James Waldram (photo credit: Dave Stobbe for USask

U of S researcher earns national acclaim

University of Saskatchewan (U of S) medical anthropologist James Waldram has been honoured with one of Canada’s most prestigious research awards. The U of S professor in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Science, was celebrated today in Ottawa by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) as one of five national recipients of SSHRC Impact awards. He will receive $50,000 in research funding.

The SSHRC described Waldram’s work over his 33-year academic career as “the gold standard of knowledge about Indigenous/First Nations health and healing.”

“Professor Waldram is internationally renowned as a leader in researching Indigenous health, and we are proud that his outstanding work is being recognized with this national award,” said U of S president Peter Stoicheff. “This award is a testament to how highly his work is regarded by his colleagues in the research community and to the impact of the social sciences on the well-being of communities."

A leading Canadian researcher in the field, Waldram documents traditional Indigenous knowledge, practices and healing techniques throughout North America and Central America. Over the past 12 years, he has travelled to Belize to live with the Indigenous Q’eqchi’ Maya people and to study their traditional healing practices.

“The Insight Award is an affirmation that the time that you put into your research career is being validated at the highest levels by your peers and colleagues,” said Waldram, who was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2014 and received the U of S Distinguished Researcher Award in 2013. “But the real highlights for me are the kinds of things that happen when you take your research back to the communities and share it with them and they appreciate that you are making a real impact for them.”

The SSHRC Insight Award, one of five categories of Impact Awards, is given annually to an individual or team of researchers whose project results in significant contributions to knowledge about people, societies and the world.

Canada’s Science Minister Kirsty Duncan said SSHRC’s Impact Awards are a “celebration of curiosity and commitment.”

“By supporting the work of talented researchers, we help build stronger and more resilient communities,” she said.