Current CRaNHR Projects, CRaNHR Affiliate Projects, & Recently Completed Projects

Mental Health and Substance Use

Engagement: Northern Centre of Excellence for Addiction and Mental Health

  • Overview: This recently-completed knowledge exchange project (2017-18) was commissioned by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Strategic Policy and Planning Division. Delivered in partnership with the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy, the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research at Lakehead University conducted a year-long engagement across Northwestern Ontario to assess priority mental health and addiction issues and feasibility of using a Centre of Excellence model to address needs for education, evaluation and research. Following face-to-face sessions were held in five regional towns (Fort Frances, Kenora, Longlac, Marathon, and Sioux Lookout) and Thunder Bay and teleconferences with rural and remote communities, a final overall report ad five sub-regional reports were prepared for submission to the Ministry and project partners. (N.B. Reports for this project will be available for posting once they are officially released).
  • Click here to view the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy website and access the final reports for this project
  • Click here to view the overall report
  • Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2014-2018
  • CRaNHR Investigators: P. Wakewich, C. Olsen, M.E. Hill, C. Mushquash, M. Spadoni, B. Minore 

Evaluating the Continuum of Prescription Drug Abuse Recovery in Matawa First Nations

  • Overview: Throughout this project, from workplan finalization to data collection, analysis and reporting, CRaNHR investigators and staff (Drs. Mushquash, Hill, and Nadin) have worked closely with Matawa Health and Social Meno Biimadeswin, as well as with Health Directors and Program Coordinators in the nine Matawa First Nations to evaluate the ongoing implementation, successes and challenges of community-based programs to support individuals recovering from prescription drug abuse and misuse. We also completed a commissioned report summarizing previous program achievements and policy recommendations prepared for Health Canada on behalf of Matawa First Nations. All activities involve close consultation with Ms. Francine Pellerin, Matawa Health Director, and the Matawa Health & Social Meno Biimadeswin Task Group.
  • Sponsor: Ontario Mental Health Foundation, 2014-2018
  • CRaNHR Investigators: C. Mushquash, M.E. Hill, S. Nadin

Mental Health and Addictions Research Program

  • Overview: The Mental Health and Addictions Research Program supports research into Indigenous mental health and addictions issues.
  • Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (Award), 2016-2021
  • CRaNHR Investigator: C. Mushquash

Improving Access to Information and Mobilizing Gambling Knowledge in Northern Ontario

  • Overview: This study explores strategies to improve gambling knowledge in northern areas.
  • Sponsor: Gambling Research Exchange Ontario Grant, 2017-2018
  • CRaNHR Investigators: D. Mazmanian, C. Mushquash, J. Tanner, A. Drawson
Maternal, Child, and Family Health 

Prenatal Knowledge X-Change for Equity in Birthing Experiences and Outcomes

  • Photographs from two workshops held for the Prenatal XChange project; one of participants in Kenora the other of participants in Sioux Lookout.Overview: Grounded in a philosophy of social justice, this project has a goal of improving equity in access to maternal and new-born care and knowledge for all women in Northwestern Ontario. It responds to the needs of growing and diverse Indigenous, immigrant, and refugee populations. The project is carried out as a collaboration between Lakehead Researchers The CRaNHR team (H. Moeller, M. Alzghoul, P. Wakewich, P. Sameshima) and Thunder Bay District Health Unit (Miranda Stilta, Maggie Pudden, Kristin Colosimo) and with the support of The Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win health centre,  Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, Thunder Bay Muslim Association, Kenora Maternity Centre, Beendigen Anishinabe Women's Crisis Home & Family Healing Agency, Dilico Anishinaabek Family Care, and Fort William First Nation.
  • The project video and reports are publicly available. 
  • Sponsor: Women's College Hospital X-Change Grant (WCH Exchange), 2017-2018
  • CRaNHR Investigators: H. Moeller, M. Alzghoul, P. Wakewich, P. Sameshima 

Opioid Dependence in Rural, Remote and Northern Communities: A Focus on Aboriginal Maternal, Child and Family Health 

