Sherilee Harper is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph. Her research investigates associations between weather, water, and Indigenous health in the context of climate change, and she collaborates with Indigenous partners to prioritise climate-related health actions, planning, interventions, and research.
She is currently a collaborator in an international research initiative called the “Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change” (IHACC) project, which works closely with Indigenous peoples and their organizations in the Canadian Arctic, Ugandan Impenetrable Forest, and the Peruvian Amazon. The project aims to combine science and traditional knowledge to strengthen health systems in light of a rapidly changing climate, within three areas of foci: food security, malaria, and waterborne disease. Sherilee is also a co-investigator on the “Indigenous Peoples Adapting to the Health Effects of Climate Change” (IK-ADAPT) project, which works with Indigenous communities and knowledge users in the Canadian Arctic to develop and apply a framework for adaptation assessment, and develop and evaluate pilot interventions for adaptation to the health impacts of climate change.
Sherilee has worked with the Rigolet Inuit Community Government to develop a 3-year community-led, capacity-building research program, called the “Changing Climate, Changing Stories, Changing Health” project. As Co-Director of this program (with Ashlee Cunsolo Willox), she assisted the small community secure research funds to use culturally appropriate methods to examine the impacts of climate change on health and well-being. Specifically, this project used qualitative methods and digital media to engage the community in climate-health research and to create locally-appropriate public health media. This project led to the development of the ‘My Word’: Storytelling and Digital Media Lab, which has a multi-media lab in Rigolet which offers research assistance and a host of services and workshops to individuals and communities.