Jo-Ann Episkenew (Director, Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre, University of Regina; Associate Faculty, Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina and Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy; Adjunct Professor, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan; Professor of English, First Nations University of Canada)
Jo-Ann Episkenew was a member of the SPAR research team from 2012 until her untimely death in February 2016. She made important contributions to SPAR's work through broad research expertise in Indigenous Literatures as applied literatures, narrative medicine, narrative policy studies, and trauma studies. In addition to leading the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre, a partnership between the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and First Nations University, Episkenew was an active researcher and Co-PI on several Operating Grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and NPI for a team recently awarded a Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Health Research Group Grant. Jo-Ann’s book Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing (2009) won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Scholarly Writing in 2009 and the First Peoples Writing Award in 2010. She was a member of the Boards of Directors of the Aboriginal Health Research Network, the Lung Association of Saskatchewan and the Lung Health Institute of Canada, and the Indigenous Literary Studies Association. Jo-Ann was also a member of the Regina Riel Métis Council. The legacy of Jo-Ann’s contribution to SPAR research ensures that the team will continue addressing issues relating to the role of artists in the health of communities. Her background in Indigenous Literary Studies and work involving artists and First Nations youth on reserves was important in contributing to the development of quantitative and qualitative approaches that will provide a good understanding of the role of artists in Aboriginal communities and the professional networks which contribute to the creative work of Aboriginal artists.