An assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Nursing from Thunderchild First Nation has received an Indigenous research chair in nursing.

Dr. Holly Graham is also a U of S researcher and was given the chair to improve Indigenous people’s health and increase research capacity in Indigenous nursing.

The chair will assist student nurses with the help of $666,500 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, $308,500 from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, $60,000 from USask and $10,000 from the Canadian Nurses Foundation.

“Our goal is for all graduates from our program to have an understanding both of the traditional Western perspective of health and wellness and of Indigenous worldviews,” Graham said. “Having this understanding will enhance all aspects of nursing practice. The medicine wheel provides the framework for the holistic approach that considers the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the individual. The seven sacred teachings will provide the foundation for human conduct towards others by instilling the values and virtues of humility, honesty, respect, courage, wisdom, truth and love.”

11 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students.

“This exciting new research program, with its holistic approach, will prepare a new generation of Indigenous youth to help reduce the health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” USask vice-president of research Karen Chad said. “Under Dr. Graham’s highly regarded leadership, this program provides an opportunity to strengthen reconciliation in nursing education so that Indigenous people are better served within the health care system.”

(PHOTO: Dr. Holly Graham. Photo courtesy of