Randall Jackson
Associate Professor, Health, Aging & Society

What makes it possible for people with HIV to live longer and better lives? Some insights might be found among Canada’s Aboriginal communities. Among many Aboriginal groups, HIV rates are rising, and yet many who have the virus live comparatively stable, happy and long lives.

Randy Jackson has become an expert in understanding the long-term wellness among HIV-positive Aboriginal men. Dissatisfied with existing research, which tended to focus excessively on pathologizing Indigenous people, Jackson worked with the communities he was studying to find a different perspective. Health-care providers acknowledged the challenges of HIV in their communities, but also identified resilience among those who accessed their services. They wanted to understand this resilience better.

Jackson continues to study how indigenous ways of knowing the world and being in the world can influence resilience. By better understanding the role of culture in the lives of people living with HIV, Jackson reveals parts of the bigger picture of the sociological facets of human health.

Jackson teaches courses in Aboriginal Health and Wellness, and also in the Community-Based Research methods that are at the heart of his own research. This community-based approach has broad implications and potential, providing new insights into the ways resilience – not just physical, but also spiritual, emotional and mental – can be grounded in Indigenous knowledge, community and worldviews.
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