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Dr. Christopher Mushquash, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, & Northern Ontario School of Medicine

  1. Dr. Mushquash appointed adjunct in Department of Indigenous Learning

    February 15, 2017 by Christopher Mushquash

    Dr. Mushquash was appointed as an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University on January 23, 2017.

  2. Dr. Mushquash featured in International Innovation

    February 4, 2016 by Christopher Mushquash

    “A psychologist and researcher at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, is looking at ways of overcoming challenges in Indigenous health by understanding what mental wellbeing means from the perspective of communities.”

    For more information:

  3. Dr. Mushquash recipient of Northwestern Ontario Visionary Award

    January 25, 2016 by Christopher Mushquash

    On January 23, 2016, the Top 20 Under 40 Young Professionals in Northwestern Ontario were recognized at the 2016 Northwestern Ontario Visionary Award (NOVA) gala at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay.

    For more information:

  4. Dr. Mushquash promoted to Associate Professor with tenure

    July 2, 2015 by Christopher Mushquash

    This past winter, Dr. Mushquash successfully received promotion and tenure at Lakehead University. On July 1, 2015, he officially began his appointment as Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Psychology.

  5. Follow Dr. Mushquash’s new column on Anishinabek News

    June 18, 2015 by Christopher Mushquash

    Dr. Mushquash is collaborating with Anishinabek News on a column related to issues of mental health, addiction, and wellness in First Nations communities. Readers of “Ask Dr. Mushquash” can submit questions or topics for discussion by clicking on the “Contact the Editor” link. The plan is to publish a new column every two weeks. Read Dr. Mushquash’s introduction column here:

  6. Dr. Mushquash appointed Canada Research Chair

    April 13, 2015 by Christopher Mushquash

    Dr. Mushquash has been appointed Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction.

    Through his research, Dr. Mushquash is identifying culturally and contextually appropriate targets of intervention by examining culture-based and Western approaches for addressing mental health difficulties and addiction among Indigenous peoples, and then developing evaluation methods. This approach to research and intervention involves collaborative partnerships. His work is grounded in community and the idea that Indigenous understandings of wellness and methods of healing are holistic. Dr. Mushquash disseminates knowledge broadly in Indigenous communities and in scientific and health care communities, as well as with policy and decision-makers. He also works to increase capacity in Indigenous health research through training and mentorship. Building upon the knowledge that exists within Indigenous traditions, languages, histories, and methods of healing, this work will support community-based priorities and efforts at improving the health of Indigenous peoples while reducing disparities in mental health and addiction. Dr. Mushquash is an assistant professor in Psychology at Lakehead University and in the Division of Human Sciences at NOSM. In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Mushquash is a clinical psychologist at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.

    The Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) stands at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development.

    In 2000, the Government of Canada created a permanent program to establish 2,000 research professorships—Canada Research Chairs—in eligible degree-granting institutions across the country.

    The CRCP invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds.

    Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. They improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision, teaching, and the coordination of other researchers’ work.

    The CRCP is committed to excellence in research and research training, and to ensuring equal access to opportunities for all qualified candidates. The goals of excellence and equity are both compatible and mutually supporting. Sound equity practices ensure that the Chairs program accesses the largest possible pool of qualified candidates, without affecting the integrity of the program’s selection process. The CRCP is committed to the federal government’s policies on non-discrimination and employment equity.

    The Chairs Secretariat works collaboratively with institutions to identify and share strategies and practices that respect the spirit of openness, transparency and equity of the program.

    For more, see: and

  7. Follow @DrMushquash on Twitter

    January 29, 2015 by Christopher Mushquash

  8. Two Upcoming Talks in Indigenous Health – Jan. 22 & 23, 2015

    January 19, 2015 by Christopher Mushquash

    Dr. Fred Wien, Professor Emeritus, School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, will give talks about Indigenous health as part of the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Distinguished Speaker Series.

    Intervening on Poverty as a Determinant of the Health in First Nation Communities

    Date: Thursday, Jan. 22
    Time: 4 pm
    Location: RC1002

    This presentation describes First Nation perspectives on poverty and well-being as well as the process by which a project of this nature becomes engaged with communities. Poverty is often described as an important social determinant of health, yet interventions seldom target poverty directly. Dr. Wien is a researcher participating in the Poverty Action Research Project (PARP), which is funded by the CIHR.

