15 Indigenous scholars win funding for heart and brain research initiatives

The recipients represent outstanding Indigenous master’s and doctoral scholars from across the country

Heart & Stroke, along with Brain Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (CIHR-ICRH), are pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural Personnel Awards for Indigenous Scholars. Launched in spring 2023, this program aims to increase the number of highly qualified trainees working in heart and/or brain research from Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) communities whose traditional and ancestral territories are in Canada.

Congratulations are extended to the following recipients:

MSc Scholars
McCrae Best
Hayley Casey
Aimee Dawe
Sabastian Koprich
Olivia Perry
Brittany Skov

Memorial University
University of Victoria
University of Guelph
University of Toronto
Memorial University
Lakehead University

PhD Scholars
David Foubert
Melissa Anderson
Morgan Towriss
Sara Scott
Casey Hewes
Justin Turner
Ethan Hagen
Erin Gurr
Kimberly Fairman

McGill University
University of Manitoba
University of British Columbia
University of Calgary
University of British Columbia at Okanagan
University of British Columbia
University of Alberta
Western University
University of Victoria

"We are thrilled to support such impressive Indigenous master’s and doctoral scholars in Canada,” says Doug Roth, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “These awards aim to strengthen Indigenous scholar capacity and representation within heart and brain research. Together, with our partners and collaborators across the health sector, we hope to contribute to improvements in equitable health care for Indigenous communities.”  

“It is with great excitement that we announce the fifteen exceptional recipients of the Personnel Awards for Indigenous Scholars,” says Dr. Viviane Poupon, President and CEO of Brain Canada. “Through this program, we aim to pave the way for improved brain health outcomes and a more inclusive future for the brain science community.”

“CIHR continues to champion research activities led by Indigenous Peoples and to prioritize improving health equities in meaningful ways,” says Dr. Ariane Marelli, Scientific Director, CIHR-ICRH. “The Institute is proud to have partnered with Brain Canada and Heart & Stroke to support Indigenous scholars, future health leaders, and their communities, in efforts to advance health research excellence in all its diversity.”

The multi-year awards provide financial support for six master’s scholars for up to two years and nine doctoral scholars for up to three years. By reducing financial barriers, the awards aim to enable outstanding scholars to focus on their studies, undertake a program of research, and engage with mentors as part of their training and development. 

Funding for the Personnel Awards for Indigenous Scholars has been made possible by contributions from the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF), an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada Foundation; CIHR, Canada’s federal health research funding agency, and its Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health; and Heart & Stroke, Canada’s leading health charity devoted to heart disease and stroke.

About Heart & Stroke 

Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke has been leading the fight to beat heart disease and stroke for 70 years. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy. Heartandstroke.ca @HeartandStroke

About Brain Canada

Brain Canada plays a unique and invaluable role as a national convenor of those who support and advance brain research. A greater understanding of how the brain works contributes to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of disorders of the brain, ultimately improving the health outcomes of people in Canada and around the world. To learn more, visit Braincanada.ca @BrainCanada

About the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we believe research has the power to change lives. The CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH) is one of thirteen virtual Institutes, with a focus on supporting research into the causes, mechanisms, prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation for a wide range of conditions associated with the heart, lung, brain (stroke), blood, blood vessels, critical care, and sleep. https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/8663.html @CIHR_ICRH


Alicia D’Aguiar 

Brielle Goulart 

CIHR Media Relations