By Rick Garrick
OTTAWA – Pays Plat’s Christopher Mushquash is honoured to be one of 70 scholars who are being inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists on Nov. 24.
“It’s a great honour to be included among those new scholars, artists and scientists who are doing such important work,” says Mushquash, an associate professor of Psychology at Lakehead University, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction and clinical psychologist with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care. “We work really closely with Indigenous peoples from across Canada. We try to do high quality work, we try to do as much work as we can and it really speaks to the relationships and collaborations that we’ve had over the years with respect to the work. Often times it’s one person that receives the recognition, but no one person can do that by themselves — it takes a whole bunch of relationships and a whole bunch of collaborations and support from all sorts of people.”
Mushquash says he works closely with communities and community organizations that provide services and supports to First Nations people both locally and across the country.
“We identify questions of interest that might be supported through research and we partner and we ask questions and find the answers,” Mushquash says. “We try to do work that is meaningful to the organizations and communities to support our people. Locally I collaborate very closely with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care to help improve services for children and families in our region.”
Mushquash was nominated by Andrew Dean, vice president of Research and Innovation at Lakehead University, and Batia Stolar, associate vice president of Research and Innovation at Lakehead University, due to his prolific research. Mushquash has published 41 articles in peer-reviewed journals, three book chapters, and 27 reports, letters, and non-peer reviewed publications and delivered more than 150 presentations to local, regional, national and international audiences on a range of topics in Indigenous mental health and addiction.
“Congratulations to Dr. Mushquash,” says Brian Stevenson, president and vice-chancellor at Lakehead University. “He is an outstanding researcher whose work and outreach activities are already having a substantial impact, and we are very proud of him and this prestigious recognition of his invaluable work.”
Mushquash says his current research work includes a variety of different areas, including helping to provide parent skills that are more culturally relevant and appropriate to the context people live in.
“We’re doing work to understand child mental well-being from a culture-based perspective,” Mushquash says. “We’re doing work on helping develop life promotion strategies in First Nations. As well, I’m doing work in understanding and helping support evaluation strategies for communities who have been working on helping to address opioid issues in their communities through methadone, Suboxone and other kinds of things.”
Mushquash says it is important for researchers to understand the culture and context of the people they are helping.
“My work is focused on determining evidence-based approaches that align with First Nations values, understanding culture-based approaches to healing and wellness, and ensuring that these approaches are appropriate for the context — depending on the community and factors such as remoteness, and access to other resources, or determinants of health,” Mushquash says.
Mushquash began his career at Lakehead University in 2011 after completing his PhD in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University.
Information about the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists is posted online at: https://rsc-src.ca/en/college-new-scholars-artists-and-scientists.