    Aboriginal Health Research: From the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research 

    Date: Friday, Jan. 23
    Time: 10 am
    Location: ATAC1006 in Thunder Bay and OA1025 in Orillia

    Research on Aboriginal health has been a relatively undeveloped field but it received a major boost from the work of the RCAP and the formation of the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health within CIHR. Over the last three years, however, the field has faced a more challenging environment within CIHR and efforts are currently underway to reset the direction.

    Dr. Wien is a former Deputy Director of Research for RCAP, former member and Chair of the IAPH Advisory Board, and Co-chair of the Aboriginal Health Research Steering Committee which is meeting with CIHR senior management to address the issues that have been raised.

    Please send questions to Mary Lysenchuk at

  9. Dr. Mushquash receives Outstanding Young Alumni Award

    May 29, 2014 by Christopher Mushquash

    On May 28, 2014, Dr. Mushquash received the Lakehead University Alumni Association‘s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Initiated in 2004, the award is presented in recognition of a graduate from the last ten years who is 35 years of age or younger, and who has achieved significant accomplishments since graduation, either in his/her profession, sport or community service. Dr. Mushquash received the award at the Annual Alumni Awards Dinner alongside Ahmoo Angeconeb and Mae Katt, who both received Alumni Honour Awards.

    The opportunity for working closely with mentors in the field of indigenous health research was really something that enabled me to find my way and find what was most important for me so I could develop the skills that I thought might be helpful.” – Dr. Mushquash

    If you would like to nominate someone for an Alumni Award, click here for submission guidelines and nomination forms.

  10. 2012-2013 Annual Report to the Community

    November 4, 2013 by Christopher Mushquash

    It Takes a Village

    “When you have a relationship with communities, you can enter into an open dialogue to address their goals in a real way.”

    –        Psychology Assistant Professor and nationally recognized researcher Christopher Mushquash

    Curiosity is a powerful human emotion. It fuels the work of researchers in every discipline and generates important discoveries, but sometimes curiosity can have unforeseen and damaging consequences.

    In earlier colonial times, the notion of the researcher as a bold explorer travelling to exotic places to study exotic people captivated the western imagination, whether it was Franz Boas in Canada’s Pacific Northwest in the 1880s or Margaret Mead in Papua New Guinea in the 1920s.  Unilaterally deciding who and what to study, along with the assumption that non-Europeans were somehow less advanced than Europeans, became a standard research model.  And First Nations communities throughout Canada are still feeling the reverberations.

    This approach led to serious privacy and ethics breaches. Even in the late twentieth century, health researchers conducting studies in Aboriginal communities would do analyses without a community’s knowledge or consent. “While often well-intentioned, this approach was, and continues to be, problematic” says researcher Christopher Mushquash. “Because this top-down approach is what has historically been pursued, subsequent conversations have been missed due to prior negative experiences with researchers and the research process.”

    An assistant professor with Lakehead University’s Department of Psychology and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Mushquash takes a community-based approach to research. He is part of a changing Aboriginal health research landscape in which collaborations with communities respectfully search for ways to improve health together. This approach is leading to a revived appetite for research among some First Nation communities.

    Mushquash is especially interested in substance use and mental health in First Nations communities and the interrelationship between the two. “We must consider how the historic context has caused profound changes that affect health.” His Substance Use Research Group (SURG) is one way Mushquash engages in these complex issues.

    Mushquash’s understanding of northern, rural, and remote health issues is not just academic. He was born and raised in Sioux Lookout and is a member of the Pays Plat First Nation on the north shore of Lake Superior. “I think that growing up rurally was one of the things that contributed to my commitment to working rurally and particularly working with First Nations people. I was very aware of the health disparities.”

    Despite his childhood experiences, Mushquash hadn’t initially planned on a career in psychology. “I came to Lakehead University to study biochemistry – I’d be a plant biologist if I wasn’t in psychology,” he says. But when he took a psychology elective in his second year, he became aware of how psychology is science – and realized that pursuing psychology was a good opportunity to learn research skills that might benefit First Nations, and rural and remote communities.

    Today, Mushquash is nationally recognized as a dedicated researcher, consultant, and teacher whose work is informed and driven by community priorities. “Research is about relationship. When you have a relationship with communities, you can enter into an open dialogue to address their goals in a real way.”

    One example of this collaborative approach is Professor Mushquash’s recent partnership with Health Canada and 10 remote First Nation communities to create an evaluation framework for community-based programs dealing with opiate use. “This work is very rewarding,” he says. “I’ve met so many strong and spirited people and am continually inspired by the amazing work they are doing in their communities.”

    Read more Lakehead stories in the 2012-13 Annual Report:

    By: Tracey Skehan, Editor of Publications, Marketing Support