Carrie Bourassa, PhD


Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Indigenous People’s Health

Research Chair, Indigenous & Northern Health, Health Sciences North Research Institute
Adjunct Professor, School of Indigenous Relations, Laurentian University


Dr. Bourassa is Research Chair in Indigenous & Northern Health and Senior Scientist at Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury, Ontario.  Prior to taking this position in October 2016, she served her communities as a Professor of Indigenous Health Studies at First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) for fifteen years. Dr. Bourassa is an Indigenous community-based researcher and is proud to be the successful Nominated Principal Investigator on two Canada Foundation for Innovation Grants that funded the Indigenous Community-based Health Research Lab in 2010, and most recently in April 2016 the Cultural Safety Evaluation, Training and Research Lab at FNUniv. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Bourassa is Métis, belonging to the Regina Riel Métis Council #34.

She was a member of the Canadian Institute for Health Research Standing Committee on Ethics for six years ending in 2014. She is a member of the Saskatchewan RESOLVE Steering Committee, International Indigenous Dementia Research Network, and was recently appointed as a member of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto. She is an accredited Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Program facilitator through the First Nations University of Canada and actively involved in volunteering at community centres including the Regina Métis Sports and Culture Centre. 

Honours & Awards

  • College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada, November 2014

  • Wiichihiwayshinawn Foundation Inc. 1st Annual Métis Award for Science and Wellness, 2012

  • Faculty of Arts 2011 Recognition, Significant Scholarly Accomplishment – CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund Grant, 2011

  • Alpha Sigma Nu Honour Society of Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education, 2011

  • Alumni of Distinction Award, Professional Achievement, Campion College, University, Regina, 2010

  • Junior Faculty Award, Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre, University of Regina, 2006-2007

Selected Affiliations

  • Public Member, Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Scientists and Artists
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute Advisory Board Member, Institute of Indigenous People’s Health
  • Member, Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto

Research Interests

Dr. Bourassa’s research interests include the impacts of colonization on the health of Indigenous people; creating culturally safe care in health service delivery; Indigenous community-based health research methodology; HIV/AIDS, HCV among Indigenous people; end-of-life care among Indigenous people; dementia among Indigenous people, Indigenous Water Governance and Indigenous women’s health.

She was recently named the newly formed CIHR Institute of Indigenous People’s Health Advisory Board, which will build off the previous Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health. The Institute fosters the advancement of a national health research agenda to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada, through research, knowledge translation and capacity building. The Institute's pursuit of research excellence is enhanced by respect for community research priorities and Indigenous knowledge, values and cultures.

She is Co-Principal Investigator of Team 20 of the Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration and Aging (CCNA), which focuses on Issues in Dementia Care for Indigenous Populations. The goals of our research team are to (1) explore and promote healthy aging with Indigenous peoples, and (2) raise awareness about cognitive health in Indigenous communities. To do this work, Team 20 manages a number of research projects, from developing health care technology for older Indigenous adults to understanding the lived experiences of Indigenous people with dementia and their caregivers. In addition to research projects, Team 20 also engage in a number of activities in the areas of capacity building and international collaboration.

Current Funding

Her research is supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). She is a Co-PI of the Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration and Aging (CCNA) “Issues in Dementia Care for Indigenous Populations (CCNA Team 20).”

Selected Publications

  • Miller, A. M., O’Reilly, K., Bourassa, C, Kaye, R. (2016). The Sweat Lodge and Ivory Tower: Indigenous community-based research at First Nations University of Canada. In: B. Hall (ed.) Building the Next Generation of Community-based Researchers. UNESCO. The book is freely available at:

  • Bourassa, C., Blind, M., Dietrich, D. & Oleson, E. (2015). Understanding the intergenerational effects of colonization: Aboriginal women with neurological conditions–their reality and resilience. International Journal of Indigenous Health, Vol. 10, Issue 2, Pages. 3-20. Online:

  • Rotter, T, Kinsman, L., Stevenson, K., Bath, B., Goodridge, D., Harrison, L., Dobbsen, R., Sari, N. Jeffery, C., Bourassa, C., Ronellenfitsch, U, Westhorp, G. (2015): Kanadischer Kraftakt (Publication in German). fuehren und wirtschaften im Krankenhaus (f&w), issue 6.

  • Ramsden, V.R., McKay, S., Bighead, S., Boucher, G., Bourassa, C., Butt, P., Clinton, A., Crowe, J., Felix, F., Jorgenson, D., LaRocque, K., McKee, N., Nketia, I., Thunderchild, E., Troupe, C., & Turner, T. Conjointly with members of the communities. (2013) Participatory health research: Celebrating smoke-free homes. Canadian Family Physician, Vol. 59, 1014-1015.

  • Gendron, F., Bourassa, C., Cyr, D.L., McKenna, B. & McKim, L. (2013). The Medicine Room: A Teaching Tool for Elders and Educational Opportunity for Youth, First Nations Perspectives,5,1: 83-97.

  • Bourassa, C. (2012). How I Construct a Positive Identity by Translating Tradition into the Contemporary Context. Honouring Indigenous Women Volume 2. Ottawa: ON, Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO), 69. Available on-line:

  • Bourassa, C. (2012). My Resistance to Negative Definitions of Being. Honouring Indigenous Women Volume 2. Ottawa: ON, Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO), 53. Available on-line:

  • Evans, M., Andersen, C., Dietrich, D., Bourassa, C., Logan, T., Berg, L.D., & Devolder, E. (2012). Funding and Ethics in Métis Community Based Research: The Complications of a Contemporary Context, International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1, 54-66.

  • Kubik, W., Hampton, M., Juschka, D. Bourassa, C., Jeffery, B. (2011). Talking to the ‘Healing Journey’ Interviewers: Ethical Concerns and Dilemmas, Journeys in Community- Based Research. Regina: Saskatchewan Population Health Evaluation and Research Unit.

  • Hampton, M., Baydala, A. Bourassa, C., McKenna, B., Saul, G., McKay-McNabb, K., Goodwill, K., Clark, V., and Christiansen, J. (2011). Happenings - Seven Years Completing the Circle: End-of-Life Care with Aboriginal Families, Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 43(3), 119-125.

  • Kubik, W., Bourassa, C., Hampton M. (2009). Stolen Sisters and Second Class Citizens:  The Legacy of Colonization in Canada, Humanist Sociology, 33(1,2), 18-34.