Partnered Projects

The Centre for Healthy Communities partners with government, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector, community members, and other academics to develop evidence-based actions and strategies for communities. This work is led by our partners and the Centre for Healthy Communities is a collaborator or partner. 

CIHR Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectory Initiative (I-HeLTI) Cohort Intervention Study

The 6-year CIHR I-HeLTI Cohort study represents 23 Indigenous communities based in British Columbia (BC) and Alberta (AB), including the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth Nations in BC, and the four Cree Nations of Maskwacîs and the five Cree and Dene Nations of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Wood Buffalo). The study is focused on restoring Indigenous healthy family systems – grounded in Indigenous Knowledge, cultures and experiences – across the lifespan, starting in childhood.  We aim to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous parents and parents-to-be from preconception (before conception) and into pregnancy and the postpartum period. This initiative will also help us understand how to optimize child wellbeing and development, and reduce risk factors for child health issues, chronic diseases and illness. Additionally, we will evaluate the efficacy of community-based programs implemented across the Nations in BC and AB to reduce NCD risks and improve developmental outcomes and wellness throughout the lifespan based on community priorities. This research has two overlapping components: 1) a cross-sectional study of families and households; and 2) a prospective birth cohort study of child development, including evaluation of the community strategies and services in promoting children’s development and wellbeing.

In AB, Dr. Stephanie Montesanti, Scientist and Research Thematic Lead for Supporting Healthy Indigenous Communities with the Centre for Healthy Communities, is the Principal Investigator for the Wood Buffalo I-HeLTI Healthy Families Program. The program offers support, advocacy and education to childbearing women, new moms, fathers and their families. The community-based program teams comprised of aunties and Elders work to support families, and coordinate access to related health and social services.

For more information on the AB I-HeLTI community-based programs check out the University of Alberta Folio story:

For more information about our partnered projects, please contact us at