Place, Health and Well-Being Research Group

Principal Investigator: Mylene Riva

old gray apartment buildingCurrent research activities of the Place, Health and Well-Being Research Group are broadly embedded within the themes of housing, the Qanuilirpitaa 2017 Nunavik health survey, and place and health. Research projects are developed and conducted in collaboration with community organizations, including Indigenous organizations responsible for public health, housing, and community planning and development. Scientific activities are conducted within an integrated Knowledge Translation (iKT) framework in which knowledge users, e.g. decision makers from Indigenous organizations, are involved in all steps of the research process, from defining research questions to knowledge dissemination. In this way, results generated by the projects are expected to fill knowledge gaps identified by organizations to inform the development, implementation, reach, and effectiveness of current and future public health, housing and community planning policies. Working within an iKT framework allows for real-time translation of research results to support decision-making and policy.


Housingletters for the word HOUSING with suburban street set in background

Housing conditions are recognized as a key determinant of health with effects across the lifespan. In 2011, 12.5% (1.55M) of Canadian households were in core housing need, with the most egregious housing-related inequities experienced by Indigenous Peoples.

Across Canada, access to adequate housing has been a social, ecological, and health problem in Indigenous communities in Canada, since the movement toward sedentary living. Investments in house construction in most Indigenous communities have never been adequate to the needs. Overcrowding and poor quality housing are still commonplace in many Indigenous communities, especially in the Arctic where the rapidly growing population and harsh climate are putting pressure on the housing stock.

Housing-related projects of the Place, Health and Well-being Research Group will improve our understanding of the health and well-being impacts of housing conditions, interventions, and policies for Inuit and First Nations populations. It will provide an evidence base of the highest quality for the implementation of social, housing, and land-use planning policies to create communities that are supportive for health.

Link to housing-related projects


Place and Health

Research projects under this theme relate to understanding how community conditions, e.g. levels of deprivation and inequality, urban-rural location, housing conditions, social cohesion, influence peoples’ health and well-being.

Link to Place and Health research initiatives


Qanuilirpitaa? 2017 Nunavik health survey

Qanuilirpitaa? Nunavik 2017 logo
Image by Qanuilirpitaa? Nunavik Health Survey.
Qanuilirpitaa? (How are we now?) This is the question the Nunavik region is seeking is answer with the 2017 Nunavik Health Survey. This survey will follow-up participants of the 2004 Nunavik health survey, and will invite additional Nunavimmiut aged 16 years and older to participate. The survey will document physical and mental health outcomes, as well as the social and cultural factors associated with these outcomes. One of the new aspects of the survey is a focus on community conditions influencing health and well-being in each 14 Nunavik communities. Prof Riva is the scientific leader of the community component of the survey with her colleague Prof Christopher Fletcher from Université Laval. The community component aims to:

  • Define what is a healthy community from an Inuit point of view
  • Find ways to describe and measure community health so that changes for better or worse can be understood and actions taken.
  • Provide indicators of community conditions that are meaningful and useful to the communities of Nunavik.

Knowledge generated from the community component of the Qanuilirpitaa? 2017 survey will inform local and regional actions for community mobilization and development.

Qanuilirpitaa? 2017 is a collaboration between the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, the Institut national de santé publique du Quebec, and researchers from Université Laval, McGill University, and Trent University. Data collection for the survey will take place on board the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen which will sail to all 14 communities in Nunavik between August 19th to October 5th 2017.

Link to Qanuilirpitaa 2017 Nunavik Health Survey project

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