Brave New World: Genomics, Big Data, AI, Precision Medicine and the Future of Indigenous Community Engaged Research
The novel Brave New World, published in 1932, describes a dystopian society where citizens are engineered through artificial wombs and live in a culture of extreme conformity. This exists in stark contrast to the “Savage Reservation in New Mexico,” where “natural-born people” experience disease, aging, other languages, and religious lifestyles.
In 1953, Watson and Crick’s crucial discovery explaining the structure and function of DNA, laid the scientific groundwork relevant to all disciplines. Today, the development of new therapies tailored to a patient's genetic blueprint is changing medicine. And it’s converging with profound change in knowledge creation that has impacts in health, humanities, social sciences, engineering and physical sciences.
In this context, Dr. Reading discusses the challenges of developing research models for Indigenous community-university engagement. He looks at ways to support scholars conducting Indigenous research, engage Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, mobilize knowledge and partnerships for reconciliation, and foster mutually respectful relationships between Indigenous communities and mainstream institutions.
About Dr. Jeffrey Reading
Dr. Jeffrey Reading is a professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and the inaugural First Nations Health Authority Chair in Heart Health and Wellness at St. Paul's Hospital.
He has two decades of experience improving the health of Indigenous people in Canada and around the world. He has brought attention to issues such as access to potable water, health promotion and disease prevention, heart health, diabetes, tobacco misuse and accessibility to health care among Aboriginal Canadians. He has also played a pivotal role in the introduction of Canadian ethics guidelines for Aboriginal health research.
Dr. Reading was the founding Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Health Research at the University of Victoria, the inaugural Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ (2000 to 2008) and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2008 National Aboriginal Achievement Indspire Award.