Improving Indigenous health

Anishinaabe (Rainy River First Nations) researcher Dr. Amy Bombay explores the intergenerational effects of the Indian residential school system on Indigenous well-being.

As part of her teaching duties at Dal, where Dr. Bombay is Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the Faculty of Health and in the Department of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine, she has worked with a team of faculty from Health, Medicine and Dentistry to develop a curriculum on Indigenous health that will be piloted to students in winter 2019.

Dr. Bombay has also been involved in the establishment of the Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network, which supports the mentorship, training and development of the next generation of Indigenous health researchers. “I mentor as many Indigenous students as possible. It is very important to build research and other related skills in today’s generation of Indigenous youth.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Dr. Bombay and her research partners’ findings served as the basis for a submission to the Human Rights Tribunal against the federal government for underfunding child welfare services for children on-reserve. The tribunal ruled that First Nations children were being discriminated against. “Our research was recognized as playing a significant role in the ruling,” Dr. Bombay says.

WHY SHE DOES IT: Dr. Bombay’s interest in Indigenous health began in high school when, seeking to learn more about her family history, she interviewed her grandmother for a research paper on the Indian residential school system.

“I could see the impact of the residential school experiences on my grandparents’ lives and on those who were intergenerationally affected,” Dr. Bombay says. This early project fueled her interest in psychology and led to further study on the determinants of mental health outcomes of Canadian Indigenous peoples.