Three U of S researchers awarded grants to help improve Indigenous health

Three University of Saskatchewan (U of S) researchers are among six recipients of the Patient-Oriented Research Leader Awards recently announced by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) for projects focused on Indigenous health, mental health and addictions.

These jointly funded awards will support research teams across the province. Each researcher will receive up to $250,000 over three years to support their work with patients in rural and remote communities, provide evidence-informed improvements for the health-care system, and improve patient outcomes through relevant and timely research.

“Indigenous peoples are a signature area for our university, and these collaborative and patient-oriented     research projects are a key aspect of improving health care in distant and rural Indigenous communities,” said U of S Associate Vice-President Research Darcy Marciniuk. “The projects not only represent a better way of working with patients and communities in research, but also provide the needed support to further strengthen our research expertise.”       


The researchers will lead the engagement and collaboration of researchers, decision makers, patients, families, communities and health care providers to address patient-identified or community-driven priorities.

The U of S researchers who received awards are:

  • Angela Bowen, College of Nursing: Walking With Mothers: The Journey to Culturally Secure Birth in Saskatchewan.

This program is meant to improve the birth experience of Indigenous women who are often forced to leave home in rural or remote areas for a hospital, an experience that can leave them feeling lonely, isolated and alienated. 

  • Gary Groot,Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine:The Indigenous Health Collective: Advancing Indigenous Health Knowledge in Saskatchewan.

Engaging Indigenous patients in the North as partners to pinpoint and address identified local health care needs is the goal of this research program, which will establish an Elders’ council to provide culturally appropriate guidance to researchers.

  • Vivian Ramsden, Academic Family Medicine, College of Medicine: Wellness – Building on Strengths: Working with Sturgeon Lake First Nation.
This program, which co-creates research with the community, is designed to improve health and well-being, and minimize health disparities. This process enables researchers to explore and address community-identified issues through collaborative and action-oriented processes.
  The funding supports an entire research program carried out by each team rather than just single projects.

These researchers will also support SCPOR’s mandate to build capacity and collaborations to conduct responsive, equitable, innovative, patient-oriented research that continuously improves the care and health of Saskatchewan people.
“Patients, families and communities can make considerable contributions to research at every stage of the process,” said Malcolm King, scientific director and interim co-lead of SCPOR. “Recipients of thePatient-Oriented Research Leader Awards will ensure we continue to enrich health research, making it more relevant and improving patient care in Saskatchewan.”

To see full recipient details, visit

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Thoma
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan