A Holistic Approach to Aboriginal Health Research

Debbie Martin (left) and Heather Castleden

Debbie Martin (left) and Heather Castleden

Debbie Martin (Health and Human Performance) and Heather Castleden (School for Resource and Environmental Studies) are co-principal investigators with the Atlantic Aboriginal Health Research Program (AAHRP), based at Dalhousie and the Millbrook First Nation in Truro.  They are taking a holistic approach to Aboriginal health research, working with communities across the region to address their needs.  To learn more about their work, read the DalNews story.

Dr. Michael Ungar awarded Killam Chair

Dr. Michael Ungar

Dr. Michael Ungar

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Ungar (Social Work) on being awarded the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Chair.  The Killam Chairs are awarded to academics of the highest distinction at Dalhousie with appointments of up to five years.  Dr. Ungar was recognized as one of the most productive researchers in social work in Canada in the area of child and youth resilience, having made remarkable contributions as a researcher, policy advisor and clinician.  Dr. Ungar is also the director of research for the Resilience Research Centre, an international partnership based at Dalhousie that was recently invited to become an institutional member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

Obesity, Children, and Sport Experiences

Dr. Laurene Rehman

Dr. Laurene Rehman

Congratulations to Dr. Laurene Rehman, School of Health and Human Performance, on being awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada/Sport Canada research grant in the amount of $136,571 over three years.  Her research will focus on children with chronic illnesses and their participation in recreational sports.  The study will look at some of the barriers these children face and the impact that coaches have on their experiences.

Congratulations – Dr. David Westwood

Congratulations to Dr. David Westwood (Health and Human Performance) on being appointed as a member on the Biological Systems and Functions Evaluation Group at NSERC for a three year term ending June 30, 2014. 

NSERC’s success in supporting university research in science and engineering depends on the voluntary participation of members of the research community in its peer review process.  The process is highly regarded by the research community and its credibility is linked to the participation of some of the best – and busiest – researchers from all sectors.  Congratulations David!

Student Successes

Congratulations to the following students who have received funding awards:

  • Tarra Penney (Health Promotion) has received a CIHR Banting Scholarship award for $17,500 and a CIHR fellowship in Population Intervention for Chronic Disease Prevention, for one year.
  • Becky Spencer (Health Promotion) has received a CIHR Fellowship in Population Intervention for Chronic Disease Prevention for $17,850 for one year.
  • Michelle Poirier (Health Promotion) has received an FGS NS Black and First Nations Graduate Scholarship for $15,000.

Congratulations also go out to Dr. Sara Kirk (HHP) who is the proud supervisor of all these students.

Research Congratulations – Dr. Grace Johnston

Congratulations to Dr. Grace Johnston (Health Administration) and her co-principal investigator, Robin Urquhart (Cancer Care Nova Scotia) on receiving a $57,475 Breast Cancer Society of Canada/QEII Foundation Award for Breast Cancer Research, through the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute for their project “Supportive Care for Women with Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC-SC).” 

Over the next ten years, more than 3,000 women living with advanced breast cancer willl need supportive care.  Using a participatory action research process, the project will bring together a group of innovative, young researchers with experienced cancer researchers to communicate and collaborate on their research to improve supportive care for women with advanced breast cancer.  The impact of this research is expected to include: new insights and interventions by cancer patient navigators who screen for distress; a framework for guidelines for pain and other symptom control using medications; development of a study of physical activity; greater understanding  of factors that influence the likelihood of receving supportive cancer care including the impact of having diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease, living in a rural area, minority culture status, and socio-demographic factors; data to demonstrate the importance of listening to the views of next of kin; and an analysis of the type and extent of costs of supportive cancer care.

The team of co-investigators include Judith Fisher (Pharmacy), David Haardt (Health Administration), Janice Howes (Psychiatry), Melanie Keats (Health and Human Performance), Jennifer Payne (Diagnostic Radiology and Community Health and Epidemiology), Fred Burge (Family Medicine), Geoff Porter (Surger), Daniel Rayson (Medicine) and Tallal Younis (Medicine).

