Laurentian's Dr. Young receives Health System Research Fund

$2 million grant to evaluate children’s health in 8 indigenous communities

Laurentian University’s Nancy Young, PhD, Research Chair in Rural and Northern Children's Health, is the recipient of a $2 million Health System Research Fund (HSRF) grant for Health Promotion from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This grant is in support of her project Evaluation to Action: Integrating the Voices of Aboriginal Children (ETA), which examines a tailored evaluation model in partnership with eight Aboriginal communities.

Roughly 40% of the Canadian Aboriginal population is made up of children and youth. Many of these children—particularly those living on reserves and in remote communities—face healthcare inequities when compared to others their age living in more accessible locations. Part of this is due to a lack of information—in many places, there is a lack of sufficient evidence with which to guide community policies and health services. The Evaluation to Action project is meant to improve this situation, gathering information that can be used to support future action.

Co-leading the project is Mrs. Mary Jo Wabano, Health Services Director for Wiikwemkoong Unceeded Territory. Together, Young and Wabano will lead a team of child health researchers and Aboriginal health leaders in profiling the health of children in the eight communities and learning how this information effects decision making.

“I’m extremely grateful to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for this grant.  This research is very important for children living in remote communities where health services are locally planned and delivered. We hope that strengthening the capacity to generate information locally will improve children’s health in these communities,” said Dr. Young.

The project will also evaluate the effectiveness of the Holistic Arts-based mindfulness program, and the Right to Play program Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY). These programs promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. If effective, the ETA model will later be rolled out for use across the province.

Dr. Young is a professor at Laurentian University’s School of Rural and Northern Health and is an adjunct scientist at both the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the SickKids Research Institute. She holds a Laurentian University Research Chair in Rural and Northern Children’s Health. Dr. Young and Mrs. Wabano have been working together to study and improve Aboriginal children’s healthcare since 2009, when they first developed the Aboriginal Children’s Health and Wellbeing Measure (ACHWM).



Laurentian University, located on the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation, is committed to strengthening the foundation of knowledge in higher education and research in order to offer an outstanding university experience in English and French with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education. Together with its federated partners, Laurentian University prepares leaders who bring innovative and intelligent solutions to local and global issues. For more information on Laurentian University visit: