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Teaching and training
2009.06.19 - Inuit Institute for Research and Planning, Ottawa 2009
CIETcanada hosted the second session of the Inuit Institute for Research and Planning at the University of Ottawa from June 1-12, 2009. The event brought together 20 emerging Inuit health researchers from communities across Inuit Nunaat (the Inuit territories in Canada’s North) and the Ottawa Inuit community, where they are working in community health care, local government, and Inuit organizations.

Heather Tickie-Ochalski, program manager, and Inuit participants discussing Inuit health research  

The intensive two-week course was part of a unique multi-year program designed by CIET to support autonomous Inuit research and planning. Inaugurated in 2008, the Institute is developing a cohort of Inuit researchers capable of designing and leading research projects on Inuit priorities, combining traditional Inuit knowledge and modern science, and using data from research for health planning across Inuit Nunaat.

The Institute is also setting the stage for an Inuit-oriented masters and doctoral program in health

Allan Rock, president of the
University of Ottawa

research. This is the first such initiative in Canada, at a time of heightened interest in the social, economic, and educational situation of Inuit Nunaat. A few days before the second session of the Institute, Canada’s governor general, Michaëlle Jean, advocated the creation of a university in the North. On the opening day of the course, Allan Rock,president of the University of Ottawa, said there is an “urgent need” for quality research to understand climate change, population movements, international claims, and changing health patterns taking place in Canada’s North. “I think combining modern methods of research with traditional knowledge that’s available is truly the key to going forward successfully,” he said in reference to the Inuit Institute’s approach.


Institute participants discuss contemporary Inuit issues while learning the basics of modern epidemiology and how to link them with traditional Inuit knowledge. The combination of hands-on research and theoretical training gives special attention to research methods for working with small dispersed populations in Northern Canada and to the communication of research evidence for planning.

Many of the Institute participants have been engaged in research projects at the community level. These projects include Aboriginal Community Resilience in relation to HIV/AIDS, Domestic Violence Reduction, and Environmental Assessments and Influences on Reproductive Health. Participants are also developing an online community of practice where they can connect with Inuit specific research groups, other participants and communities across Inuit Nunaat.

The Inuit Institute for Research and Planning was started by CIET, in partnership with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatmi and the Nassivik Centre for Inuit Health and Changing Environment, with partial funding from the government of Canada.