Meeting Our Health Care Needs

Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy (Bruce Bottomley photo)

As co-lead of a team with Ivy Bourgeault of the University of Ottawa and Morris Barer of the University of British Columbia, Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy (Nursing) secured $600,000 over the next three years for the Pan Canadian Health Human Resources Network (CHHRN); one of only two networks funded under the most recent Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Network Catalyst Grant competition. To learn more, read the DalNews story.

Higlighting NELS ICE Successes

Over the past five years, NELS ICE has carried out research to improve access to care for persons at end of life.  An Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) grant of $820,000 from CIHR provided support for nine end of life research project streams.  To celebrate the success of the NELS ICE, an event is being held:

“Highlighting NELS ICE Successes”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bethune Ballroom, VG Site

The event will feature poster and oral presentations that showcase NELS ICE Projects:

·        Heather Castleden – “Aboriginal People at the End of Life.”

·        Judith Fisher – “NS Prescription Monitoring Program”

·        Alix Carter and Rebecca Earle – “Pediatric Advanced Care Directives”

·        Fred Burge and Bev Lawson – “Mortality Follow Back Study”

·        Jan Jensen – “A Novel Paramedic Long Term Care Program.”

·        Graeme Rocker – “INSPIRED”

·        “Ideas for Further Development and Sustainability” facilitated by Allan Kellehear

For further details, please visit the NELS ICE Website.


Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies

Dr. Jean Hughes

Dr. Jean Hughes

Dr. Jean Hughes (Nursing) in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Nova Scotia Division, was recently awarded 3.1 million dollars to support a mental health project for school-aged children.  The funding will be used in further developing, implementing and evaluating the CMHA’s “Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATH)” Program.  As part of the “Improving the Emotional and Social Health of Children in their Community: Implications for Population Health” project, this school-based initiative aims to help children improve their social relations, problem solving skills and academic performance.  The project targets children aged 6 to 12, as well as parents, teachers and community partners and will be implemented in schools across Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta.

“Helping to equip children with the ability to deal with difficult situations goes a long way toward improving their mental health” said Dr. Hughes.  “It is also important that we help increase awareness among parents, teachers and caregivers about children’s mental health issues and give them the ability to respond appropriately to emotional issues.”  Through the Declaration on Prevention and Promotion, Canada’s Ministers of Health have agreed to make health promotion a priority for action.  The Government of Canada is committed to working with partners, within and outside the health sector, to design and implement new approaches to promote the health and well-being of Canada’s children and youth.

Chair in Health Services Research

In June, Dr. Ingrid Sketris (College of Pharmacy) will complete a 10 year position as Chair in Health Services Research funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and co-sponsored by the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF).  Ingrid’s chair is one of 12 created across Canada, but is the only one in Atlantic Canada and the only one in pharmaceutical policy.  Through the Inititative for Medication Management, Policy Analysis, Research and Training (IMPART) which she founded in 1993 and her CHSRF/CIHR Chair, along with ongoing support from NSHRF and the College of Pharmacy, Ingrid established the Drug Use Management Policy and Residency Program that embedded its trainees in decision maker organizations (often government) to work jointly on negotiated projects.  Cheryl Doiron, who was Associate Deputy and then Deputy Minister of Health in Nova Scotia – a former member of Ingrid’s advisory board who now serves with Ingrid on the Health Council of Canada said of Ingrid:  “I never met an academic/researcher who has been more effective at forming excellent relationships at all levels: colleagues, student, administration, government, etc…She has an uncanny ability to facilitate the translation of research and knowledge into workable public policy.”  Ingrid launched her Chair report at Dalhousie on March 31, 2011 following the annual conference on the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research held in Halifax (May 9-12), which she co-chaired.  On Thursday, May 12, 2011 – a motion was read in the House by the Honorable Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness, recognizing the contribution of Health Services Research at Dalhousie and thanking Dr. Ingrid Sketris for her committment and leadership in this area for the past 10 years. 

Congratulations and thank you Ingrid from all of us on your truly outstanding accomplishments!