Dr. Colleen Anne Dell

Colleen Anne Dell Ph.D. was appointed as the Research Chair in Substance Abuse at the U of S in 2007 and concluded in 2016. Funded by the Government of Saskatchewan, her work concentrated on research, community outreach and training. In July, 2016 she started a 5 year term as the Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health and Wellness at the University of Saskatchewan.

Along with being the Research Chair in Substance Abuse, Dr. Dell was a Professor in the Department of Sociology and School of Public Health. She was also a Senior Research Associate with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Canada’s national non-governmental addictions agency. Dr. Dell was an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University and a Research Associate with the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre.

Since her appointment, Dr. Dell secured 4 million in external funding for her research program as a Principal Investigator and more than double that amount when including her role as a co-applicant and collaborator. Her research addressed innovative areas in substance abuse, ranging from horse assisted therapy for youth in treatment to knowledge translation efforts addressing the role of identity and stigma in the healing journeys of Aboriginal women from substance abuse. Her work has been successfully translated into creative forms, such as music videos (her team’s From Stilettos to Moccasins video has over 25,000 views on you-tube) and workshops for community organizations to offer (her team has distributed over 200 From Stilettos to Moccasins workshop kits across Canada funded by a CIHR grant).

In the 9 years Dr. Dell has in her position, she published over 40 journal articles, with lead authorship on over half, and over a dozen book chapters. She co-edited a Special Edition of the Substance Use & Misuse journal, which included 20 articles representing 12 countries. She has also published over 25 technical reports since arriving in Saskatchewan.

Dr. Dell’s research interests included identity and stigma and their relationship to healing from drug addiction, substance abuse treatment and programming, self-harm among women and girls, the connection between youth resiliency and volatile substance misuse, animal assisted interventions as a healing approach to addictions and mental health, harm reduction, campus prevention initiatives, and research methodology and evaluation. Dr. Dell’s research areas are specific to Aboriginal populations, criminalized women, and drug using populations. Her research studies are grounded in a community-based participatory approach.

The breadth of Dr Dell’s community outreach is evident in her committee contributions and other involvements. This ranges from chairing the National Institute on Drug Abuse Inhalants Working Group to serving as a Senior Research Associate with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Dr. Dell facilitated a Memorandum of Understanding between the Centre and the U of S to provide a bridge between academic excellence and the addictions policy and practice field.

Dr. Dell offered annual training in the province for front-line workers that links with her research program. Her training event on alcohol prevention among youth, coupled with her classroom assignments, translated into the student-driven Binge Drinking Prevention Initiative on the U of S Campus. She also served as a mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Sociology & the School of Public Health.

Underlying Dr. Dell’s work is a belief in bringing different ways of knowing together into one space, with an emphasis on lived experience and Indigenous ways of knowing. For example, her research work with the Sturgeon Lake First Nation on equine assisted learning hosted a community ceremonial horse dance in each year of the four year project. Her commitment to facilitating the exchange of understanding was recognized in 2010 when she was awarded the YWCA Saskatoon Women of Distinction Award with a colleague from the First Nations University of Canada in the category of Research, Science and Technology. Most recent, in 2014 Dr. Dell was awarded the St. John Ambulance Canada Priority Vote of Thanks, conferred by the Chancellor at Rideau Hall.

Prior to her arrival in Saskatoon, Dr. Dell had worked extensively at the community and national levels, including with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba, Correctional Service Canada and the Senate of Canada.

Dr. Colleen Dell Named Project Hope Research Chair in Substance Abuse
Government of Saskatchewan News Release, December 21, 2006



2015. Faculty Advisor alongside Dr. Peter Butt for the What’s Your Cap? student binge drinking prevention group, which was awarded the U of S Vera Pezer Award for Student Enhancement Campus Group.

2015. Profiled in the Saskatoon Health Research Foundation, Weechihitotan (Let’s Help and Support Each Other).The Value of Aboriginal Health Research in Saskatchewan.

2014. Awarded the St. John Ambulance Canada Priority Vote of Thanks, conferred by the Chancellor at Rideau Hall, Ottawa.

2014. Nominated for the Order of St. John Ambulance, Saskatchewan.

2013. Featured in Canada’s Innovation Leaders Health Series 2013 (National Post, Ottawa Citizen) for University of Saskatchewan research with the Saskatoon Health Region.
Canada Raises the Bar for Mental Health Research
– Canada’s Innovation Leaders, November 8, 2013 (page 19)

2013. Featured in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research ‘Show Me the Evidence’ Series.
From Stilettos To Moccasins: A Healing Journey
– CIHR: Show Me The Evidence – Volume 1, Issue 4, Spring 2013

2010. Awarded the Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction Award, in the category of Research, Science, and Technology with Sharon Acoose.
Unique Approach to Aboriginal Healing Awarded Women of Distinction
– Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse News Release, June 26, 2010
YWCA Women of Distinction Award Ceremony Video

2010. Project selected for the CIHR, Institute of Gender and Health, top ten health research success stories, featured in Intersections (Vol 2, No 1). pp. 8-9.

2010. Profiled in Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Regina, SK: Coteau Books. pp. 14

2010. Nominated for a University of Saskatchewan Student Union Teaching Excellence Award.

2009. University of Saskatchewan Annual Report. Click –here

2008. Awarded European Union Visitor’s Program Award, Delegation of the European Commission of Canada