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Erica Samms-Hurley appointed to advisory board on chronic conditions

Erica Samms-Hurley is always looking for the next step, the next challenge and the Mount Moriah woman has found it with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  

Erica Samms-Hurley

Samms-Hurley has been appointed to the research group’s Institute Advisory Board on Chronic Conditions. It’s one of five new boards set up by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Samms-Hurley is a member of the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Pathways PEKE (Partners for Engagement and Knowledge Exchange) Advisory Committee. It’s through that group that she got involved with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The call for advisory board members crossed her desk a couple of times and she shared it in her network before eventually deciding to apply herself.

The board will provide advice on the discovery, development, evaluation and integration of solutions that allow Canadians living with chronic conditions to actively participate in society.

The boards will also provide a wider scope of expertise and identify opportunities for collaboration across the group’s 13 institutes and numerous initiatives.

“Chronic disease affects everyone across Canada, it doesn’t matter who you are,” said Samms-Hurley on Thursday.

She said Newfoundlanders have particularly high rates of chronic disease, including cardiac conditions and diabetes. That’s something Samms-Hurley is quite familiar with through her work as a nurse educator with the Western Regional School of Nursing, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

But Samms-Hurley also wears another hat that gives her insight into the issue.

“As an aboriginal woman and involved in the aboriginal community I do know that aboriginal people are even more susceptible to chronic disease,” said Samms-Hurley, who is also western vice-chief of the Qalipu First Nation.

Samms-Hurley said much is known about how the diet for aboriginals has changed and the way of life has evolved. “But how do we improve it, how do we move forward,” she said when it comes to the negative impacts that have resulted in an increase in chronic diseases among the aboriginal population.

Samms-Hurley said indigenious research hasn’t always been that great in Canada.

“We really need to focus on the community and what’s appropriate for indigenous people and to have them gain that trust.”

She said it’s also about going back to traditional ways and practices, including traditional ways of healing.

Knowing that is one thing, she said, but to have sound knowledge backed by research is another.

Samms-Hurley will find out more of what her role will be in December when she attends an orientation session for board members.

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