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U of S Psychology Professor Named Champion of Mental Health

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September 6, 2005

Source: University of Saskatchewan:

U of S Psychology Professor Named Champion of Mental Health

U of S Psychology Professor Named Champion of Mental Health

University of Saskatchewan medical anthropologist James Waldram has been
named a Champion of Mental Health by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness
and Mental Health (CAMIMH) for his work in understanding Aboriginal mental

The only university-based researcher to be named as a Champion this year,
Waldram shares the podium with fellow Champions federal health minister
Ujjal Dosanjh, TV personality Vicki Gabereau, Senator Romeo Dallaire, mental
health court judge Ted Ormston, and Bill Wilkerson, co-founder and CEO of
the Global and Business Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health.

"For a researcher working in this field, it is hard to imagine receiving a
more important award," Waldram says. "I'm very appreciative that my work has
been selected for recognition alongside that of such well-known and
politically important figures in Canada."

The award was presented at a ceremony at Ottawa's Chateau Laurier as part of
Mental Illness Awareness Week from October 3-10. It recognizes Waldram's
research and publications in the area of Aboriginal health and his
significant contributions to the understanding of culture in psychiatry,
psychology, and anthropology.

Waldram's work has brought to light historical misunderstanding of
Aboriginal cultures that have had a negative effect on mental health, and
illuminated how mental health within the context of culture can be
understood. He is currently working on sabbatical leave from the U of S at
the University of California - Los Angeles.

"This national award recognizes the outstanding calibre of Professor
Waldram's work as well as the University's commitment to Aboriginal health
research," says Steven Franklin, U of S Vice-President Research. "This
research is particularly important for Saskatchewan, which is home to the
highest Aboriginal population in Canada."

Waldram's scholarly work includes articles on Aboriginal spirituality in
prisons, group therapy among Aboriginal psychiatric patients, and the
effectiveness of traditional medicines. He has written three books in this
area: Revenge of the Windigo, The Way of the Pipe: Aboriginal Spirituality
and Symbolic Healing in Canadian Prisons, and Aboriginal Health in Canada:
Historical, Cultural and Epidemiological Perspectives.

"Waldram's research and the resulting books, articles and lectures, have had
a significant impact on the way in which the mental health of Aboriginal
cultures should be understood and how historically misunderstandings of
these cultures have occurred much to the detriment of their mental health,"
said CAMIMH national director Philip Upshaw.

CAMIMH (www.camimh) is an alliance serving the interests of mental health
organizations, the mentally ill, and their families. Members include the
Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Psychological Association, Canadian
Psychiatric Association, Canadian Mental Health Association, and the
Canadian Native Mental Health Association. The alliance, formed in 1998,
works to ensure mental health issues are placed on the national agenda so
the mentally ill and their families receive access to appropriate care and


For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-2427



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