenous women.  Ms. Leason is Saulteaux.

About the CIHR-IAPH Priority Announcement Doctoral Award

Doctoral Research Awards are intended to provide special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a PhD degree in a health-related field in Canada or abroad. These candidates are expected to have an exceptionally high potential for future research achievement and productivity. The specific objectives of this funding opportunity are:

  • To provide recognition and funding to students early in their academic research career, providing them with an opportunity to gain research experience;
  • To provide a reliable supply of highly skilled and qualified researchers.

Priority Announcements on Doctoral Research Award competitions offer additional sources of funding for highly rated applications that are relevant to specific CIHR research priority areas or mandates.  A CIHR review committee will evaluate the full applications.


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