First ever research centre dedicated to studying the health of Black communities in Canada has been launched by the University of Ottawa.
The Interdisciplinary Centre for Black Health (ICBH) will be focusing on biological, social, economic, and cultural determinants of health in black communities. The centre aims to be a leading research and training centre for promoting health equity for Black communities across the country by collaborating with a handful of university faculties and research institutes, public agencies, and local, national, and international collaborators.
The ICBH is the brainchild of Dr. Jude Mary Cénat, Associate Professor of Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) and founder of uOttawa’s Vulnerability, Trauma, Resilience and Culture Research Laboratory (V-TRaC Lab). Cénat – whose research sheds insight into the mental health state of Black communities in Canada – expects the ICBH to take a leadership role in identifying priorities in research on the physical and mental health of Canada’s Black communities among children, adolescents, men and women.
Researchers at ICBH will be working towards making the centre a leading interdisciplinary research and training space to guide federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal agencies to understand, reduce and eliminate racial health disparities. Its mission is to promote health equity for Black communities through rigorous, interdisciplinary, innovative research and community and social engagement.
Professor Cénat hopes the ICBH will address the urgent needs of Black Canadian communities, including issues related to health disparities; developing tools to inform healthcare training; and proposing evidence-based standards, strategies, and policies.
“There are inseparable links between physical health and mental health,” says Dr. Cénat. “A person who experiences racial discrimination and develops depression is also likely to experience severe stress and may develop diabetes, high blood pressure and, potentially, kidney problems.”
“I’m so proud to support the launch of the Centre, a pioneer with an interdisciplinary vision that will assure its success. I don’t expect we will have to wait long to see our community reap the benefits of this initiative,” says FSS Dean Vicky Barham.