Indigenous Peoples Engagement and Research Council (IPERC)

Pewaseskwan is supporting the establishment of an Indigenous Peoples Engagement and Research Council (IPERC). The IPERC comprises Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Holders, people with lived/living experience of health conditions and Indigenous health leaders from across Canada. It will guide the Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) and the CHF Alliance on the contextualization and adaptation needed for culturally safe and responsive heart care and research. As with other health conditions, Indigenous peoples in Canada (i.e., First Nations, Inuit or Métis) are disproportionately affected by the burden of heart diseases. This is due to social, economic and political inequities, including systemic barriers within the healthcare system. This research collaboration will engage with Indigenous people with lived experience, communities and community organizations in the co-development of culturally responsive innovative approaches to improve the prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of heart conditions. 

The research collaboration will be driven by Indigenous ways of knowing and doing, interwoven with Western science, to improve heart health outcomes in Indigenous peoples. The joint undertaking will support the CHF Alliance’s goals and CANet’s expanded mandate regarding Indigenous engagement. Ongoing efforts are being made toward securing additional partnerships for the expansion of the research collaboration.

The IPERC has gotten off to a great start. We had a Saskatchewan ceremonial launch of the project with our team and community leaders from The Key First Nation, Cote First Nation and the Yorkton Tribal Council signing a Letter of Intent, signalling our collective intention to work together in a mutually beneficial relationship toward the advancement of the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples in these communities and across Canada. In attendance at the event were Drs. Anthony Tang and Kevin O’Neil (Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada), Dr. Gerald Pfeffer (Neuroscientist from UCalgary), and Dr. Jean-Lucien Rouleau (Canadian Heart Function Alliance Network). Also, we recently commemorated a budding partnership with Dr. Peter Liu (UOttawa Heart Institute) on the emerging Brain-Heart InterConnectome multi-institution network. 

As part of the activities planned to launch the project in a good way, we are now working with host communities of Western University, Ontario, and the Montreal Heart Institute, Quebec, to build meaningful relationships together and celebrate such partnerships with ceremonial launches at the respective host institutions and communities. We are also working with Elders and Knowledge Holders on the Council to help us find an appropriate Indigenous name that embodies the spiritual essence of the project and will develop a logo based on the name and its meaning.

For more information, please contact:

Ashley Secundiak – ashley.secundiak@usask.ca