The Indigenous Research Initiative works in culturally safe ways to increase Indigenous research capacity in Ontario and to support the development of culturally safe HIV prevention, treatment and care  programs with Indigenous communities. The OHTN Indigenous Research Initiative Coordinator works collaboratively with a Steering Committee of Indigenous leaders, who advise on the Initiative’s direction and priorities and provide input on projects and materials.


Steering Committee

Funding Initiatives


August 2016Dr. Anita Benoit is the recipient of an OHTN CIHR New Investigator Award. This salary award will support her ongoing work on how  studies how stress impacts the lives of Indigenous women living with socio-economic insecurity and how stress-reducing interventions grounded in Indigenous culture may promote better health outcomes for women living with and at risk of HIV.
August 2016Research partnership and support services – Staff from the OHTN Indigenous Research Initiative invite contact from Indigenous researchers and communities who need support in developing research proposals to implement or evaluate programs that build wellness in their communities. If you would like to talk about the research goals of your community and how OHTN might help, please contact coordinator Jessica Demeria at 416-642-6486 x2215.
October 2015 – An overview of the report “The Current State of the HIV Epidemic among Indigenous People in Ontario” is now available. This document is intended for services providers inside and outside the Indigenous community and offers a readable summary of the full report. The original report, first released in May 2014, used existing data sources to take a first-of its-kind look at the impact of HIV on Indigenous people in Ontario. The full report is also available.

June 2015 – Two projects have been funded through the Indigenous Learning Pathways to Prevention (ILLP) pilot funding program for Indigenous students working with community-based agencies serving Indigenous communities. Applications were requested in March 2015.

April 2015 – OHTN Researcher-in Residence Margaret Robinson and the Indigenous Research Initiative Coordinator Jessica Demeria have received CIHR funding for a cultural intervention for Indigenous youth. They are working with a team of Indigenous community workers and health researchers to develop and evaluate a program which aims to impact rates of Indigenous incarceration as well as rates of intravenous drug use and sexual risk-taking. The project will expand on front-line experience and success with prison-based interventions shifting the age at which the intervention occurs.

October 2014 – OHTN Researcher-in Residence Margaret Robinson, OHTN Community-based Research Review Committee Chair Jon Salsberg, members of the Indigenous Research Steering committee and coordinator Jessica Demeria have been funded by CIHR to study Wise Funding Practice. Current funding paradigms privilege colonial knowledge and are perceived to be inappropriate for, and ill-equipped to understand and equitably review, Indigenous research proposals. This project will work to identify culturally safe practices to identify and fund excellent Indigenous scholarship in the field of HIV research and beyond.

For more information about the Indigenous Research Initiatives, please contact the Coordinator of Indigenous Research Initiatives Jessica Demeria.