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SPECTRUM News and Announcements

SPECTRUM member discusses data equity in the collection and use of administrative data

Laura Bee has long brown hair in a side braid and leans against a wall

Data equity specialist aims for justice in health research
April 1, 2024 — Allison Mayes, UM Today

Scientists tend to assume that the information stored in health-care databases – such as records of medical diagnoses and prescriptions – paints a complete, factual picture. But the more you examine health data through a lens of equity, inclusion and justice, the more you recognize its biases and exclusions, says Dr. Laura Bowler. Bowler, who joined UM in 2023, is the first person to hold the position of data equity specialist at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP), a research unit in the Max Rady College of Medicine. “It’s important to understand that this isn’t objective data,” says Bowler, noting that power, privilege and systemic oppression play roles in who is counted and how data can be skewed.

SPECTRUM Lead fellow was asked by Emerging Leaders to describe our Partnership and what it means to them

SPECTRUM Welcomes Two New Core Team Members

We are excited to welcome Elizabeth (Liz) Decaire and Stephanie Sinclair from the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) to the SPECTRUM Core Team!


Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair is an Anishinaabe woman from Sandy Bay First Nation. She is a mother of two children and the daughter of a residential school survivor. Stephanie works at the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba as the lead for Data Sovereignty. Stephanie is also completing her Ph.D. in Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. Stephanie has worked in various positions over the last 20 years with the goal of improving health and mental wellness services for First Nations people. Her most recent research looked at the impact of Indigenous birth helpers (doulas) in the 'Supporting the Trajectories of our Spirit' Research Project.

Liz Decaire is a member of Cross Lake First Nation, in Treaty 5 Territory currently residing just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba and is a 3rd generation First Nation Registered Nurse, providing nursing services in remote and isolated First Nation communities across Manitoba. Primary care settings, public health and program services has been a passion for Liz since she could remember. She is currently the Nurse Program Advisor for the Strengthening Families-Maternal Child Health program in First Nation communities and had previously been the Peer Support Specialist for the program for 9 years at First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba. Liz remains committed to serving Indigenous communities in Manitoba.

The First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) works with the 63 Assembly of Manitoba Chief member First Nations in Manitoba to increase their opportunities to participate in the planning & development of a Unified Health System in Manitoba, influence regional and national health policy, and improve systems and program development across various health topics.

Liz and Stephanie presented on FNHSSM’s research and programs at the November 2021 SPECTRUM Workshop. They covered the need to integrate Traditional knowledge into research, storytelling through data, and the work of Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag, a program designed to establish birthing circles of Indigenous women and families to re-establish the sacred bond between mothers and their babies. Additionally, they shared about the Strengthening Families Maternal Child Health (SF-MCH) program, that trains and builds capacity in families and communities on topics related to maternal and child health.
Both Liz and Stephanie bring their expertise in health and social development for First Nations in Manitoba rooted in peoples’ inherent right to health services that are culturally appropriate, holistic, and community-based. The SPECTRUM Core team is grateful for their expertise and look forward to closely collaborating with FNHSSM to advance the goals of SPECTRUM.

SPECTRUM Welcomes A New Student Fellow


Jess is currently a third-year Ph.D. student in the Applied Behaviour Analysis Program at the University of Manitoba. Her academic journey has been marked by diverse laboratory experiences, ranging from her time in the Embodied Cognition Lab and Health Psychology Lab to her work in the Northern BC Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Lab. This diverse exposure speaks to her eagerness to continually expand her research skills repertoire and approach complex problems from various angles.
Prior to joining the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy as a research assistant, she was involved in several community-based research initiatives. After graduating with a B.Sc. in Psychology, she joined a collaborative research project between the University of Northern B.C. and the Nak'azdli Health Center in Fort St. James, British Columbia. In her role, she had the privilege of leading a digital storytelling workshop series aimed at bridging the intergenerational gap between First Nations youth and elders. She was also involved in two research projects that directly influenced policy and service decisions for local healthcare providers, specifically Northern Health in Prince George, BC, and St. Amant in Winnipeg
, MB.

SPECTRUM moves on to the next stage in the SSHRC Partnership Grant Competition

SPECTRUM’s Partnership Grant proposal to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has been successful at Stage 1. We have been invited to submit a full proposal in the Fall of 2023. If we are successful at Stage 2, this will provide SPECTRUM with sustainable long-term funding for the next 7 years.

To cover the costs of SPECTRUM in the meantime, we have been awarded $90,000 from the Winnipeg Foundation. These funds will support that partnership through until June 2024 and will be used to support follow up work on the demonstration project and knowledge mobilization.

Congratulations to all involved in submitting the grant and to the entire partnership for your award-winning work!

SPECTRUM Fellows prove to be highly competitive for scholarships and awards

SPECTRUM Fellows have also had significant accomplishments in the last year of work, including receiving numerous recognitions and awards:

  • Emily Brownell

    • September 2022, Research Manitoba-Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) Master’s Studentship Award

  • Hera Casidsid

    • 2023 FGS Research Completion Scholarship

    • September 2022, Research Manitoba-Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) Master’s Studentship Award

    • Manitoba Family Year 1994 Legacy Scholarship

    • Evelyn Shapiro Award for Health Services Research 2022

  • Mikayla Hunter

    • Fall 2022 – Manitoba Primary Care Network Research Partnership Award - Research and Team Development Grant

    • April 2023 – The Laura Bassi Scholarship

    • June 2023 – 2023 University of Manitoba Emerging Leader Award

  • Nyala Comeau

    • Manitoba Research Alliance Grant

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