New research chairs explore health care and Metis family networks

Posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Clare Liddy and Brenda Macdougall

From left to right: Clare Liddy and Brenda Macdougall

The University of Ottawa is pleased to announce the awarding of two new University Research Chairs (URC) to professors whose research contributes to better access to health care for vulnerable populations and to a fuller understanding of 19th-century Metis kinscapes.

“These new research chairs honour inspiring and innovative studies undertaken by professors who are trailblazers in their own right,” said University of Ottawa Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau. “Their research on improving access to health care for underprivileged communities and the familial networks in Metis and First Nations societies of the 19th century align well with our new strategic research objectives.”

The holders of the new University Research Chairs are:

Clare Liddy (Faculty of Medicine), University Research Chair in eConsult and Primary Health Care Delivery

Professor Clare Liddy is the chair of the University of Ottawa’s Department of Family Medicine, a senior researcher at the Bruyère Research Institute, and a practising family physician with the Ottawa Hospital Academic Family Health Team. She aims to improve access to care for vulnerable populations by leveraging eConsult, a secure, web-based tool she co-created to allow doctors and nurse practitioners to communicate with specialists electronically regarding patient care, often eliminating the need for an in-person consultation. The research chair will study eConsult’s impact on helping people living with chronic conditions, including dementia, and how it can help residents of institutional facilities, such as long-term care homes and penitentiaries, get the care they need. This research will also look at expanding eConsult through the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

Brenda Macdougall (Faculty of Arts), University Research Chair in Metis Family and Community Traditions

A leading expert on the history of the Metis people, Professor Brenda Macdougall will investigate how 19th-century Metis kinscapes (familial networks within a specific geographic region) acted as epicentres of Plains Metis cultural flourishing and sense of nationhood. Mainstream scholarly research in general has failed to consider the existence of ongoing relationships between the Metis, or Otipemisiwak (“people who were their own bosses”) and the First Nations societies to whom they were related. It has also de-emphasized the role of women — First Nations and then Metis — on their own society’s evolution. Professor Macdougall’s research will address this important omission, underlining how “the Otipemisiwak inherited the teachings, philosophies, and beliefs about what constituted home, family, and nationhood from their maternal relatives.”

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