2014 Arctic Change Conference – PHOTOS

January 13th, 2015 | Posted by Research Group Coordinator in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Photos of research group members at the 2014 Arctic Change Conference held in Ottawa, Ontario, between December 8 – 12, 2015.



Members of the Health, Environment and Indigenous Communities research group are currently participating in the 2014 Arctic Change Conference, taking place in Ottawa between December 8th -12th, 2014.

Below is a schedule of the group members’ poster presentations and oral presentations. The complete program can be downloaded here.

Poster presentations (Canada Hall – Room 303)

Brigitte Evering (Poster #6) “Curriculum Development and Delivery for Science–Traditional Knowledge Learning on Environmental Issues in the North: A Review of the Yukon College Source Water Protection Course Experience”

Eric Lede (Poster #370) “A Climate Change and Public Health Needs Assessment Report Card for the North”

Kristeen McTavish (Poster #14) “Inuusuktut Qaujisarnilirijut: Inuit Youth Seeking to Gain Health Knowledge”

Shirin Nuesslein (Poster #46) “Evaluation of the Nasivvik Centre for Inuit Health and Changing Environments: Impacts of the program on capacity enhancement in the field of Inuit environmental health research”

Janet Kivett Knight (Poster #80) “Participant and End User Perspectives on the ArcticNet Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) as a Science to Policy Mechanism”

Paul McCarney (Poster #17) “Research, Management, and Community Priorities for Ringed Seals in Nunavut”

Emily Willson (Poster #35) “Addressing the ‘need’ for sustainable food security initiatives: Exploring Inuit perspectives of food needs in Hopedale, Nunatsiavut”

Jennie Knopp (Poster #22) “Understanding community-based monitoring of arctic char from the community perspective”

Cedric Juillet (Poster #36) “Food Insecurity in Inuit Communities: Supporting decision making through Bayesian Modeling”

Laura Martinez-Levasseur (Poster #9) “Dealing with limitations and biases when documenting Inuit Knowledge of Arctic marine species: the example of walrus in Nunavik (Quebec, Canada)”

Oral presentations at topical sessions

T26. Health and Well-Being in Arctic Communities: Advancements in Practices, Processes and Outcomes (Room 206; Co-chairs: Chris Furgal, Eric Loring)
Time: 10:30 to 12:00 (T26A), 13:30 to 15:00 (T26B), 15:30 to 17:00 (T26C)

  • Wednesday, Dec 10 2014 at 11:00am: “Identifying Indigenous Determinants of Health: Insights from Analysis of Inuit Self-Rated Health in Nunavik” by Nicole Bilodeau (Room 206)

T09B. Arctic Wildlife Co-Management Challenges and Solutions – Bringing Together Inuit and Scientific Knowledge (Room 210)

  • Thursday, Dec 11 2014, at 4:45pm: “Inuit Knowledge and Conservation of the Torngat Mountains Caribou Herd” by Mark Basterfield

T45. The Interface Between Science and Policy in the Arctic: New Perspectives on Knowledge to Action (Room 211; Co-chairs: David Hik, Chris Furgal, Aynslie Ogden)

T23. Energy Security for Arctic and Remote Communities

  • Friday, Dec 12 2014, at 11:00am: “Energy Resilience in Northern Communities: Critical Success Factors for Sustainable Northern Energy” by Lawrence Keyte

TONDU, J.M.E. et al. Working with Northern Communities to Build Collaborative Research Partnerships: Perspectives from Early Career Researchers. ARCTIC, [S.l.], v. 67, n. 3, sep. 2014. ISSN 1923-1245. Available at: <http://arctic.journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/arctic/index.php/arctic/article/view/419%E2%80%93429/4465>.



Trent University News article to be viewed here

Dr. Chris Furgal, an associate professor in the Indigenous Environmental Studies program at Trent, will share his research about how indigenous communities will adapt to climate change as one of several “fascinating ideas” presented at the “What Matters Now” event on Wednesday, May 21 at Kingston’s City Hall.

Professor Furgal joins four other top Ontario university researchers for the final stop of this year’s Research Matters free speakers’ series, run by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). The series aims to showcase how university researchers are improving the health, happiness and richness of life around the world as well as helping government, businesses and communities make informed decisions.

“Research Matters highlights the tremendous breadth and value of university research being conducted right here in Ontario,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, President and CEO of the COU. “It’s no exaggeration to say that university research changes lives, and we want the public to take as much pride in that accomplishment as our universities do.”

