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Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement and Innovation

Chelsea Gabel, assistant professor, health, aging and society, is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement and Innovation (Tier 2).

Nov 12, 2017

Recognized as leaders in their fields, 10 McMaster researchers have been awarded $8.6 million from the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program to further their work, improve Canada’s international competitiveness, and train the next generation of leaders.

This latest round includes Chelsea Gabel, assistant professor, health, aging and society, who is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement and Innovation (Tier 2).  

She’s partnering with Indigenous communities to explore and address health and well-being issues, and examine the impact of digital technology in these communities. Her research will help create initiatives to improve the quality of life among Indigenous communities and across many generations.

Chelsea Gabel Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement, and Innovation

Research involves

Partnering with Indigenous communities to explore and address health and well-being issues, and examine the impact of digital technology in these communities. 

Research relevance

This research will help create initiatives to improve the quality of life among Indigenous communities and across many generations. 

Improving Indigenous Health & Well-Being with Digital Technology

Indigenous peoples in Canada face continued suffering as a result of colonialism. Among the many consequences is the erosion of intergenerational closeness, particularly between the youngest and oldest members of society.  

Chelsea Gabel, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community-Engagement, and Innovation, is studying these relationships and her work shows  that Indigenous community members are aware of the weakening of elder-youth relationships, and that there is both a need and a desire to restore them. 

Some Indigenous communities are turning to technology to help improve their conditions; digital technology can boost community capacity, affirm Indigenous identity, and disseminate culturally relevant information. It can also be used to enable intergenerational engagement, empowering elders who want important information to be available to youth, and empowering young people as agents in the preservation of unique Indigenous knowledge. 

Gabel is exploring the theoretical and practical impacts of technology deployment in an Indigenous context. She and her team will assist in engaging elders and youth in discussions about healthy living, Indigenous Knowledge, and preserving community connections. This program of research recognizes that the well-being of these two groups is closely linked, and that the process of digital technologies being reimagined as creatively engaged tools of healing and empowerment can bring elders and youth together to address the challenges they face.  

Addressing these issues will lead to the development of elder/youth initiatives and policies that will improve the quality of life in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across generations. 

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