Becoming the researchers instead of the researched

Estella Moller is one of the elders working closely with the university in Aboriginal research.

KAMLOOPS – Thompson Rivers University has been studying culturally relevant services for Aboriginals for a number of years and is now set to take another step foward by offering specialized research in Aboriginal early childhood development with the help of the most senior Aboriginal health researchers in Canada.

An expert in First Nations mental health, Dr. Rod McCormick has been appointed the B.C. Regional Innovation Chair in Aboriginal Early Childhood Development at the university thanks to $2.5 million in provincial funding that will allow for further research in the field.

TRU president Alan Shaver believes the program is something that will have legs and can easily impact communities around the world.

“(The research) helps advance that transition. We're doing research to solve problems for people, to have impact on people (and) what we do here matters, it can have effects in other countries.” Shave says, “ There are Aboriginal people everywhere. This isn't just some kind of local thing. This has the potential to improve the lives of people around the world.”

As an Aboriginal and an Aboriginal researcher McCormick is excited to work at TRU, a place he believes has an awareness of the importance of relationships with community.

“I think (it's) an important transition from research being done on us, then for us, then with us and eventually by us, and I believe TRU is a place where this can happen,” says McCormick, who has a PhD in counseling psychology and has been heavily involved in Aboriginal mental health research and projects.

The new research portfolio will work closely with members of the local First Nations communities with a focus on Aboriginal early childhood development and maternal and child health.

McCormick is the final regional innovation chair to be appointed under the Leading Edge Endowment Fund program, which provided half the necessary funding.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

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