Prof. Furgal recently received national attention for a report he co-authored about the food security plight of northern Canadians. The report, entitled Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge, was released March 27 by the Canadian Council of Academics and quickly received national coverage from CBC News, Sun News, and other media outlets.

The study paints a picture of how challenging it is for Aboriginal people living in northern and remote communities to access safe, nutritious food on a regular basis. It describes food security in the north as a serious and complex issue with significant implications for health and wellness, especially for the Inuit. “Quite simply put, things need to be done now and on a large scale to address this critical issue in Aboriginal health in Canada,” Prof. Furgal said.

Hosted by public broadcaster Piya Chattopadhyay, the “What Matters Now” event will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and can be watched on a live stream online.


James D. Ford, PhD, Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, PhD, Susan Chatwood, MSc, Christopher Furgal, PhD, Sherilee Harper, PhD, Ian Mauro, PhD, and Tristan Pearce, PhD. 2014. Download Open Access PDF here, or through the AJPH website.


Climate change will have far-reaching implications for Inuit health. Focusing on adaptation offers a proactive approach for managing climate-related health risks—one that views Inuit populations as active agents in planning and responding at household, community, and regional levels.

Adaptation can direct attention to the root causes of climate vulnerability and emphasize the importance of traditional knowledge regarding environmental change and adaptive strategies. An evidence base on adaptation options and processes for Inuit regions is currently lacking, however, thus constraining climate policy development.

In this article, we tackled this deficit, drawing upon our understanding of the determinants of health vulnerability to climate change in Canada to propose key considerations for adaptation decision-making in an Inuit context. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print April 22, 2014: e1–e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301724)

Trent Professor Co-authors Important Report on Northern Aboriginal Food Security:
Report draws national attention to Inuit food shortages

Click here to view article in Trent University News.

A recent report co-authored by Trent’s Dr. Chris Furgal is drawing national attention to the food security plight of northern Canadians. The report, entitled Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge was released March 27 by the Canadian Council of Academics and quickly received national coverage from CBC News, Sun News, and other media outlets.

Professor Furgal, an associate professor in the Indigenous Environmental Studies Program, was part of a multi-disciplinary panel of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal expert scholars who authored the report. The expert panel was assembled by the Council to conduct an independent, evidence-based assessment of northern food security and its implications for Aboriginal health.

“The assessment was requested by the Minister of Health, on behalf of Health Canada,” Prof. Furgal said. “This was based on their view of the importance of northern food security as a critical issue of public policy in Canada today.”

The study paints a picture of how challenging it is for Aboriginal people living in northern and remote communities to access safe, nutritious food on a regular basis. It describes food security in the north as a serious and complex issue with significant implications for health and wellness, especially for the Inuit.

As an expert panellist, Prof. Furgal was involved in all areas of the study. “Existing scientific data, peer-reviewed literature, and credible grey literature was considered,” he explained. “We ensured that evidence was informed by traditional knowledge and community-based research and we worked with national Aboriginal organizations to seek additional data and ensure that the conclusions rested on a diversity of sources.”

As a researcher working in the field, Prof. Furgal was aware that food security was an issue for northern residents; however, he was still alarmed by the revelations of the assessment. “The report findings were surprising in regards to the very extreme and clear picture they present of the severity of the issue in Canada’s North. Collectively, we (the panellists) started to use the word “crisis” in reference to the state of the issue in our work,” he said.

Prof. Furgal is hopeful that the report will increase awareness of the issue and lead to key actions, at all levels of government, to address food insecurity. He also hopes there will be support for research to fill some of the important gaps identified in the development of the report.

“Quite simply put, things need to be done now and on a large scale to address this critical issue in Aboriginal health in Canada,” Prof. Furgal said.

In the meantime, Prof. Furgal is continuing ongoing research relevant to this topic. He and his students are involved in research projects in northern Quebec (Nunavik), Nunavut, and in the Inuit land claim area of northern Labrador (Nunatsiavut) looking at aspects of Arctic food security.

For more information visit: www.heicresearch.ca orhttp://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/publications/assessments.aspx

Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2014.

Report co-authored by Research Group Director Dr. Chris Furgal

Food Insecurity presents a serious and growing challenge
in Canada’s northern and remote Aboriginal communities, finds Expert Panel

Council of Canadian Academics / Ottawa (March 27, 2014) – A new expert panel report on food security in Northern Canada, has found that food insecurity among northern Aboriginal peoples requires urgent attention in order to mitigate impacts on health and well-being. Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, addresses the diversity of experience that northern First Nations, Inuit, and Métis households and communities have with food insecurity.

