Color & Control:

The Leading Edge

A researcher, clinician, and First Nation scholar who was born and raised in rural Northwestern Ontario

Dr. Christopher Mushquash brings together his clinical experience as a psychologist and his community-based participatory approach focuses on Indigenous mental health and substance use through evidence-based practices that align with First Nations values. This approach ensures his research and its outcomes are culturally and contextually appropriate for people in First Nations, as well as those in rural and northern communities. He has effectively shifted the relationship between communities and researchers, enabling more meaningful and relevant research and advancing the understanding of mental health in Indigenous communities. Systems and services are thus better equipped to address the needs of Indigenous, rural and northern communities in a culturally- and contextually-appropriate manner.

Dr. Mushquash’s team conducted the first Canadian study of adverse childhood experiences in First Nations adults seeking residential treatment for substance use difficulties. The outcomes enhanced the understanding of the nature of developmental and intergenerational trauma in First Nations people and improved clinical care. His work has also upended conventional understandings of mental health in Indigenous families and established best practices for engaging Indigenous people in research. 

Furthermore, his research has directly influenced federal funding policy in remote First Nations communities and bettering the quality of life and care of many Indigenous youth and communities.

Christopher Mushquash, Ph.D., C.Psych., is Anishinawbe (Ojibway), and a member of Pawgwasheeng (Pays Plat First Nation). He is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Rural and Northern Research at Lakehead University, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University, Clinical Psychologist at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, and Chief Scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute and a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction.

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