sherilee harper

EcoHealth Research with Indigenous Communities

Does Weather Matter for Foetal Growth in Uganda?

Congratulations to Sarah MacVicar for her new publication!  Sarah’s paper examines associations between in utero meteorological exposures and foetal growth among Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers in rural Uganda.

If you ever wondered how weather conditions impact foetal growth, check out this paper!  Click here to view the open-access paper.  Continue reading

New Book Chapter about Reconciliation and Water Research


Castleden, H., Hart, C., Cunsolo, A., Harper, S.L. and Martin, D. (2017). Reconciliation and relationality in water research and management in Canada: Implementing Indigenous ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies. In Water Policy and Governance in Canada (pp. 69-95). Springer International Publishing. Click here for access.


Water-related issues disproportionately affect Indigenous communities in Canada. Despite millions in investment, Western-trained scientists, engineers, and other researchers as well as the government agencies that have constitutionally-mandated fiduciary responsibilities to address such issues have been rather unsuccessful in solving them. This has been due, in large part, to an overreliance on methods of Western science and management, ignoring the vast place-based wisdom of Indigenous knowledge systems and relational practices regarding water found across the country. The underlying reasons for this partiality are not innocuous; entrenched colonial and racist policies, programs, and practices have persisted across time and space. In recent years, there is increasing recognition of the importance of applying Indigenous approaches to water challenges in Canada. But strategies for successful implementation are only beginning to emerge. In an attempt to respond to this knowledge gap, our research has sought to systematically identify and assess how both Indigenous and Western ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies have been implemented in water research and management. In doing so, this chapter identifies some of the most promising practices in Canada. We share these with the goal of contributing to processes of reconciliation and responsibility towards each other as well as our roles as water stewards across the country.

Examining how drinking water security in Indigenous communities is covered by the media

New Publication!
Congratulations to Steven Lam on his newly published review that examines the extent, range, and nature of newspaper coverage of drinking water security in Canadian Indigenous communities.  The article is available for free (open-access) here: 

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New Publication! Climate Change and Acute Respiratory Illness in Indigenous Populations

KBW headshotCongratulations to Kate Bishop Williams for her new publication in the journal Systematic Reviews. 

This article outlines the protocol that Kate will use to conduct a systematic review to investigate whether associations between acute respiratory illness and seasonal or meteorological parameters differ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups residing in the same geographical region.

Citation: Bishop-Williams KE, Sargeant JM, Berrang-Ford L, Edge VL, Cunsolo A, Harper SL. A protocol for a systematic literature review: comparing the impact of seasonal and meteorological parameters on acute respiratory infections in Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Systematic Reviews 2017; 6(1): 19. Click here for free open-acces to the article.

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New Publication! Seasonal variation of food security among Ugandan Indigenous Batwa

Kate_website_picCongratulations to Kaitlin Patterson on her publication in Public Health Nutrition!  Her article examines the sensitivity of the food system of an Indigenous African population, the Batwa of Kanungu District, Uganda, to seasonal variation.  She used mixed qualitative and quantitative methods to characterize one of the highest food insecure populations in the published literature. Her results are being used by local Ugandan NGOs to prioritize development-related decision making in the region.

Access the article here (free, open-access).

Congratulations Kate!

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New Publication! Reconciling the debate between climatic and social determinants of health

New publication explores the debate about how to examine climatic and social determinants of health.

Citation: Berrang-Ford, L., Harper, S.L., Eckhardt, R. (2016). Vector-borne diseases: Reconciling the debate between climatic and social determinants. Canada Communicable Disease Report. 42:211-2. Click here for free access to the article (open-access).


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New Publication! Climate Change Adaptation-Development Nexus – A Literature Review

Sherman, M., Berrang‐Ford, L., Lwasa, S., Ford, J., Namanya, D.B., Llanos‐Cuentas, A., Maillet, M., Harper, S.L., IHACC Research Team. (2016). Drawing the line between adaptation and development: a systematic literature review of planned adaptation in developing countries. WIREs Clim Change2016. doi: 10.1002/wcc.416. Click here for free access to the article (open access).

Abstract: Climate change adaptation is increasingly considered an urgent priority for policy action. Billions of dollars have been pledged for adaptation finance, with many donor agencies requiring that adaptation is distinct from baseline development. However, practitioners and academics continue to question what adaptation looks like on the ground, especially in a developing country. This study examines the cur- rent framing of planned adaptation amidst low socioeconomic development and considers the practical implications of this framing for adaptation planning. Three overarching approaches to planned adaptation in a developing country context emerged in a systematic review of 30 peer-reviewed articles published between 2010 and 2015, including: (1) technocratic risk management, which treats adaptation as additional to development, (2) pro-poor vulnerability reduction, which acknowledges the ability of conventional development to foster and act as adaptation, and (3) sustainable adaptation, which suggests that adaptation should only be integrated into a type of development that is socially and environmentally sustainable. Over half of ‘sustainable adaptation’ articles in this review took a critical adaptation approach, drawing primarily from political ecology and post-development studies, and emphasizing the malleability of adaptation. The reviewed articles highlight how the different framings of the relationship between adaptation and development result in diverse and sometimes contradictory messages regarding adaptation design, implementation, funding, monitoring, and evaluation. This review illustrates the need to continually interrogate the multiple framings of adaptation and development and to foster a pragmatic and pluralistic dialogue regarding planned adaptation and transformative change in developing countries.

New Publication! Vulnerability and adaptive capacity of Inuit women to climate change

Congratulations to Anna Bunce on her recent publication in Natural Hazards, entitled Vulnerability and adaptive capacity of Inuit women to climate change: a case study from Iqaluit, Nunavut.

While human dimensions of climate change research in the Arctic primarily focuses on men, Anna worked closely with a group of women to understand how climate change impacted them.

Citation: Bunce, A., Ford, J., Harper, S.L., Edge, V., and IHACC Research Team. (2016).  Vulnerability and adaptive capacity of Inuit women to climate change: a case study from Iqaluit, Nunavut. Nat Hazards. DOI 10.1007/s11069-016-2398-6


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