The University of Saskatchewan Research Chair in Substance Abuse was created in 2007 in a partnership agreement with the provincial government and the University of Saskatchewan. The provincial government committed $1.6 million in funding for the new research chair at the university. The position was established as part of the University’s Integrated Plan Initiative in Public Health and the Government of Saskatchewan’s alcohol and drug initiatives. The Research Chair’s mandate was to increase Saskatchewan’s substance abuse research capacity, strengthen the training of addiction workers, and increase the effective use of research resources in substance abuse prevention and treatment. Dr. Colleen Anne Dell undertook the Chair in July 2007, as a six year appointment, and held a joint appointment between the School of Public Health and Department of Sociology. The Chair was renewed for an additional three years with an added focus on health promotion. On July 1, 2016 Dr. Dell started a 5 year term as the Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health and Wellness at the University of Saskatchewan.


In 2007, the University of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) signed a three-year Memorandum of Agreement that outlines a commitment to work together on various opportunitities. This partnership brought together the unique strengths of both organizations so that in cooperation with each other, they can create and promote harm reduction strategies in the field of addictions. The MOA was renewed in September, 2010 for three years. Dr. Dell’s position as the Research Chair in Substance Abuse helped to increase what is known about substance abuse issues and how best to treat them. This in turn contributed to the partnership between the organizations by providing a bridge between academia and the policy and practices field of addictions. A sample of projects that have resulted from this partnership include:

  • A Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded project that has resulted in the creation of a song, music video and workshop documenting the healing experiences of Aboriginal women in treatment for drug abuse.
  • A partnership with the University of South Australia working towards increasing understanding around sex, gender and diversity in relation to substance use and addictions.
  • Involvement in the development of an international research program focused on the treatment of volatile solvent abuse for Indigenous youth – funded by a Developmental Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada International Opportunities Fund.
  • Sponsorship of and research partnership with the St. John Ambulance therapy dog program.
  • Participation in Canada’s National Anti-Drug Strategy through CCSA’s National Advisory Group on Youth Prevention.

Media Release – Saskatchewan’s Battle Against Addictions is Strengthened