BCCSU scholar wins the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

published on April 17, 2020

Jennifer Lavalley, a PhD student at the University of British Columbia and Project Coordinator at the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), has been awarded a 2020 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. She is one of only 16 scholars to receive the prestigious research award this year.

Lavalley’s research will explore the experiences of Indigenous people who use drugs in order to optimize and ensure the cultural relevance of overdose-focused harm reduction and substance use treatment. She is currently providing research support to the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS).

“For me, engaged leadership means bringing different perspectives and experiences together to create unity and solidarity across communities, foster opportunities to amplify and prioritize marginalized voices, and understanding the ways in which Indigenous knowledge can broaden modern concepts of leadership in order to provide leadership through traditional teachings, histories, and experiences,” said Lavalley, who is Cree-Saulteaux Métis born and raised in Treaty 4 territory – Regina, SK, with ancestral roots from Muscowpetung First Nation in southern SK and the Red River Settlements in Manitoba.

Lavalley joins two other Trudeau Foundation Scholars currently conducting studies and research at the BCCSU – Mohammad Karamouzian and Stephanie Lake.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholars were selected for demonstrating strong engagement in the values of the Foundation, committing to improving their skills in both official languages as well as familiarizing with Indigenous languages, and to actively volunteering in their communities. Selected from among hundreds of candidates nominated by universities across Canada and abroad, the 2020 Scholars’ research in the Social Sciences and Humanities reflects the four fundamental guiding themes of the Foundation: Human Rights and Dignity; Responsible Citizenship; People and their Natural Environment; and, Canada and the World. Their academic disciplines span a wide range including environmental sciences, public health, communications, history, education, political science, and law.