../Morning Post
Posted September 10 , 2010
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Health Care

New Research Partnership between the University of Ottawa and Right To Play

OTTAWA — A new innovative Canadian research initiative was announced yesterday between the School of Human Kinetics at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, and Right To Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in 21 countries around the world.

Under the leadership of the director of the School of Human Kinetics, Blaine Hoshizaki, a multidisciplinary research team from the School of Human Kinetics, Right To Play and Canada’s First Nations communities will bring together experts in the field of sport and recreation to develop programs designed to enrich Canada’s northern communities by emphasizing social inclusion and positive life skills in First Nations youth. The research team will, among other things, measure the consistency and alignment of the program’s goals and outcomes through a stakeholder theory approach. It will undertake research designed to connect existing human, physical and social community assets to support Right To Play’s Promoting Life Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program objectives. By combining Right To Play’s expertise and motivational power, the knowledge and discipline of University of Ottawa professors and the history and knowledge of First Nations community leaders, we will develop meaningful and sustainable programs to support healthy communities in Canada’s north.

"We are thrilled that Right To Play has chosen to work with our research team. This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to go in the field with our students and work as an interdisciplinary team in a very specific and concrete context. We are excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the success of this internationally-known organization by promoting the use of sport to improve the health and develop the life skills of children and adolescents in Canada’s northern First Nation communities. I am very proud of the professionalism of my colleagues in the Faculty of Health Sciences,” stated Dean Prud’homme.

This research initiative is part of a new program developed by Right To Play called Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY). The first communities to benefit from the program will be the Moose Cree First Nation and the Sandy Lake First Nation. The program uses sport and recreation to develop leadership skills and provide youth with opportunities that may not otherwise be available in their communities. It is based on sport and play programs designed and implemented by Right To Play.

This project includes professors Alexandra Arellano, Tanya Forneris, Eric MacIntosh, Michael Robidoux and Jean Harvey, and is coordinated by Blaine Hoshizaki. It will also provide excellent opportunities for university students to play an active role in community-based research and put into practice skills developed in the multidisciplinary program of the School of Human Kinetics. Students will have the opportunity to use their academic and professional skills to make a difference in northern First Nations communities. The program will also encourage and enable First Nations youth to visit the University of Ottawa to seek opportunities for higher education.

“We are proud to be partnering for the first time in Canada with a strong academic research team from the School of Human Kinetics at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa. Their expertise in the field will be crucial in supporting Right To Play in our efforts to use the transformative power of sport and play to build essential skills in children and thereby drive social change in communities around the world,” said Johann Olav Koss, President and CEO of Right To Play.

This initiative is also supported by the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. "Promoting Life-skills for Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) brings together government, the private sector and Aboriginal communities with the shared goal of improving health and well-being for First Nations youth. We are very pleased to welcome researchers from the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Health Sciences to our team. Working together, we can make PLAY the best program it can be," said Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Chris Bentley.

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