McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Announcement regarding the new Indigenous Health Initiative, Faculty of Health Sciences

Bernice Downey, RN, BScN, MA, PhD

Appointment is effective starting March 15, 2017.

March 20, 2017

From: Paul O'Byrne, MB, Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr. Bernice Downey to lead and support the development of an integrated Indigenous Health Initiative for the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), effective March 15, 2017.

Dr. Downey will join the Faculty as an assistant professor cross-appointed to the School of Nursing and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. In this new role and working closely with a broad base of Faculty leaders, Dr. Downey will drive and coordinate the development an Indigenous strategy within the FHS that is aligned with the work being undertaken across the University.

She will participate in the ongoing development of responsive and culturally relevant academic programming at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that is informed by diverse Indigenous knowledge and methodologies. Dr. Downey will support the development of a strategic approach to the consideration and inclusion of Indigenous health and mental health issues in the work of the Faculty.

Dr. Downey, a medical anthropologist of Oji/Cree and Celtic heritage, is the Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead for Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto-Central Region and a health consultant.

She recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the McMaster Research Office and the School of Graduate Studies, and this past year she successfully led the development of the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute. She previously taught at McMaster as a sessional instructor from 2010 to 2015.

Dr. Downey graduated from the University of Ottawa with her Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2005. She obtained both a master's degree and PhD in Anthropology and Health (Medical Anthropology) from McMaster in 2009 and 2014, respectively.

An experienced administrator, facilitator, educator and researcher, Dr. Downey has research interests in health, health literacy and Indigenous traditional knowledge, and health/research system reform for Indigenous populations. As well, she is a lifelong advocate of work to address the serious health inequities among Indigenous populations in Canada.

Dr. Downey has held several leadership positions, including CEO of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (2004-2006) and executive director of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (1999-2003).

Among her many achievements, she has led development of a comprehensive strategic framework for increasing Aboriginal health care providers for Aboriginal populations and communities, influencing and contributing to governmental policy uptake; led numerous research initiatives related to Aboriginal health human resources policy development; and developed numerous policy briefs related to Aboriginal health, contributing to the ongoing development of health and research policy.

Please join me in wishing Dr. Downey all the best in leading this important new initiative.

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