Thompson Rivers University

New research chair in Aboriginal early childhood

July 12, 2013

Dr. Rod McCormick receives a medicine pouch from TRU elder Estella Patrick Moller. McCormick was officially introduced on July 12, 2013 as the B.C. Regional Innovation Chair in Aboriginal Early Childhood Development at TRU.

The Province is investing $2.5 million in research that will help bring innovative, high-quality and culturally relevant services designed to give Aboriginal children the best start in life.

This funding will establish a new regional innovation chair at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, specializing in Aboriginal early childhood development and maternal and child health. The chair will lead teams of researchers who will work closely with members of local Aboriginal communities. The community participants will bring their strengths, understanding of their children and tradition to the partnership, and help to identify current needs.

Dr. Rod McCormick has been appointed the B.C. Regional Innovation Chair in Aboriginal Early Childhood Development at TRU. Dr. McCormick has a PhD in Counseling Psychology and is recognized as a national expert in First Nations mental health.

A faculty search committee comprised of a team of cross-disciplinary researchers, selected Dr. McCormick. “He has the full support of these faculty members and the larger campus community involved in the consideration of this nomination and he has important ties with the local Aboriginal community,” said Nathan Matthew, TRU Executive Director Aboriginal Education. “There is a real excitement about welcoming this chair to TRU.”

The medicine pouch given to Dr. Rod McCormick by TRU.

Dr. McCormick will work out of TRU, with offices in Faculty of Human, Social, and Educational Development and Aboriginal Education. He is formally assigned to the Education faculty.

He has a long history of working with the Canadian Institutes of Health research (CIHR). Throughout his career, he has focused on Aboriginal health research, worked on projects around Aboriginal careers and life planning, Aboriginal mental health and counselling and Aboriginal youth suicide prevention.

Government provided $2.5 million in funding for this position, including $1.25 million through the Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF). The B.C. government launched LEEF to encourage social and economic development in B.C.

Based on a cost-sharing partnership with the private sector, LEEF has established permanent leadership research chairs at public post-secondary institutions throughout the province in the areas of medical, social, environmental and technological research. The fund also established regional innovation chairs to create opportunities in communities through B.C.’s colleges, universities and institutes.

Dr. McCormick is the final regional innovation chair to be appointed under this program.



Andrew Wilkinson
Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services

“Government’s investment in this cutting-edge research will help put Aboriginal children on the best path to success. Dr. McCormick’s work will lead to strategies and interventions based on an understanding of the unique circumstances facing Aboriginal mothers and children. It will help First Nations’ families continue to build solid communities with the potential of creating strong economic growth for generations to come.”


Stephanie Cadieux
Minister of Children and Family Development

“When we give young children the best possible start in life, we are maximizing their potential to grow into healthy adults. This chair at TRU will help provide necessary research so we can improve culturally appropriate programs and services that strengthen the health and prospects of Aboriginal children.”


Alan Shaver
President and Vice-Chancellor, Thompson Rivers University

“We are honoured and grateful for the support we have received from our region’s Aboriginal bands to attract Dr. McCormick and the critical work he does in the field of Aboriginal health Today’s announcement is a major commitment and an endorsement from the Province in TRU’s ability to fulfill an important role in the research of issues affecting Aboriginal Early Childhood Development. This partnership between TRU, the government and the Aboriginal Bands will lead to better health outcomes for people.”