Building Relationships to Promote Indigenous Health Equity
Addressing the complexity of contemporary Indigenous health inequity means reorienting how we conduct and think about research. That is, it is no longer acceptable to undertake Indigenous health research merely as an academic exercise. Instead, it must be done by working with Indigenous communities with the goal of reaching an outcome that brings about positive change. But the research problems are so vast and complex that conducting impactful research means using interdisciplinary approaches that bridge skills, methodologies and passion.
Dr. Chantelle Richmond, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health and Environment, aims to strengthen Indigenous health research practice and training by describing and evaluating the relationship-building processes that occur between Indigenous peoples and scholars, particularly among interdisciplinary teams and approaches.
Richmond and her research team are building on the concept of relational accountability—that is, the social, cultural and spiritual practices among research partners and communities aimed at building and maintaining ethical and culturally safe research spaces. This concept holds tremendous promise for the study of Indigenous health, particularly in the context of improving research processes between scholars and communities.
Richmond and her team will explore and critically evaluate the processes that both support and constrain relational accountability among scholars doing community-based research in the health-environment context. This research will have broad impact and appeal among those engaged in Indigenous research, planning and policy processes and will strengthen Indigenous health research practices and training environments.