Aboriginal households across Canada experience food insecurity at a rate more than double that of non- Aboriginal households (27% vs. 12%, respectively). Recent data indicate that Canadian households with children have a higher prevalence of food insecurity than households without children. A 2007-2008 survey indicated that nearly 70% of Inuit preschoolers aged three to five lived in food insecure households, and 56% lived in households with child-specific food insecurity. Preliminary evidence also indicates that more women than men are affected. The Panel concluded that lasting solutions require collaboration and the continued involvement of those most affected by food insecurity: people living in the North.

“To fully understand the issue of food security, consideration must be given to the many factors that influence life in the North, such as environmental change, culture, governance, and economies,” said Dr. Harriet Kuhnlein, Chair of the Expert Panel. There are no silver-bullet solutions — that is why cooperation among all the key actors including local communities, governments, businesses and institutions is essential.

The evidence-based report provides data on the various rates of food insecurity, explores how different factors affect food security, and describes the health and social effects of rapid social, environmental, and economic transitions — including the nutrition transition. Other findings include:

  • There is no single way to “solve” food security issues in the North. A range of holistic approaches, including poverty reduction strategies, is required.
  • There exists a strong body of research and traditional knowledge with respect to food security and northern Aboriginal health, but several knowledge gaps persist.
  • The food security measurement methods used to date have been valuable, but their ability to respond to the complex issue of food security in the northern Canadian Aboriginal context is limited.
  • Geographic, cultural, environmental, and economic diversity necessitates programs and policies that are responsive to locally-identified needs and are enabled by traditional knowledge and community strengths. Northern communities are a key source of resilience and innovative ideas.

“At the forefront of the panel’s discussions were the people who are most affected by food insecurity. This expert panel was committed to conducting an assessment that fully considered the complex range ofissues that are a daily reality for northern communities and have significant implications for food security,” said Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President of the Council of Canadian Academies.” The panel’s report provides clear evidence and insights that can assist in building effective solutions for both the short and long-term.”

Click HERE for more information.

Click HERE for a direct link to the report.


Link to blog entry: http://aea.nt.ca/blog/2014/03/graduate-student-visits-aea

During March, Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) was pleased to host Lawrence Keyte, who is in the second year of a Master’s in Sustainability Studies at Trent University, researching energy resilience in northern communities. Specifically, he is looking at success factors which help isolated northern communities reduce their fossil fuel dependence and move into alternative energy initiatives. Below is his summary of the project he was working on while at our office.

LK_photo_YKUpon researching northern community energy projects, it became quickly apparent that a lot was happening in NWT regarding energy policy, research and support for these projects. Several NWT energy professionals suggested I take a look at the Fort McPherson biomass boiler initiative as a case study. They saw this project as a positive example of a small northern community who conceived and followed through with thenecessary steps to put a pilot biomass boiler in place. The 90 kW boiler, which can burn cord wood, wood pellets or locally harvested wood chips, provides district heat to the Tetlit Gwich’in Council band office and the community health center. After my two weeks in Fort McPherson looking at the project and interviewing community members, I came away immensely impressed by the tenacity and determination of those involved, both in the community and in Yellowknife, who brought this vision to reality. This biomass project is already a success, displacing a significant amount of oil and employing people in Fort McPherson involved in the harvesting, processing and transportation of the cord wood and wood chips to feed the boiler. It will continue to be a landmark initiative in my opinion, due to the combined efforts of the community, AEA, and Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

In an effort to understand all aspects behind the success of these community energy initiatives, I felt it was important to come to Yellowknife to research other levels of support, and to understand the different perspectives of government, not-for-profit support organizations and industry. All roads in Yellowknife seem to intersect at AEA, and I was delighted to be put in touch there with energy management specialist Leanne Robinson, who kindly agreed to not only to help me connect with potential interviewees, but with her partner Dwayne to host me in their home. Leanne also arranged for me to have office space at AEA, which was pivotal to my learning during the two weeks I was there.

