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August 30, 2019
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Canadian post-secondary leaders consider next steps following summer institute on reconciliation

Perspectives in Reconciliation participants stand together at the Carcross Learning Centre, Yukon. (Photo: Alistair Maitland Photography)

WHITEHORSE—Presidents, vice-presidents and reconciliation leads from 31 colleges and universities have returned to their respective institutions across Canada with fresh perspectives on reconciliation, inspiration about what is possible and new relationships to support their journeys.

The inaugural summer institute Perspectives in Reconciliation took place across Yukon in Dawson City, Whitehorse and Carcross, from August 9 to 15 hosted by Yukon College, Vancouver Island University (VIU) and the McConnell Foundation, with support from Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada.

Daily sessions, facilitated by Dr. Robert Baum of the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University and Mathieya Alatini, former chief of the Kluane First Nation, explored ways to advance reconciliation through various aspects of post-secondary institutions — services and space, programs and research, and policy and governance.

Encouraged and supported by Yukon First Nations Elders Angie Joseph-Rear, Randall Tetlichi, Elizabeth Moses and Philip Gatensby, the post-secondary leaders shared experiences, challenges and best practices.

Participants ended the week with several concrete next steps to enact meaningful change for their students, faculty and staff.

“The Summer Institute was a wonderful and truly inspiring event, and Lakehead University was pleased to share diverse thoughts and experiences as we came together to be part of a deep and meaningful dialogue. The opportunity to think about context, and learn new ideas and best practices from so many of our post-secondary colleagues across Canada — all passionate about continuing to transform our campuses — has helped us to plan next steps to meet our university's strategic priorities related to Indigenization and reconciliation,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, president and vice-chancellor of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

“Bow Valley College has a renewed commitment to reconciliation and will ensure all leaders have performance goals related to the important work of Indigenizing and de-colonizing our institution,” said Catherine Koch, vice-president Learner Services and chief financial officer at Bow Valley College in Calgary, Alberta.

“We are inspired and deeply moved by the voices and actions shared by colleagues from post-secondary institutions from across Canada. Our primary goal following this week of interaction is to explore and advocate for our university to create a senior level position to support Indigenous initiatives. While we all have a responsibility in this area, we do see the importance of having an Indigenous leader in this position to help guide and lead our individual and collective efforts towards reconciliation,” said Dr. Sandy Vanderburgh, provost and vice-president academic, and Dr. Steve Cardwell, associate vice-president academic, at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in Metro Vancouver, B.C.

Yukon College, VIU and McConnell Foundation are now reviewing participant feedback and considering ways to support participating institutions going forward, as well as the potential of a second summer institute in 2020 or 2021.

Lakehead University receiving $742k to support seven important research projects

From left to right, Dr. Chris Mushquash, Dr. Lana Ray, and Dr. Nisha Sutherland.

August 29, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Lakehead University researchers are receiving more than $742,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for seven important projects undertaken by faculty and graduate students.

Three projects in particular will assist Indigenous children who are experiencing mental health difficulties, investigate how food sovereignty can provide health interventions in Northern Ontario's rural and urban hubs, and assist people with dementia in the decision-making surrounding their own death.

The project between Lakehead University and a local First Nations children's services organization aims to use a variety of strategies to develop treatments for young Indigenous children who are experiencing mental health difficulties.

"The approach that we'll be using brings together the best of what we know from a psychological approach, but also the best of what we know from traditional cultural approaches. Bringing together these knowledge bases helps improve the wellness of young people," said Dr. Christopher Mushquash, an associate professor in Lakehead's Department of Psychology and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

A grant of $160,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will be used to develop a group intervention strategy for First Nations children and youth.

Dr. Mushquash, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction, is also the director of the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research and a psychologist at Dilico. Dr. Mushquash is also the Associate Vice-President, Research at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Chief Scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute.

"Dilico's role in this project is to meet the clinical needs of the service population in a way that honours our strengths as a people," said John Dixon, director of mental health and addiction services at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, whose offices are located on the Fort William First Nation.

Along with Dr. Mushquash and Dixon, the research team includes PhD student Kristy Kowatch, as well as Tina Bobinski and Kristine Stasiuk of Dilico.

Dr. Mushquash, who grew up in Sioux Lookout, has been working with First Nations organizations on improving the lives of people in remote communities. Along with a high level of poverty, residents are also struggling with the lingering effects of the 60s Scoop and the residential school system.

"When you bring these elements together it creates a much higher need for mental health services," Dr. Mushquash said, referring to issues such as depression, anxiety, emotion regulation, adjustment to trauma and substance use.

The treatment participants will be clients of Dilico, ages 7-12. Often they present with multiple diagnoses, such as depression as well as anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

Partnerships with Dr. Mushquash have been community-focused and community-driven, Dixon said.

"Research is only undertaken if it is wanted by the community and is of benefit to communities in terms of immediate knowledge translation, and the advancement of community wellness," he said.

"What we will do on the psychology side of things," Dr. Mushquash explained, "is bring together the very best literature and approaches on what we think could be of utility to young people."

