Dr. Downe and Prairie Harm Reduction
Downe is a professor in the USask College of Arts and Science in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology. She has been involved with numerous efforts to publicly engage scholarship in the Saskatoon community, through mentoring and engaging students in community-based academic work and most notably through her long-standing partnership with Prairie Harm Reduction (PHR, formerly AIDS Saskatoon).
“I am most proud of the collaborative teamwork with Prairie Harm Reduction. PHR and I have worked together for over 15 years, addressing some of the major questions related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic here in Saskatchewan,” said Downe. “Ensuring that research is relevant, rigorous, timely, and useful to partnering communities is paramount.”
“Dozens of staff, hundreds of people who access the services, as well as students and fellow researchers have given me the honour of their time, participation, and collaboration.”
As part of her remarks on May 31, Downe thanked current PHR Executive Director Jason Mercredi and former Executive Director Nicole White for their leadership and support, and acknowledged the USask researchers and colleagues with whom she regularly works: Dr. Karen Lawson (PhD), Dr. Sylvia Abonyi (PhD), Dr. Susan Tupper (PhD), Dr. Angela Lieverse (PhD), and Dr. Allison Muri (PhD).
Downe’s main academic focus is medical anthropology and she has completed extensive academic work on infectious disease and epidemic ethnography, pathography, as well as cross-cultural research on maternal health and kin-care.
“I am especially grateful to work in a department that has led the way in advancing interdisciplinary research on infectious diseases through community-to-classroom initiatives in addition to Truth and Reconciliation initiatives,” said Downe.
Downe brought attention to the Saskatchewan HIV/AIDS epidemic through a longitudinal study conducted in partnership with PHR.
Downe’s collaboration with PHR led to the 2021 publication of an ethnographical analysis of urban Indigenous experience and caregiving practices, titled Collective Care: Indigenous Motherhood, Family & HIV/AIDS. The award was given to Downe and PHR in recognition of their accomplishments and contributions to the wider Saskatchewan community through scholarly work.