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News Release: Researcher to study Indigenous heart health

Study to incorporate biomedical, Indigenous, and decolonizing methodologies

September 15, 2014 — 

Annette Schultz, (College of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Psychosocial Oncology and Cancer Nursing Research, St-Boniface Hospital Research Centre), in collaboration with Karen Throndson RN, MN (Clinical Nurse Specialist, Cardiac Sciences Program, Health Sciences Centre), a team of eight researchers, and several First Nation and healthcare community collaborators have received $709,987 in funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Aboriginal People’s Health Institute, to further their research on First Nation Peoples’ heart health.

“In Canada, First Nations Peoples have an increased risk of heart disease, are diagnosed younger with heart disease, and have worse post-heart attack health,” says Schultz. “This research will respect biomedical, Indigenous, and historical/decolonizing perspectives when generating evidence to help us understand heart disease inequities.”

Schultz and her team plan to integrate two-eyed seeing and decolonizing methodologies in this four-year study, which aims to reveal unique insights and understanding concerning Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) burden and inequities among Manitoban First Nation Peoples. The grant entitled “Diversifying our Ways of Understanding Heart Health among First Nations Peoples in Manitoba: A Mixed Methods Study Governed by a Two-Eyed Seeing Approach” will be commonly known as: “Debwewin: The Sound of Our Hearts.” A two-eyed seeing approach guides researchers to draw on the strengths of both Indigenous and Western knowledge to benefit everyone.

“This research will help us to better understand the different healthcare experiences of First Nation patients and Elders, specifically related to heart health; extend our knowledge of CAD severity and complexity; and long-term health outcomes,” says Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research at St-Boniface Hospital and Professor of Physiology and Pharmacy, University of Manitoba.

“Professor Schultz’s dedication to equality and understanding First Nation Peoples health make her well-deserving of this funding,” says Digvir Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) and Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba.

“Indigenous Peoples demand and deserve better health, and they are making it known that the status quo in Indigenous health research is not helping them achieve wellness,” says Dr. Malcolm King, Scientific Director of CIHR-IAPH. “Dr. Schultz’s research balances Indigenous Ways of Knowing and western science, an appropriate and timely approach to improving wellness, strength and resilience among of Indigenous Peoples.”

Previous research undertaken by Schultz has focused on health services and policies, specifically regarding tobacco use issues and increasingly First Nation Peoples’ health.  She has led multiple national teams of investigators, policy-makers, and practitioners; and is a Mentor with the CIHR Strategic Training Program in Population Intervention for Chronic Disease Prevention: A Pan-Canadian Program.


For more information contact:

Bill Peters
Manager, Communications & Media Services
St-Boniface Hospital Research


Janine Harsymchuk
Marketing Communications
University of Manitoba



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