Indigenous Health and Well-Being

Participating Faculties: Social Science (host), Arts and Humanities, Health Sciences

Project Leaders: Chantelle Richmond, Jerry White

Total Project Funding: $225,000

Funding Period: 3 years

Throughout the world, people who are socially disadvantaged have less access to health and well-being resources, they tend to live in more challenging conditions, get sick more often, and have shorter lifespans than people in more privileged social positions. Compared with Canada’s general population, Indigenous people experience a disproportionate burden of sickness and distress, which reflects epidemic rates of diabetes, persistent rates of infectious disease, high risk of suicide among Aboriginal youth, high incarceration rates, poor socioeconomic conditions, and overwhelming social trauma. The roots of these patterns lie in a complex legacy of colonial relations, dispossession from traditional lands and territories, alienation from traditional environments (including displacement and ecological change), rapid cultural change, loss of language, and massive social and economic dependencies.

The main objective of our Indigenous Health and Well-being Initiative (IHWI) is to draw from holistic research approaches and theories to improve understanding of the social determinants of Indigenous health and well-being. The IHWI brings together researchers and educators from UWO’s Faculties of Social Science, Arts and Humanities and Health Sciences as well as the Affiliated University Colleges. The medium to long-term goal of IHWI is two-fold:

  1. To contribute to the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Canada and internationally, and
  2. to make Western and Canada an internationally renowned centre for undergraduate and graduate training and policy development in the area of Indigenous health and well-being.