The ECHO Network is a 5-year research program, funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Team Grant, focused on working together across sectors to take notice of- and respond to- the influence of resource development on health and well-being, with specific emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous communities and environments. The project brings together university researchers and local knowledge-users who have identified a need to better understand and respond to the health, environment and community impacts of resource development. The research team is led by a steering committee comprised of different sectors, disciplines and communities, which is co-chaired by Dr. Parkes and Dr. Sandra Allison, chief medical health officer at Northern Health. Launched in Prince George, British Columbia, in early May 2017, the project brings together university researchers and research partners across Canada and internationally, who have identified a need to better understand and address the health, environment and community impacts of resource development. A team of more than 60 people will work together as the ECHO Network and draw on expertise spanning health, social and natural sciences.
The project involves principal researchers from UNBC (Dr. Margot Parkes, Dr. Henry Harder), Simon Fraser University (Dr. Tim Takaro, Dr. Maya Gislason), the University of Alberta (Dr. Lars Hallstrom), the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (Dr. Craig Stephen) and the Université de Moncton (Dr. Céline Surette). Key partners with each of the regional cases include Alberta’s Battle River Watershed Alliance, the New Brunswick Environmental Network, and B.C.’s Northern Health Authority and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). It will also involve numerous other researchers and stakeholders from around the country and the globe, including New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.
The research study is funded by a team grant as part of CIHR’s Environments and Health Signature Initiative.