Jun. 17, 2014

(Lethbridge, Alberta) June 17, 2014…

Cheryl Currie, PhD, AIHS Translational Health Chair
Cheryl Currie, PhD, AIHS Translational Health Chair

An Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions’ (AIHS) investment will enable University of Lethbridge health sciences researcher Dr. Cheryl Currie to make important strides toward gaining a better understanding of the unique health needs of rural and urban Aboriginal populations. The overall goal of her research is to work in partnership with communities to improve related health policies, practices and programs.

Currie, an assistant professor of public health in the U of L’s Faculty of Health Sciences, has been selected as the AIHS Translational Health Chair in Aboriginal Health and Wellness and will receive $1.7 million over the next seven years.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Currie on receiving an AIHS Translational Health Chair,” says Dr. Cy Frank, AIHS CEO.  “Dr. Currie’s work will contribute enormously to both our understanding of Aboriginal health priorities and the approaches they use to manage and promote better health. This is core to improving health and wellbeing.”

The AIHS Translational Health Chairs program provides opportunities to attract top researchers to Alberta. Focusing on priority research and innovation areas, these individuals translate research into real world solutions, moving what we know into what we do.

Last year, Currie made national headlines for a study that demonstrated the role of Aboriginal traditional culture and knowledge in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples in cities. Such findings are important to inform effective prevention and treatment services.

Currie says improving the health of Aboriginal populations depends on having a fuller understanding of the factors that shape Indigenous health in Canada.

“Through this work, I hope to promote a better understanding of the determinants that promote Aboriginal health, strength, and resilience in Canada,” says Currie.

As an AIHS Translational Chair, Currie will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to examine health determinants and to develop and evaluate interventions that address community-identified health needs for children, youth and adults.

“To improve Aboriginal health, we need to start asking different questions and to start looking for different answers that are grounded in the knowledge of the community itself,” say Currie.

U of L Dean of Health Sciences, Dr. Chris Hosgood, says Currie brings a collaborative approach to her work and has engaged in several multi-disciplinary projects with researchers on campus and beyond. He says this approach will contribute greatly to the success of Currie’s program.

“Through her work, Cheryl has collaborated with a diverse group of researchers; working in neuroscience, kinesiology and epigenetics to name a few. Her own research is extremely impressive, but her ability to bring together other world-leading strengths from different areas will only enhance the success of her efforts as a translational chair.”

Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions supports research and innovation activities to improve the health and wellbeing of Albertans and create, through innovation, health related social and economic benefits for Albertans. It provides leadership for Alberta’s health research and innovation enterprise by directing, coordinating, reviewing, funding and supporting research and innovation. For more information see: www.aihealthsolutions.ca.

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