CAAN Research is Driven by Our Membership
In a relatively short period time CAAN’s Research and Policy Unit (RPU) has grown from a few projects that helped us to learn about research into a well respected and very busy team of full- time and part-time researchers and trusted consultants. Our staff numbers remain small – 4 full time staff shared with the RPU and the AHA Centre, two project coordinators (one of these people still need to be hired) and several fantastic consultants.
We decide what kind of research to pursue or support based upon direction from our membership. We review AGM resolutions, consult with the APHA Advisory Committee and other standing organizational committees including: the National Aboriginal Youth Council on HIV & AIDS, the CAAN Voices of Women and the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS. Research has become a very important part of CAAN’s work and provides an opportunity to learn more about: how to approach our work and how to understand the issues that our APHA members and community stakeholders are facing and what some solutions might be.
For some projects, CAAN is leading the work and the grant funds are managed by our offices. For other projects, our allies directly manage the funds and we are part of the decision making team and we also participate in projects where our role is to bring the voice of the Aboriginal HIV & AIDS community and we are one of many people on a team. There are different responsibilities associated with each of these roles but ultimately, our most important job is representing our membership in a respectful and professional manner.
We are working on including more about our work on the CAAN website to share updates about all of our work. In the meantime, the National Toolkit at www.caan.ca offers a great resource with summaries and full copies of our reports and resources. We have also created Facebook Profiles for staff members – Renée At Caan, Caan Era Patrick Brownlee and Caancbr Managers. Check us out from time to time!
To offer some perspective about the research we are currently involved in, we are investigating:
- APHA Leadership strategies;
- how to Communicate effectively through social media;
- what Decolonizing Methodologies look like from the perspectives of Aboriginal and African, Caribbean and Black community members;
- the impact of living with and growing up with HIV in the family;
- the priorities for developing good housing policy and design for Aboriginal People living with HIV & AIDS.
In addition, we are also supporting research regarding sex work; women and HIV; GIPA in rural communities; Aboriginal Youth prevention and leadership; Inuit community-readiness to engage in research; stress management for women living with HIV & AIDS; applying epidemiology models; and contributing to the Aboriginal-Track (A-Track) secondary surveillance project.
Finally, staff are very busy developing the foundation of the AHA Centre and linking with the membership of the research team – check out Marni and Sherri’s newsletter article. We will be promoting our latest research report regarding Alcohol Use and Access to Treatment with a video featuring David Lee and Lyanna Storm in April 2013 in Vancouver. Watch for more news about Wise Practices IV on our website, Facebook and in your email!
About the Author: Merv Thomas is the National Programs Communications Manager for the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN).