We are happy to announce that the recipient of the 2020 Marie-Victorin Excellence Award is Michael Rapinski, a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Alain Cuerrier.
The overall goal of his doctoral degree is to understand the role of local medicines and diets in the management of diabetes, predominant amongst Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Extensive field work in Quebec (North America) and French Guiana (South America) have shown a disconnect between healthcare workers and healthcare users regarding the use of natural resources, such as plants, to fight diabetesin Indigenous communities. Although this contributes to current dietary and lifestyle changes that increase the risk of diabetes, medicinal and dietary plant use and knowledge remain relevant to diabetics.Ultimately, results from this study should lead to an increased valorisation of local practices in diabetes treatment in Indigenous communities.
Starting with his masters and moving on to his doctorate with Dr. Alain Cuerrier, Michel began his studies in the interdisciplinary field of ethnobiology at the IRBV in 2010. From his early beginnings, approaching diabetes and plant use through the lens of pharmacology phytochemistry, he has increasingly incorporated elements of ethnology and anthropology. Michel now blends qualitative and quantitative methods, notably applying multivariate statistical methods developed in ecology to analyse thematically oriented conversations on health, healing and medicines.