DIGHR-Dignitas i2i Indigenous Health and Wellness Community Scholar
Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook, PhD
As the inaugural “Indigenous Health and Wellness Community Scholar” at the DIGHR, Tanya is leading a project in Partnership with the Dignitas International “Ideas to Innovation Lab” to understand the impacts of climate change on the health of under-served Indigenous communities. A particular focus is on how Indigenous communities, health organizations and researchers can be supported to prepare for and improve the resilience of community health systems. In Northern Canada, remote and rural Indigenous communities face multiple social and geographic barriers rooted in low resources (financial and human), low household incomes, lack of culturally safe care, limited technological capacity, and high medical and institutional staff turnover rates that impede their access to quality health care. The added threat of extreme climate events and their impacts on land and food systems, water quality, livelihoods and infrastructures has amplified local health vulnerability. Through this study, Tanya is engaging Indigenous health collaborators in exploring how holistic, equity-focused and land-based approaches to climate-informed health research and programming can be applied to strengthen the knowledge base and capacity of local systems to respond effectively to climate change. Tanya completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Canada-Caribbean community climate change adaptation and holds a PhD in Environmental Studies and an MA in International Development Studies. Her work focuses on: climate change, Indigenous environmental and health perspectives, health equity, social-ecological resilience, biodiversity conservation, natural resource management, community development, environmental and trauma perspectives in mental health, and youth development. She has many years of experience leading and advising scholarship, education and community development projects with collaborators from diverse Indigenous, academic, nonprofit, United Nations and government institutions in Canada, Latin America/Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Netherlands.