UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 4 | Apr.
Aboriginal Health Institute Names First Director
By Hilary Thomson
UBC alumnus Eduardo Jovel has been named the first director
of the Institute for Aboriginal Health (IAH).
An ethnobotanist who came to Canada as a refugee in 1983,
Jovel did his undergraduate work in agronomy and botany in
his native El Salvador and in California. At UBC, he obtained
his masters degree in ethnobotany in 1996 and his PhD
in mycology in 2002.
He has contributed to the teaching and development of curricula
for aboriginal and minority programs offered through UBC and
Cornell University, New York. His involvement in international
research projects with aboriginal people includes teaching
and research in Peru, Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic
and the U.S.
We have to create researchers to participate in this
institute, says Jovel, an assistant professor of Agricultural
Sciences. We need to attract and develop students who
can build the research capacity of First Nations communities
and we must offer a research approach that is holistic and
includes research protocols that have cultural integrity.
A collaboration of the First Nations House of Learning (FNHL)
and UBCs College of Health Disciplines, the IAH is unique
in Canada because of its connection with an established centre
for First Nations learning and support, says Jovel.
The IAH mandate is to improve communication between First
Nations communities and the university, to develop researchers
in aboriginal health and to increase the number of First Nations
Work at the institute is supported by an Aboriginal Capacity
and Developmental Research Environment grant of $1.5 million,
intended to improve First Nations access to health research
training programs and research careers.
An advisory council of First Nations members and UBC health
science representatives as well as regional committees will
reinforce links to B.C.s aboriginal communities and
help devise research questions.
The IAH will also assist with curriculum development, offer
a summer program for First Nations high school students as
well as provide training on health concerns to aboriginal
community members, through a summer health institute.
For more information on the IAH, check the website at www.health-disciplines.ubc.ca/iah/.