After completing an undergraduate degree in geography and women's studies at Queen's University, Jennifer Jones travelled north fuelled by a drive for adventure and curiosity about people and the place they call home. For over 20 years, Jen has lived and worked around the Yukon, focusing on capacity development and community engagement. Jen's strong connection to the place she calls home is built on diverse experiences: living off-grid and learning to wire a cabin with 12 volts, embracing the chaos and magic of theatre, and working with Yukon First Nations' health and social departments in rural parts of the territory. Jen's return to school to obtain a master's of public health from the University of Alaska Anchorage resulted from her observing the disconnect between what is known and understood by Northern communities and what is asked of Northern communities by southern policies and funders.
Jen's awareness of the limitations of conventional governance and assessment frameworks similarly inspired her return to complete a doctorate at the University of Guelph. There, she seeks to conceptualize pathways between the legacies of colonialism and contemporary Indigenous health and well-being in the context of a mine development. Jen argues that assessing well-being in the context of mine development must consider issues of trust between Indigenous peoples, government, and developers. This trust has a history embedded in Indigenous experiences with colonialism and assimilation policies.
As a University of Alaska Anchorage alumna, Jen was inducted into the Delta Omega Honor Society in recognition of her research and her service to public health. Jen currently co-chairs the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Participatory Research. She has also published on participants' perspectives of the ability of a health impact assessment to consider the complexities and nuances of health and well-being.