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PhD student Deanna Bickford receives CIHR Award and SK Innovation & Opportunity Scholarship

Deanna Bickford

College of Nursing PhD student Deanna Bickford is not only busy working hard on her PhD, she is doing award winning research. On April 15th, Deanna received the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Research Award - Aboriginal Research Methodologies for her project titled Where Do I Get Porcupine Quills? An Exploration of Winter Counts as First Nations Ways of Knowing for Youth.

Success doesn’t stop there. That same week, Deanna won the 2013 Saskatchewan Innovation & Opportunity Scholarship for her research project referenced above. “I am honoured to have been selected for these prestigious awards. The research I work on is extremely rewarding and to receive these awards for doing something I love is really exciting,” said Bickford.

Deanna earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree in 2009, completed her Master of Nursing in 2012 and is expected to earn her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) in 2015. Her research is supervised by Dr. Pammla Petrucka, University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing, Regina Campus.

Project Abstract

Deanna Bickfords research project Where Do I Get Porcupine Quills? An Exploration of Winter Counts as First Nations Ways of Knowing for Youth explores the use of traditional Dakota "winter counts" as First Nations ways of knowing and sharing knowledge. It is important to understand what health means to First Nations youth and how these youth come to understand health. Approximately half of the First Nations population in Saskatchewan is under 19 years of age. First Nations youth are at high risk for developing long-term health related problems, being hospitalized, being incarcerated, committing suicide and becoming infected with HIV. Past health research and health system efforts have focused on Western knowledge in an attempt to reduce the individual's risks and to decrease costs to the health care system, but the time has come to reconsider how we engage First Nations youth in learning about their meaning of health and ways of knowing from a First Nations lens. Oral and visual methods, such as winter counts, may lead to improved health individually and collectively through better health policies, more effective research and perhaps creative health delivery models. This research will be open to mutual capacity building and co-research in the pursuit of meaningful and innovative approaches to understanding and achieving health for First Nations youth.