  • Overview: This research and knowledge translation program will address the geographical, cultural and gender barriers to accessing reproductive health care and opioid dependence treatment and prevention in Indigenous communities. It includes the Maternal-Infant Support Worker Project, to train lay workers to provide prenatal and postnatal supports in remote First Nations, and the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School Project to develop culturally-grounded, trauma- informed and gender-attentive programs to improve adolescents' awareness of opioid risks and treatment options.
  • Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2017-2020
  • CRaNHR Investigators: N. Jumah, C. Mushquash, M. Katt, P. Wakewich, M.E. Hill

Immigrant Parents' Knowledge and Perceptions about the Risk for and Prevention of Unintentional Injuries in Children in Northwestern Ontario

  • Sponsor: Lakehead University, Regional Health Fund, 2018-2019
  • CRaNHR Investigator: M. Alzghoul 
 Youth Wellness and Resilience

Youth Futures: Bringing Together Indigenous and Western Approaches to Promote Youth Resilience

  • Overview: This SSHRC Partnership Project is designed to strengthen Indigenous youth and build research capacity among adults in Indigenous communities. A key component of this mentoring strategy is the development of training camps at Lakehead University and at Anishinaabe Bimaadiziwin Research Program in Sioux Lookout. Towards this goal, the CRaNHR team (C. Mushquash, M. E. Hill) and Andrew Ross, Anishinaabe Bimaadiziwin Research Program Manager, work closely with the Youth Futures Program Committee to coordinate the implementation of training camps at Lakehead and Sioux Lookout sites.
  • Sponsor: SSHRC, 2016-2023
  • CRaNHR Investigators: C. Mushquash, M.E. Hill 

NorthBEAT Collective

  • Overview: This study is a collaborative to improve detection and care for NW Ontario youth with early psychosis. 
  • Sponsor: Ontario Trillium Foundation, Youth Opportunities Fund, 2017-2021
  • CRaNHR Investigators: C. Cheng, S. Nadin
Food and Nutrition

Culture, Resiliency, and Prosperity

  • Overview: In 2017, Dr. Kelly Skinner from the University of Waterloo, with colleagues from Lakehead University, University of Winnipeg and University of Guelph received a 4-year SSHRC Insight grant, "Culture, Resiliency, and Prosperity: Transitioning from Food Security to Food Sovereignty and the role of Relocation and Migration on Traditional and Market-based Food Consumption" to explore the multiplicity of food and social economies and experiences for Indigenous people living in the provincial north and urban centres in Manitoba and Ontario. The study examines patterns of migration between reserve and urban communities and networks of food sharing and how government and corporations have shaped and informed food economies and policies.
  • Sponsor: SSHRC (Insight Grant), 2017-2021
  • CRaNHR Investigators: K. Skinner, B. Parker, K. Burnett, J. Cidro, H. Neufeld
Chronic Disease

Mobilize Partnerships and Support the Study and Management of Chronic Conditions among Indigenous Populations: A Pilot Community-Based Survey

  • Overview: Indigenous people in Ontario and Canada are reported to be disproportionally affected by chronic conditions including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, asthma, COPD. Socioeconomic risk factors contribute to the increasing prevalence of these conditions. Not only are these conditions prevalent, but they most often occur concomitantly. While person-centred care is required for multimorbid conditions, the health system in Canada is primarily disease-oriented; this is particularly a concern for Indigenous populations who not only have poorer access to care, but also have been reported to receive less optimal treatment than non-Indigenous people. In order to improve health outcomes in Indigenous people, there is a need to provide person-centred care that takes into account individuals' needs and desires, besides improving access to care. The proposed research project aims to assess the status of chronic conditions and explore the needs and challenges, experiences, ways of living, and socio-cultural context of Indigenous people, in order to understand disease occurrence, and to improve care management and health outcomes among Indigenous people. This will involve development of partnerships with key stakeholders and one Indigenous community, for a successful collaborative research project and relevant recommendations regarding services provision. We will also conduct a pilot community-based survey, to collect and analyze data to study the epidemiology and management of chronic conditions and multimorbidity in Indigenous populations. The results will contribute to inform recommendations for person-centred care and to achieve wellness for this population.