While in Yellowknife I formally interviewed nine people, and had informal discussions, coffees and tours with many more. I came away with valuable perspectives from many energy professionals at AEA, from GNWT (ENR, Industry, Tourism and Investment, and Public Works and Services), from industry and from energy consultants. Apart from exceeding all my expectations for learning and understanding the myriad of factors that create success for these community energy initiatives, I came away with an enduring respect and fondness for the people who hosted me at AEA, and the warmth with which I was welcomed in Fort McPherson and Yellowknife.

A return data verification trip is planned for late May or early June. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again then, and continuing the good conversations we began in March!

The picture above shows Lawrence enjoying the northern outdoors.

Click here to view Lawrence’s website profile.



The Health, Environment, and Indigenous Communities Research Group reaches out to the Trent University community to shed light on how knowledge gained through their research is leading to action.

The display “Knowledge Mobilization: From Knowledge to Action” elaborates on what Knowledge Mobilization is and provides examples from some of the research group members that highlight elements of the Knowledge Mobilization process. Inspiration for this display was the article “The Evolution of a Research Collective” published recently about the research group on the front page of Trent’s Showcase Magazine’s Special Edition on Knowledge Mobilization.

What is Knowledge Mobilization?

Knowledge Mobilization (KM) is the process of moving knowledge generated through research into action of a variety of forms (decisions, programs, policies, etc).

At the heart of KM lies a partnership between the research community and community of knowledge users, working together to co-create knowledge and understanding through systematic inquiry. Such partnership requires collaborative, dynamic, iterative processes to ensure that the focus and conduct of research remains relevant and appropriate for all those involved.

The process of KM includes the communication, uptake, and implementation of research results that ultimately and ideally have positive impact. Implementation and impact are monitored and evaluated to direct adaptation of the future collaborative research efforts.

Knowledge creation within the KM process not only refers to gaining a better understand of an issue, but also about enhancing our understanding of the process through which research is conducted, communicated, disseminated, implemented and evaluated.

Explicit awareness of and attention to the knowledge mobilization process, taking place between communities of researchers and knowledge users, can lead to more effective and positive outcomes for all those involved.

Diagram: Knowledge Mobilization Process (click on image to enlarge)

Trent Continues Legacy of Award-Winning Arctic Student Research
Four grad students win awards at Canada’s largest annual Arctic research gathering

Solidifying the University’s’ reputation as a leader in arctic research, four Trent graduate students walked away from Canada’s largest annual arctic research conference with awards in the poster competition.

The students were part of a 20-person delegation of Trent graduate students, researchers and faculty members who attended the ArcticNet Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Halifax in December.

Boasting a consistently strong presence at the ASM each year, Trent University continued its legacy of award-winning graduate student research in 2013. This year, four awards of the ArcticNet ASM graduate student poster award competition went to members of the Health, Environment and Indigenous Communities (HEIC) Research Group directed by Trent professor Dr. Chris Furgal.

Amongst the award-winners was M.A. candidate in Sustainability Studies, Kristeen McTavish, who received the Inuit Partnership of Excellence Award, the most prestigious award to be given to a graduate student at the ASM and presented to the poster that best addresses Inuit priorities, involves Inuit partners and builds capacity.

Speaking of the honour, Ms. McTavish said:  “I feel extremely honoured to have been selected for the Inuit Partnership Award. This work would certainly not be possible without the enthusiasm and drive of all of our community and organizational partners. I hope that this award helps to showcase the importance of engaging in this type of research, which produces relevant, useful, and implementable research results and benefits to communities.”

The poster award competition is held annually at the ASM to acknowledge excellence in research and presentation, encouraging students to continue in their meaningful contributions to research that ensures the stewardship of the changing Canadian Arctic. Additional Trent winners included: Kaitlin Breton-Honeyman, PhD candidate in Environment and Life Sciences, second place in the Marine-Natural Science category; Emily Willson, M.A. candidate in Sustainability Studies, first place in the Social Science and Human Health category; and Nicole Bilodeau, M.A. candidate in Sustainability Studies, third place in the Social Science and Human Health category. To view pictures of the winners, visit http://heicresearch.com/?p=1481

Janet Kivett Knight, a Trent M.A. candidate in Sustainability Studies, found attending the ASM an invaluable experience, and commented on the importance of allowing researchers in all stages of their careers to connect to others in the field while often making linkages across disciplines.

“It’s a unique opportunity to connect around a common focus on Northern issues, but with the involvement of multiple perspectives, which build out a more holistic picture of what is happening in the Arctic,” Ms. Kivett Knight said.

Click here to view article on the Trent News website.