UBC PhD student Jennifer Lavalley has been named a 2020 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar. Ms. Lavalley is pursuing her doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies, exploring the experiences of Indigenous people who use drugs, in order to optimize and ensure the cultural relevance of overdose-focused harm reduction and substance use treatment.
Prior to her current position as a Research Coordinator at the BC Center on Substance Use (BCCSU), Ms. Lavalley worked as a front-line work in variety of social service / community settings, supporting people who use drugs. During her time providing research support to the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society at the BCCSU, along with her many years of front-line care work with Indigenous people, Ms. Lavalley decided to focus on how centering Indigenous-based knowledge and ways of knowing could improve the disparities in health among Indigenous people who use drugs.
“For me, engaged leadership means bringing different perspectives and experiences together to create unity and solidarity across communities; fostering opportunities to amplify and prioritize marginalized voices, and understanding the ways in which Indigenous knowledge can broaden modern concepts of leadership in order to provide leadership through traditional teachings, histories, and experiences,” said Ms. Lavalley, who is Cree-Saulteaux Métis born and raised in Treaty 4 territory, Regina, Sask., with ancestral roots from Muscowpetung First Nation in southern Saskatchewan and the Red River Settlements in Manitoba.
Strategy 8: Student Research in UBC’s Strategic Plan is one way in which the university is committed to supporting students like Jennifer in expanding their research experiences and addressing local and global challenges through collaboration and innovation.
Read about Ms. Lavalley’s research and scholarship at the Graduate Studies website.