That information will go to an advisory group of stakeholders and community members for feedback. At the same time, Dilico will engage people with expertise in addressing these symptoms to build a program for children that will hopefully decrease depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.

"It is our expectation that training and service delivery models will be developed from this work that will further enhance Indigenous models of care," Dixon said, emphasizing the focus is on Anishinabek beliefs, spirituality and community relations.

Dr. Lana Ray, assistant professor in Indigenous Learning, is receiving $142,211 to spend one year creating an Indigenous Food Sovereignty (IFS) best practice framework that she will use to design, implement and evaluate health interventions for Indigenous peoples accessing services in Northern Ontario's urban and rural communities.

"At a community level, this project will examine the effectiveness of moving from an outcome based approach to one that is focused on the ways in which health is negotiated and lived among Indigenous peoples according to an Indigenous model of health, and thus an understanding of health that is culturally based," Dr. Ray said.

Through a case-study design and engagement with health care providers and administrators throughout the region, Dr. Ray and the project team are able to build upon the innovative work currently happening at partner Aboriginal Health Access Centres in northern Ontario.

Dr. Ray will work with Joe LeBlanc, Director of Indigenous Affiars at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and co-investigators Anita Cameron, Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, Dr. Kristin Burnett, associate professor in Indigenous Learning, and Dr. Barbara Parker, assistant professor in Sociology.

Dr. Nisha Sutherland, assistant professor in the School of Nursing and research affiliate at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health, is receiving $195,075 to spend three years exploring and promoting end-of-life decision-making for people with dementia living in long-term care homes.

"The purpose of this study is to include residents with dementia and their care partners (paid care workers and unpaid family members) when making decisions about dying," Dr. Sutherland wrote in her funding application. "We will use methods of interview, observation and review of documents to understand how care decisions are made for residents with dementia."

This study is important to point to new ways of including residents with dementia and the people who care for them in making decisions towards palliative care.

First, they will use a relational model of citizenship to understand the meaning of actions and intentions of people with dementia and include them in decision-making. Second, they will use a critical feminist lens to highlight the influence of gender and other social relations in end-of-life decision-making.

"We will partner with long-term care home partners and people with dementia in the community to create a video that sheds light on fair practices and policies," Dr. Sutherland wrote.

This study is essential for residents with dementia to have a fair chance to receive quality palliative care and die in the way they wish. This project was ranked first out of 18 in its category. "Thank you to the CIHR for recognizing the important research undertaken by Lakehead University faculty and graduate students," said Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead University's Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

Funding from CIHR also generates support from the federal Research Support Fund to offset the indirect costs of research incurred by universities.

In 2018/19, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

New CIHR Grants 2018-19: Total $742,286

Faculty Member Grants

Project Grant (three- to four-year grants)

Dr. Christopher Mushquash, Department of Psychology, Developing a transdiagnostic group intervention for First Nations children and youth, $160,000.

Principal Applicant – Knowledge User

John Dixon, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

Co-applicant – TraineeKristy Kowatch, Department of Psychology

Collaborators - Knowledge Users

  • Tina Bobinski, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

  • Kristine Stasiuk, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

Dr. Nisha Sutherland, Department of Nursing, Promoting Just and Inclusive End-of-life Decision-making for Long-term Care Home Residents with Dementia and their Care Partners, $195,075.


  • Dr. Mariette Brennan, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law

  • Dr. Sherry Dupuis, University of Waterloo

  • Dr. Pia C. Kontos, University Health Network (Toronto)

  • Dr. Oona M. St-Amant Ryerson University

  • Dr. Elaine C. Wiersma, Department of Health Sciences, Director, Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health

Catalyst Grant: Indigenous Approaches to Wellness Research (One year grant)

Dr. Lana Ray, Department of Indigenous Learning, Investigating Food Sovereignty as a Best Practice Framework for Health Interventions in Rural and Urban Hubs in Northern Ontario, $142,211.

Principal Knowledge User

  • Joe LeBlanc, Director of Indigenous Affairs at NOSM


  • Dr. Kristin Burnett, Department of Indigenous Learning

  • Dr. Barbara Parker, Department of Sociology

Knowledge Users

  • Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre

  • Anita Cameron, Waasegiizhig Nanaadawe'iyewigamig


  • Sudbury Social Planning Council

Graduate Student Grants

CIHR – Doctoral Research Award – Priority Announcement: Research in First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit Health Award

Kowatch, Kristy - Clinical Psychology – The development, implementation and evaluation of a transdiagnostic group intervention for First Nations children. September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2021, $105,000.

CIHR – Doctoral Award – Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS-D) Award

Toombs, Elaine – Clinical Psychology – The Strongest FamiliesTM Parenting Program: A randomized-controlled trial of a culturally appropriate parenting program for northwestern Ontario First Nations communities. September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2021, $105,000.

CIHR – Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Program

Kristen Chafe - Clinical Psychology, The Role of Estrogen in Moderating the Relationship Between Lifestyle Factors and Cognitive Ability in Older Women May 1, 2018 – April 31, 2018, $17,500.

