Canada Funds Indigenous-Led Substance Use Intervention Study

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Research plays a crucial role in understanding the complexities of substance use, guiding effective interventions, and ultimately saving lives. That's why we must leverage Canada's exceptional research talent and expertise to ensure our substance use health interventions, services, and policies are effective, equitable, and evidence-informed.

Today, the Honourable Ya'ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of $6 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS) to expand and increase the impact of the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Matters (CRISM). This new funding includes $4 million to create a Network Coordinating Centre and $2 million to develop an Indigenous Engagement Platform that will work collaboratively across the research network.

Dr. David Hodgins at the University of Calgary will lead the CRISM Network Coordinating Centre. Dr. Hodgins and his team will establish four core platforms, including one to co-create knowledge mobilization products and activities with stakeholders and partners, and a training and capacity building platform that includes research placements and scholarships as well as mentorship opportunities for early career researchers and Indigenous scholars across all network nodes. The Network Coordinating Centre will also facilitate a trials and project support platform to facilitate clinical trials, research studies and data sharing, and a platform to create processes and tools for the production of guidelines and best practice documents.

Dr. Robert Henry at the University of Saskatchewan will lead the development of the CRISM Indigenous Engagement Platform. Using distinctions-based and community-led approaches, Dr. Henry and his team will strengthen and increase Indigenous involvement across CRISM's regional nodes by advising the Network Coordinating Centre on Indigenous research priorities, improving Indigenous engagement at all levels, and supporting CRISM to improve Indigenous health and well-being through Indigenous-driven efforts. The platform will include five core pillars: knowledge translation and mobilization, training of Indigenous students, Indigenous research priorities designed with Indigenous community partners, improving Indigenous methodologies for CRISM, and development of an Indigenous evaluation framework.

Supported by the Network Coordinating Centre and Indigenous Engagement Platform, CRISM's network of over a thousand service providers, researchers, policy makers, patients, and people who use substances will work together to develop impactful, evidence-informed approaches to prevent and treat substance-related harms.

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