“The new faculty of health sciences’ building and its academic programs embrace the strategic elements of the uOttawa Indigenous Action Plan.”
On Nov. 24, the University of Ottawa (U of O) announced it had received a $2.5 million donation from the Bank of Montreal (BMO).
The donation will be combined with a $2.9 million investment from the U of O towards the reIMAGINE campaign and “help transform the future of learning and research in Indigenous health and health sciences” at the U of O.
Plans for the funds include the construction of a new faculty of health sciences building on Lees Avenue, and the establishment of a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health.
In a statement to the Fulcrum, Lucie Thibault, dean of the faculty of health sciences, said that the funds are a welcomed investment for increasing research capacity within the faculty.
“BMO’s investment into the faculty of health sciences and into the new building at 200 Lees is very much appreciated and will further enable and enhance our teaching, learning, and research focusing on Indigenous health from multiple perspectives in the faculty’s five schools: interdisciplinary health sciences, human kinetics, nursing, nutrition sciences, and rehabilitation sciences.”
“All students will benefit from this generous donation from BMO in the environment that is created to foster learning and research that aims to improve the lives, well-being, and health [of] all Indigenous people and communities.”
Thibault added that the newly-announced health sciences building and focus on Indigenous health research aligns with the U of O’s Indigenous Action Plan.
“In particular, hoops 2, 3, and 4 are key to our new spaces. Hoop 2 addresses faculties, departments, and programs: Indigenous curriculum and research development; hoop 3 deals with the physical space: aesthetics infusion, inclusion, and improvement; and hoop 4 comprises Indigenous community: internal and external engagement.”
With regards to the appointment of a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health, Thibault said a wide call for experienced Indigenous scholars will be made this year, and the successful candidate will play a major role in supporting future health professionals.
“The successful candidate will be responsible for research into Indigenous health and to share their research findings with all, including Indigenous communities. The successful candidate will also be responsible to teach, supervise, and mentor students in the field of health sciences and health research amongst Indigenous communities.”
In a statement posted to the U of O website, vice-president of external relations, Jacline Nyman, said the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health “demonstrates how uOttawa is taking action to pursue a path to indigenization in its courses, curricula, research and in its relationship with communities.”
U of O Chancellor and member of BMO’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Claudette Commanda, presented a commemorative Thunderbird blanket to BMO to show appreciation for the renewed partnership. In addition, the atrium of the new health sciences building will be named the “Coeur Communautaire BMO |The BMO Social Heart.”