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Staff Members

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Cassandra J. Opikokew Wajuntah
Director
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Cassandra is from Canoe Lake Cree First Nation and was raised in Meadow Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. She graduated at the top of her class in 2009 from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (BAJ) and?a Certificate in Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA).?In 2012, she finished her Master's of Public Administration (MPA) where she focused on Indigenous?post-secondary education funding. As a PhD candidate in public policy, she was the recipient of a CIHR?Doctoral Research Award ($108,000) for her dissertation entitled The Indian Solution to the Policy Problem: Developing an Indigenous Policymaking Model to Address First Nations Health Disparities.?She is currently?working with Indigenous health organizations in Saskatchewan and Hawai’i to examine how self-determined Indigenous health policymaking models are more effective at improving the health of Indigenous people than Western colonial models. She was most recently a Visiting Scholar at the U of Hawai’i's John A. Burns School of Medicine in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health while she worked with her community partners throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Cassandra served in various roles at the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) from 2010-16 under the late Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, whom she credits as a pivotal mentor, friend and influence in her work. During her time at IPHRC, Cassandra assisted Dr. Episkenew with the creation of the Indigenous Research and Engagement Platform (IREP) for the Saskatchewan Centre of Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR)?and the transition of IPHRC to the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. She currently resides in Regina, SK with her husband Justin, a member of Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation, their 6 dogs and their 3 wild toddlers.

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Moses Gordon
Indigenous Research and Engagement Platform - South

Moses Gordon is from the George Gordon First Nation. He holds a Master's of Public Policy, a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Certificate in Economics from the University of Regina. Prior to working at IPHRC, ?Moses spent over three years working in?research at the First Nations University of Canada. In addition to his professional roles, he also serves on the board of directors for George Gordon Developments Ltd., a community-owned economic development corporation, and the Indigenous Advisory Circle (IAC) at the University of Regina. As the IREPS ?housed out of IPHRC's Regina location, Moses is responsible for supporting relationships between health researchers and Indigenous communities in the southern half of the province.?

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Kirstin Scansen-Isbister
Indigenous Research and Engagement Platform - North

Kirstin Scansen-Isbister is a nehithaw (Woods Cree) woman from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band in northern Saskatchewan. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria. Kirstin’s Masters’ project/thesis focused on traditional Cree leadership and governance, in the context of resisting resource extraction in northern Saskatchewan.

Kirstin is currently a specialist?with?the Indigenous Research and Engagement Expertise Platform of SCPOR,?serving Indigenous communities in the northern half of the province. Kirstin specializes in relationship building and collaboration with Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan and throughout Canada. Kirstin sees the inclusion of Indigenous voices in patient-oriented research as essential to the development of respectful and reciprocal relationships in the health care system that foster the spirit and intent of treaty and help to break down colonial relationships of research and health care in the province of Saskatchewan.

In her previous roles, Kirstin has worked to connect Indigenous people and communities to resources in the numerous fields. In 2016 she travelled to Iqaluit, Nunavut to conduct research on environmental sustainability and the incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in K-12 and post-secondary education on behalf of the Sustainability and Education Policy Network within the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to this, Kirstin enjoyed the role of Aboriginal Student Recruitment Officer on behalf of the University of Saskatchewan.

Kirstin travels home to La Ronge and Vancouver frequently to visit her friends and family. Her interests include land-based practices and teachings and the maintenance and revitalization of nehithaw language. Kirstin can often be found hiking, berry picking, camping, canoeing, snowshoeing and fishing on her ancestral nehithaw homelands.?

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Amanda Crowe
Research Officer

Amanda Crowe is the Research Officer for the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) and Indigenous Research Engagement Expertise Platform with the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research (SCPOR). She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Health Studies with a focus on Indigenous Health in 2017 through the department of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. Her research interests focus on the delivery of health care for Indigenous Peoples’, cultural safety and awareness for first responders and health care professionals as well as cultural and traditional aspects in health care and treatment. Her past research in this area focused on the gaps in accessibility and quality of health care for Indigenous people, health disparities in First Nations communities and ways to improve Indigenous health with cultural awareness, safety and humility. Prior to joining IPHRC/SCPOR, Amanda was a Paramedic who spent her time working in First Nations communities, the city of Regina and as the Aboriginal Representative for the Emergency Health Care Board at Saskatchewan Polytechnique. She currently resides in Regina with her son Carter and plans to obtain a Master’s in Science or Health Administration.

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