Introducing Our New Research Program Manager at IRSI

We are excited to announce the addition of a new team member to the Indigenous Research Support Initiative. Please join us in welcoming Sam, who will be stepping into the role of Research Program Manager.

Picture of Sam on a boat

About Sam:

Sam Filipenko, MPH (he/him) is a non-Indigenous person of White-settler ancestry. He was born and raised on unceded and occupied Musqueam territory, but spent the last decade living and working in Tkaronto (Toronto) – the traditional territories of many nations, including the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat. Sam obtained a Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Public Health degree in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences from the University of Toronto. He has significant experience working in applied Indigenous research – previously focusing on evaluating and improving Indigenous cultural safety in urban healthcare settings. Sam is committed to transforming research practices and policies to encompass the priorities, experiences, and protocols of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and he firmly believes that we all hold a piece to the puzzle in making research environments more equitable.

Get in touch with Sam if you need…

  • Support services to engage Indigenous partners with respect, reciprocity, and mutual understanding
  • Help applying culturally appropriate administrative practices, like the Indigenous Financial Guidelines
  • Advice on how to incorporate Indigenous data sovereignty and ethics into your research projects
  • More knowledge about the historical and contemporary impacts of colonialism and anti-Indigenous racism in academic settings

Short Q&A:

We sat down with Sam to ask him a few questions about his background and goals for the role:

1. What inspired you to join the UBC Indigenous Research Support Initiative (IRSI)?

I was inspired to join IRSI after learning about their transformative mandate to shift the research culture across UBC campuses. As a non-Indigenous person of White-settler ancestry, I feel a responsibility to push the status quo in academic institutions to make them safer places for Indigenous people to engage in research.

2. Can you share a bit about your background and how it relates to your role as Research Program Manager at IRSI?

In my role as Research Program Manager, I draw heavily on my experiences working at the Well Living House – an Indigenous-led research centre affiliated with the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital. I am filled with gratitude for the many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people who modeled how to do research in a good way. It was my honor to work on projects related to cultural safety in urban health care spaces, and I bring the lessons of humility, respect, and honesty to the work that I do at IRSI.

3. As a newcomer to the IRSI team, what are some of your initial impressions of the organization, its culture, and its vision for the future?

IRSI is a place of great vision and direction. The work that has been done to receive our mandate from Indigenous leaders and community members makes me feel grounded in providing researchers with appropriate support services that improve UBC’s partnership practices with Indigenous communities.

We are thrilled to have Sam join our team at IRSI! With his experience and dedication to supporting Indigenous research, he brings immense value to our organization, and we look forward to seeing his contributions to our program and to the communities we serve.