CIHR – Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Program

Martina Agostino – Biology, Novel Methods for the Treatment and Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. September 1 – August 31, 2019, $17,500.

Watch The Amazing Race Canada episode that includes a challenge designed by Natural Resources Management

Watch Tuesday night's episode of The Amazing Race Canada here, which includes a drone challenge designed by Lakehead University's Faculty of Natural Resources Management.

If you enjoy this episode, please share on social media. 

School of Nursing Graduate Committee Donates Funds Raised From Pinning Ceremony

Kudos to the 2019 Bachelor of Science in Nuring (BScN) graduating class's donation to Lakehead University and community organizations.

The BScN graduation committee raised funds for their annual Pinning Ceremony, which was held in May. With a goal of being financially careful with their funds, they had a surplus and instructed that the School of Nursing make the following donations on their behalf:

  • $1,000 to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Emergency Department, to be used as needed;
  • $1,200 to the School of Nursing, for much needed lab equipment;
  • $640 to LU Alumni, to be put towards student bursaries at their discretion; and
  • $1,698 to Shelter House.


Launch of Consultation Phase for the Provost Vice-President Academic

Dear Members of the University Community,

Lakehead University has begun the process to appoint our next Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and has selected Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette (KBRS) as our partner in this search.

Members of the Lakehead University community are invited to participate in the consultation phase, a key stage of the initial process that helps inform our search priorities.

Your input into the search for our next Provost and Vice-President (Academic) can be shared with Katherine Frank, KBRS’s lead consultant for this search, who will work with the Lakehead University Search Committee to be convened in the month ahead.

Please provide your input by September 13, 2019, in one of three ways:

All information will be held by KBRS in strictest confidence and will only be shown to Search Committee members in aggregated form in order to ensure anonymity of all submissions.

I encourage you to share your ideas, hopes, and perspectives so that we are well informed in this important decision.

Thank you for your time and input.


Dr. Moira McPherson
President and Vice-Chancellor
Lakehead University

Intramural sports registration is coming soon! Join in on the fun this year!

Interested in playing intramural sports this year? You're in luck - intramural sports are now open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members, with the exception of hockey which is for students only. 

Our fall sports this year include volleyball, basketball, dodgeball, innertube waterpolo, and flag football. Our full-year sports include soccer, hockey (NBC and Coed), and ultimate frisbee!

Registration for students opens on Tuesday, Sept. 3 for all sports. For our faculty, staff, and community members, registration will open on Thursday, Sept. 12 for fall sports, and Monday, Oct. 7 for full-year sports.

You can register as a team, or as an individual in our leagues. If you have any questions about Intramural Sports, visit, or email

Free Week of Yoga for Lakehead University Students and Staff!

Modo Yoga is a community of inspired students, joined together by our love of yoga, our commitment to protecting the Earth, and our drive to bring more peace into the world.

We are a place for all. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a more experienced student, we offer accessible classes that are challenging, healthy and fun!

From Monday, Sept. 2 to Sunday, Sept. 8, Modo Yoga Thunder Bay is offering free classes to all students and staff at Lakehead University. Email for more information, then show up 15 minutes before class with valid ID and then you are ready to go!

Our studio is inside the CJ Sanders Fieldhouse. Check in at the desk downstairs. Don’t forget to bring your mat, towel and water.

Have questions? Text us (807) 939-2333 or visit our desk in the Fieldhouse!

Therapy Dogs in the Chancellor Paterson Library every Tuesday

Therapy Dogs from St. John Ambulance will visit students on the main floor of the Chancellor Paterson Library every Tuesday starting September 3, 5:30 to 6:30 pm. 

Come meet your new bestie.

Do you know someone who is a forward thinker, energetic and passionate about Lakehead University?

Lakehead University continues to seek interested and qualified persons from Northwestern Ontario, Simcoe County and the GTA to serve on its Board of Governors as external voting members.

The Board Governance and Nominating Committee welcomes members of the University Community to share the link below with desirable candidates, who if given the opportunity, would enhance the workings of the Board.

Serving on the Board of Governors is an opportunity to gain leadership experience, make an impact using any special skills you may have, and meet new people.

The Board of Governors exercises its governance, oversight, and public accountability duties through leadership and delegation in strategic planning, financial stewardship, ethical integrity and risk management regarding the University's objects and purposes, assets, and affairs.

Learn more about the Board of Governors and the nomination process by visiting, or request information by emailing the University Secretariat at

Nominations for consideration are accepted throughout the year and are reviewed annually by the Board Governance and Nominating Committee.

Lakehead University is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applications from all qualified individuals including women, racialized persons, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and other equity-seeking groups. We appreciate your interest; however, only those selected for an interview will be notified.

Smudging Advisory - September 2019

Please be advised that there will be smudging on campus using traditional medicines (sage, cedar, and sweet grass) Monday to Friday sometime between 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for the month of September in the following rooms:

Aboriginal Student Lounge and Elders Room - SC0004

Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services Offices - RC0001 & RC0002

For more information, please contact Yolanda Twance, Coordinator Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services, at 807-343-8084 or acss1@lakeheadu.