Managing pediatric obesity with families living in remote First Nations communities: Understanding parents’ experiences and recommendations

  •  Overview: Pediatric obesity is especially prominent among Indigenous peoples. The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Paediatric Healthy Living Program (PHLP) provides services for children and youth with obesity. The clinic supports families from Northwestern Ontario with ~50% of referrals received for children living in remote First Nations communities. The Parents as Agents of Change (PAC) program is a 16-session, evidence-based, manualized intervention designed for parents of children with obesity. In 2017, the PHLP began offering PAC to parents living in remote First Nations communities. The objective of this research was to explore the experiences of parents in remote First Nations communities with the delivery, content, and associated outcomes of the PAC program.
  • Sponsor: Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre - Seed Funding Competition (2017-2019)
  • CRaNHR Investigators: A. Mushquash, C. Mushquash
The Rural and Northern Health Care Workforce 

Views from the Field: Student Experiences and Perceptions of Interprofessional Learning and Collaboration in Rural Settings 

  • Overview: Dr. David Thompson from Lakehead University, with colleagues from Laurentian University, McMaster University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and Western Michigan University, recently completed a study entitled "Views from the Field: Student Experiences and Perceptions of Interprofessional Learning and Collaboration in Rural Settings". Their research examined the perceptions of medical students regarding interprofessional education during clinical learning in rural areas. Participants reported (a) blurring and flexibility of roles in a primarily positive manner, (b) participating in unstructured interprofessional learning and collaboration, (c) experiencing the importance of social connections to interprofessional collaboration and learning, and (d) realizations that interprofessional collaboration is a means of overcoming barriers in rural areas. The findings may be used to inform undergraduate programs in re-defining, re-creating, developing, and fostering interprofessional learning opportunities for students in rural communities as well as to support clinical faculty through ongoing professional development. To read more, the study can be found in the Journal of Interprofessional Care (
  • CRaNHR Investigators: D.S. Thompson, J. Abourbih, L. Carter, G. Adams-Carpino, S. Berry, L.E. Graves, N.J. Ranger

Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program Tracking Study

Nursing Lives of Francophone Community Health Nurses in Rural and Remote Northern Ontario

  • Overview: This study examines the history of Francophone community health nurses serving rural and remote Ontario.
  • Sponsor: Canadian Association for History of Nursing (Vera Roberts Fund), 2017-2018
  • CRaNHR Investigators: S. Felice, M. Spadoni, P. Wakewich 

Ethical Decision-Making Experiences of RNs in Acute Care Settings in Northern Ontario

  • Overview: This study considers ethical decision-making among acute care nurses.
  • Sponsor: Lakehead University, Regional Research Fund, 2017-2018
  • CRaNHR Investigators: M. Alzghoul, K. Jones-Bonofiglio

