Given the toll that COVID-19 has had among Indigenous communities during the pandemic, the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) has put a high priority on studies engaging Indigenous communities and on fostering the relationships necessary for these partnerships to flourish. The CITF is supporting several studies underway in Indigenous communities in multiple sites across Canada.
Professor Carrie Bourassa was named to the Task Force’s Leadership Group, a volunteer position, at its formation in April 2020 when the CITF was created. That appointment reflected her position as Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH) and her prominent voice in Indigenous health.
Considering Dr. Bourassa’s change in status with CIHR and the University of Saskatchewan, and its impact on her ability to fulfill her Task Force responsibilities, Dr. Bourassa has offered to step down from her Task Force role, effective immediately. The Task Force co-chairs will work as needed with the Government of Canada, including CIHR and the Public Health Agency of Canada, to ensure ongoing input on policy issues affecting Indigenous researchers and communities. For front-line perspectives, the Task Force Secretariat will continue to liaise directly with Indigenous partners and allies to advance collaborative research on COVID-19 with Indigenous communities.