Improving the implementation and impact of evidence-based health promotion interventions in real world settings

Findings from health promotion research that could help Canadians live healthy lifestyles are often not applied in practice. This gap between health promotion research and health promotion practice is particularly concerning for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Despite people with SCI's urgent need for interventions that respect their unique challenges and barriers to health behaviour change, there are very few health promotion interventions designed for people with SCI. To ensure health promotion research improves the health of all Canadians, there is an urgent need to improve the use of health promotion research in practice.

The aim of this five-year knowledge translation research program is to examine methods for improving the use of health promotion research in real-world practice. Given the lack of health promotion interventions for people with SCI, this research program will examine how we can improve the use of health promotion evidence to enhance the health of people living with SCI. 

Dr. Gainforth will examine how successful and unsuccessful practitioners apply health promotion techniques when promoting healthy behaviours to people with SCI and develop the first evidence-based guidelines, tools and interventions to improve knowledge translation partnerships between researchers and members of the SCI community. Lessons learned from practitioners will be used to develop and test tools and interventions to help other practitioners successfully promote healthy behaviours to people with SCI.

Ultimately, this research will develop best practices for building capacity among researchers and community members to conduct and share research in partnership. In turn, findings and the approach can support other research teams aiming to use partnerships to conduct and share research that enhances the health of marginalized groups.

Breaking the link between obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease using a translational experimental approach

Previous research by Dr. Foster has illustrated that angiotensin receptor blockade can abolish the blood pressure response to intermittent hypoxia (IH), reduce oxidative stress and increase nitric oxide bioavailability. In addition, recent work suggests heightened peripheral neurovascular transduction in response to baroreflex activation.

Building on this work, over the next 5 years Dr. Foster will focus on the cardiovascular consequences of IH associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Since OSA and IH directly contribute to the morbidity and mortality of hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke, there is an urgent need to establish a treatment capable of protecting OSA patients from IH-induced cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Dr. Foster's research will elucidate the mechanisms by which AT1R antagonists or statins could protect OSA patients from IH-induced CVD. By breaking the link between CVD and OSA, and capitalizing on the pleiotropic properties of angiotensin receptor blockers and statins, this research is ultimately intended to generate a novel treatment. This knowledge will provide the necessary proof of concept for large-scale clinical trials, and will help reduce stress on health care infrastructure and improve the health, quality of life and longevity of Canadians.

Rationing in health care

Limited health care resources require organizations to have mechanisms for making funding decisions. Decision makers, however, may not be familiar with tools to assist in maximizing resources. Decision makers also face organizational constraints and other challenges that counter the use of priority setting tools. This award supports the development of a team that will bring together two leading-edge, BC-based research programs on priority setting and resource allocation in health care, while also tapping into other related research areas. The team’s overall aim is to develop a plan that will establish BC as the international lead on research in health care priority setting. The team will structure activities around a series of interactive decision maker-researcher forums addressing key areas for development in health care priority setting.

BC Southern Interior Health Services Research Team (BCSIHSR)

The BCSIHSR plans to focus on research to improve the range and quality of services provided to the frail elderly in the Central Okanagan sub-region of Interior Health, where more than 20 per cent of the population is 65 or older. The Team’s research program includes evaluating the costs and quality of services currently provided within Interior Health; developing and implementing an evidence-based decision-making process to reallocate resources among program options; and evaluating outcomes, including quality of care measures. This award funds a program of four workshops to help BCSIHSR develop research capacity, identify research priorities, refine approaches and methods, and prepare funding applications.