Ottawa – Minimal interaction between the Aboriginal health research community and senior leadership at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is undermining a decade of achievement and future advancement in aboriginal health research, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.

The New Democrat Aboriginal Health Critic was voicing concerns over changes at the CIHR that were made without input from the Aboriginal health research community.

“For over a decade, the Canadian Institute of Health Research provided a strong voice and a source of funding for much-needed research on Aboriginal health,” said Hughes.  “But the Conservatives have cut funding, terminated programs that were successful, and removed the advisory committee.”

Hughes says the CIHR conducted a review and promptly ignored the testimony of people and groups who have experience working with the Institutes in favour of external and secretive submissions.

“The Conservatives have made all their changes to the Institute for Aboriginal People’s Health without consulting with the community affected,” said Hughes.  “Years of good-will that were carefully built up are now being lost. Senior leadership won’t even meet with Aboriginal health researchers or respond to their letters.”

Hughes says the ongoing cuts to funding and the advisory committee along with the termination of programs point to a pending vacuum for Aboriginal health research in Canada.

“Why is the Minister allowing the CIHR to undermine Aboriginal health research when it is so important?”