Oosman will work with Métis on aging project
December 10, 2012
Dr. Sarah Oosman joined SPHERU this spring as a post-doctoral fellow and will be working on the SPHERU’s Healthy Aging in Place project.
With a background as a physiotherapist working in the area of health promotion, she has an interest in community-based health intervention research in partnership with Aboriginal communities, specifically to develop and implement culture-based health promotion programs in order to positively influence health across people’s lifespans.
Her research areas of interest include: health promotion; promotion of physical activity and nutrition; intervention research; qualitative and quantitative research methods; Aboriginal health; health of children and seniors; population health; and culture-based and community-based research methods.
Oosman has worked in collaboration with Métis communities and expects to further these relationships on this project, as well as possibly working with some First Nations communities.
“The main umbrella is the Healthy Aging in Place project; however, I am interested in also exploring the role that children play in the health of older adults and vice versa,” she says.
Her focus will be on collaborating with a Métis community to develop, implement and evaluate an intergenerational health promotion intervention that may positively influence the health of older adults and children simultaneously. Early work has focused on the grant process, an environmental scan, as well as initial planning and collaborating with the participating Métis community.
Although the focus will be on the health of seniors, there could also be reciprocal health benefits for the children too, she says, as older adults may pass on knowledge about local Métis ways of living and procuring food, such as fishing, trapping, berry picking, gardening and other healthy activities.
“Older adults and seniors may benefit from sharing their experiences,” she says. “As they are often considered the knowledge keepers and are respected for their life experiences in those communities.”
Oosman has a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Physiotherapy from the University of Saskatchewan, and she has work experience in private physiotherapy practice as well as within the Saskatoon Health Region.
She completed her Masters of Science in physiology at the University of British Columbia in which she examined the metabolic aspects of obesity and diabetes. She returned to Saskatchewan and continued work as a physical therapist and a knowledge exchange consultant at the Health Quality Council prior to pursuing her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies also at the University of Saskatchewan. During this time she furthered her education in Aboriginal health intervention research, and she received two Scientific Director’s Award of Excellence awards from the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health-Canadian Institutes of Health Research for her Ph.D. work.
“I’m hoping to tie elements of my background into the work I’ll be doing with Sylvia and SPHERU,” she says. “My goal at this point is to continue to enhance my research skills in population health and intervention research within an Aboriginal context at the same time as collaboratively build sustainable culture-based health promotion interventions in collaboration with Aboriginal communities in order to narrow the health disparities among Aboriginal populations.”