Past CRaNHR Projects

  • Evaluation of the Matawa First Nations Prescription Drug Abuse and Misuse Program Assessments and Policies (C. Mushquash, P. Wakewich, M.E. Hill, S. Nadin, R. Zacharias Bezanson) - Matawa First Nations (Health Canada sub-grant), 2017
  • Indigenous Wellness-Through-Water Event: Development and Evaluation (A. R. Mushquash, C. Mushquash, J. McGavock, St. Joseph's Care Group) - Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2016-2017
  • Improving Access to Phosphorus and Sodium Restricted Foods for Those Living with End-Stage Renal Disease (R. Schiff, W. McCready, H. Friell, V. Kromm) - Northern Ontario Academic Medicine Association (Grant), 2016-2017
  • Integrated Care to Address Health Care Needs of Opioid-Dependent Patients in Northern Ontario (N. Jumah, C. Mushquash) - Northern Ontario Academic Medicine Association (Grant), 2015-2016
  • Harm Reduction in Gambling: Systematic Review of Protective Strategies (C. Mushquash, A. Kruse) - Ontario Problem Gambling Centre (Grant), 2015-2016
  • Resilience and Indigenous Youth: Literature Review (C. Mushquash) - CYCC Network (Knowledge Grant), 2015-2016
  • Understanding Indigenous Knowledge in Nurse Practitioner Education (M. Smith, M. Spadoni) - COUPN (Grant), 2015-2016
  • Engaging First Nations Women in Cervical Cancer Screening: Community Engagement (I. Zehbe, 7 co-applicants including P. Wakewich, P. Sameshima, M.E. Hill) - CIHR (Dissemination Grant), 2015-2016
  • Leadership, Practice, Rural Life (M. Spadoni, P. Wakewich, P. Sevean, M.E. Hill, K. Graham, M. Blundon) - AMS Phoenix Foundation (Fellowship) and Lakehead University, 2014-2017
  • "It Takes a Whole Community": An Evaluation of Saskatchewan Mental Wellness Teams (M.E. Hill, T. Bruyere, C. Mushquash) - Health Canada, 2014-2016
  • Cree Nations Opioid Replacement Therapy Evaluation Project: Measuring Outcomes (C. Mushquash, N. Poirier, A. Kruse) - Health Canada, 2014-2015
  • Tracking Survey for the Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program (P. Wakewich, M.E. Hill, D. Raftis) - Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NODIP Program Grant), 2013-2018
  • CAMH Thunder Bay Service Collaborative Regional Coordination and Process Evaluation Supports (P. Wakewich, M.E. Hill, M. Tiernan, S. Nadin) - CAMH (North Region Service Contract), 2013-2014
  • Evaluation of Community-Based Approaches to Prescription Drug Abuse in Ten Northern Ontario First Nations (C. Mushquash, M.E. Hill, B. Minore, K. Graham, A. Kruse, N. Poirier) - Health Canada (FNIHB, Mental Health and Addictions Strategy), 2013-2014
  • What Are the Mental Health Service Needs of Youth in Northern Ontario who Experience Psychosis? (C. Cheng, C. S. Dewa, J. V. Fogolin, M. Katt, B. Minore (St. Joseph's Care Group) - CIHR (New Investigator Grant), 2012-2015
  • CAMH Thunder Bay Service Collaborative Needs Assessment and Literature Review (B. Minore, M.E. Hill, M. Tiernan) - CAMH (North Region Service Contract), 2012-2013
  • Multidisciplinary Team Approaches to Chronic Conditions in Rural, Remote and Indigenous Communities (M.E. Hill, B. Minore) - Health Canada (FNIHB, Program Support Directorate), 2012-2013
  • Engaging First Nations Women in Cervical Cancer Screening: Assessing Factors Related to Screening and Uptake of Self-Sampling (I. Zehbe, 8 co-investigators including P. Sameshima, P. Wakewich) - CIHR (Team Grant), 2011-2015
  • Evaluation of Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School Suboxone Detoxification Pilot Project (B. Minore, M.E. Hill) - Northern Nishnawbe Education Council and Health Canada, 2011-2013
  • Tracking Survey for the Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program (B. Minore, M.E. Hill, D. Raftis) - Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (NODIP Program Grant), 2011-2013
  • Developing Supporting Workplace and Educational Environments for Aboriginal Nurses (B. Minore, M.E. Hill, M. Boone, M. Katt, H. Cromarty, P. Kinch) - Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Nursing Secretariat), 2011-2013
  • Physician Assistant Pilot Project (B. Minore, M.E. Hill, R. Strasser, E. Wenghofer, A. Mushquash) - Ontario Health Human Resources Research Network, 2011-2012
  • Aboriginal Youth Stroke Education Project: Teach Our Children (B. Minore, P. Bodnar, M.E. Hill) - Ontario Stroke System and Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2009-2012
  • Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research Operating Grant (B. Minore) - Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, 2011-2013