Hotspotting mental health and addictions: Putting the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategy for Patient Oriented Research into action

Quail, J (NPI); Schaefer, J; Neudorf, C; Anderson, M; McLeod, V; Lafontaine, T; Pelly, J; Pruden Nansel, K; Baetz, M; Baker, M; Teare, G; Muhajarine, N


We used administrative data to identify people with mental health and/or addiction (MHA) problems, and determine characteristics that lead to them becoming a superuser of health services. A fundamental element of our research involves engaging patients as partners at all stages of the research.


In Saskatchewan, Canada, we engaged with community programs to determine the ‘on-the-ground’ reality of people living with MHA problems. Our discussions revealed that First Nations and Métis People are highly overrepresented in the MHA patient population. For this reason, we are focusing our efforts on engaging with this specific patient population.


A patient advisor was identified from Saskatoon Health Region’s (SHR) Client and Family Centred Care and cultural advisors from SHR’s First Nations and Métis Health Service. Trust between team members was fostered by mutual respect, sharing experiences and trust-building activities such as listening closely, making the space for quieter members, and rotating meeting locations among team members’ workplaces. Cultural sensitivity was facilitated by listening to a cultural advisor’s experience in residential school and attending a traditional First Nations Sweat ceremony.


Patients and their family members are invaluable members of the research team. The most important step in successfully involving these untraditional team members is building trust through unconditional acceptance, respect for each individual’s lived experience, and shared experiences. Building trust takes time and so patient engagement cannot be expected to follow a rigid schedule.
Jacqueline Quail, PhD, MSc

Jacqueline Quail, PhD, MSc

Nominated Principle Applicant

Jacqueline Quail has worked as a researcher at the Health Quality Council since 2008. Prior to her Master’s degree and PhD studies, Jacqueline’s career as a physical therapist included work in a variety of clinical areas and settings in the U.S. and Canada, including acute care hospitals, nursing homes, community outreach, and public schools. Jacqueline holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy and a Master of Science degree in Community Health and Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan, and a doctorate degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from McGill University. Jacqueline works with many research partners in Saskatchewan and across Canada. She is the Saskatchewan liaison on multiple pharmacoepidemiological studies for the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies. She is a member of the Canadian Respiratory Research Network and is the Saskatchewan lead of the multi-provincial research project “Long-term clinical and financial impact of asthma control during pregnancy and preschool years on disease evolution until adulthood.” Jacqueline also collaborates with University of Saskatchewan research partners including the Rural Dementia Action Research Team and the Quality of Care in Rheumatoid Arthritis team, both of which seek to describe the quality of care and services available for people in Saskatchewan with the respective diseases in hopes of improving both.
Judy Pelly, B.Ed

Judy Pelly, B.Ed

Patient Advisor

Judy Pelly is Saulteaux/Ojibway from the Cote First Nation, Treaty 4 territory. She is a Cultural Advisor with the Saskatoon Health Region First Nations and Metis Health Service in the area of mental health and addictions. Judy obtained a degree in education from the University of Saskatchewan and worked as Director of Health and Community Studies at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT). Prior to this, she held positions as an Education Manager at Alberta Education, in curriculum development at the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, various positions with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and as Program Head of Cooperative Education and School to Work Programs. Upon retirement from SIIT, Judy taught briefly in Onion Lake Saskatchewan. Judy is a mother of 3 sons and Kokum (grandmother) of 5.