Research Chair to Lead Heart Health Research for First Nations Peoples

Research Chair to Lead Heart Health Research for First Nations Peoples

By: Diane Luckow
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Previously published in SFU NEWS Aboriginal Supplement December 2015

SFU, together with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, have established a First Nations Health Authority Chair in Heart Health and Wellness at St. Paul’s Hospital.

The position, the first of its kind in Western Canada, will place a holistic focus on First Nations and Aboriginal peoples’ cardiac health, and drive research that can improve health outcomes.

“This chair represents an historic partnership to advance knowledge and prevention of chronic diseases in First Nations communities,” says SFU President Andrew Petter.

“It also reflects SFU’s commitment as Canada’s most community-engaged research university to support First Nations peoples on their path to restore health and wellness in their communities.”

Appointed to the $1.9-million chair is Jeffrey Reading, most recently interim director and professor at the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He is also a professor on leave from the University of Victoria’s School of Public Health and Social Policy.

Reading will lead research and education on critical policy related to heart health, and disease prevention and control associated with chronic diseases among First Nations people. As chair, Reading will be an active leadership voice locally, provincially and nationally, advancing strategies to develop a program of excellence in First Nations wellness and disease prevention.

Co-located at SFU, the FNHA and St. Paul’s Hospital, Reading’s responsibilities include leading research to:

  • develop protective health promotion strategies that include cultural and spiritual considerations;
  • understand risk factors related to the social determinants of health;
  • produce health knowledge for policies and programs

He will also develop preventive disease databases to increase research infrastructure and capacity in First Nations communities. Mentorship at SFU and St. Paul’s will help to develop culturally competent and respectful cardiac health research and knowledge translation by and for First Nations communities.

Says Reading, “This chair at St. Paul’s Hospital and SFU is a brilliant collaboration to link individual and population-level patient advocacy to improved access to cardiac and vascular treatment and care while pursuing advanced research and Indigenous knowledge.

“I am very excited by the opportunity to focus on prevention of cardiovascular disease and to improve heart health and well-being among First Nations in British Columbia.”

Posted on December 17, 2015