Dr. Carrie Bourassa named new Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health

Dr. Alain Beaudet – President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – recently announced that Dr. Carrie Bourassa will become the Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health on February 1, 2017.


Within the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), Dr. Bourassa co-leads a research team with Dr. Kristen Jacklin that examines issues in dementia care for Indigenous communities. The team’s projects are based on findings that show rates of dementia in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities throughout Canada have steadily increased over the past 7-10 years. Compounding the challenges, onset is now occurring – on average – 10 years younger than in non-Indigenous communities. Because these communities typically experience delays in diagnosis, the actual number of people living with dementia is likely higher, Bourassa and Jacklin explain.


Failure to diagnose also means that patients and their families are unable to fully benefit from the local care and support services that are available, which – Bourassa has pointed out – are rarely tailored for Indigenous people.


To address these gaps, Bourassa and Jacklin are building capacity for culturally safe care within Indigenous communities in Ontario and Saskatchewan through the CCNA. To learn more about their current work, click here.



Dr. Howard Chertkow, the Scientific Director of the CCNA, applauds Bourassa’s CIHR appointment, noting her “contribution to the CCNA in co-leading the Issues in Dementia Care in Rural and Indigenous Communities team has been tremendous. Dr. Bourassa has been instrumental in highlighting the importance of community-based research to understand how dementia impacts Indigenous communities, and has helped to make this team one of the most productive and impactful within the CCNA. I know Dr. Bourassa will bring the same dedication to her new role as Scientific Director of the Institute for Aboriginal Peoples’ Health and I look forward to working with her in that capacity.”


As the Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, Dr. Bourassa will bolster her CCNA work with the Indigenous health research community and stakeholders to help implement a new 10-point plan to “build a healthier future for Indigenous Peoples” through research, knowledge translation, and capacity building of early career researchers.


In Bourassa’s words,

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to continue to serve Indigenous communities in this new capacity. Throughout my academic career, I have been focused on shining a light on the long-standing health issues and their roots that we, as Indigenous people, face. It is an exciting time for growth and innovation.”

– Dr. Carrie Bourassa
, Scientific Director, CIHR’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health