Danette Jubinville

MSc in Health Sciences and PhD Candidate

As a doula and researcher, Danette works towards self-determination in health care for Indigenous people.

Danette Jubinville’s research into the historical and contemporary role of doulas in Indigenous communities cannot be tied down to one discipline. “Doulas are birth workers who support pregnant people throughout pregnancy, labour, post-partum and and through different outcomes, like abortion, miscarriage or perinatal loss. It’s a role that has existed for a long time amongst Indigenous communities. My work looks at the role’s historical roots, and how it continues today, including its impact on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people. There’s a lot of fields involved; it bridges Indigenous studies, health sciences and gender studies.”

Her work follows from her MSc with FHS. Part of the reason she stayed on to complete her graduate studies was the level of faculty support. “The professors that I’ve had the opportunity to work with have been extremely supportive. I developed a really positive working relationship with my PhD supervisor, and she’s very supportive of Indigenous students and initiatives.”

While her research is important as a documentation of Indigenous practice, it also has immediate practical applications. “I work as a doula and I’m a founding member of the Indigenous Doula Collective of Vancouver, or ekw’í7tl—pronounced “ah-quay-tull,” and it means “family” in the Squamish language. I’m developing an Indigenous doula training curriculum, drawing heavily on my research to inform it. My research informs my practice, and vice versa.”

Working in Indigenous health also gives Danette a chance to focus on social justice, a part of health sciences the faculty is deeply committed to. “Indigenous populations bear a disproportionate burden of ill health, which is why it’s absolutely crucial that research about Indigenous populations will actually serve those populations. It must take the lead from Indigenous people to self-determine their own desires. As an Indigenous person, working closely with Indigenous communities, my research is able to be better held accountable to those communities that I work with.”