Connections >> August 2013

22 August 2013

Connections is MSFHR's monthly e-newsletter. Each issue highlights the top MSFHR news from the past month and showcases the impact of research we've funded.

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In this issue:


Research Roundup

Trainee awards help advance KT science

With the 2013 Research Trainee funding competition, MSFHR introduced an important new element to its support for research capacity in British Columbia.

For the first time, Trainee awards were granted to researchers exploring projects specifically related to the study of knowledge translation as an academic discipline.

Of the 59 recipients of Trainee awards, three were funded to pursue research that will help advance the translation of research evidence into clinical practice and bridge the gap between discovery and implementation. Through this funding opportunity, MSFHR aims to support researchers to better understand the theories, mechanisms, concepts, and methods by which evidence is used in health care practice and policy.

Consensus growing around gaps and actions for BC health research strategy

Consensus is emerging among members of the BC health research community around the actions and research gaps that could be addressed by a provincial health research strategy.

This finding is among the conclusions drawn from a new report summarizing responses to a recent online survey seeking feedback on the strategy’s development as well as feedback received from a series of regional workshops.

The survey report indicates broad support among BC health research stakeholders for the provincial-level actions identified in previous consultation phases. The development of an accessible and robust data platform emerged as the highest priority overall and was rated highly by all stakeholder groups. Other priorities included: a provincial mechanism to support evidence-based decision-making, a provincial forum for ongoing dialogue, and a harmonized ethics review process.

Support was similarly strong for the research program gaps identified to date, with five emerging as top priorities:

  • Research programs that focus on health promotion and disease prevention
  • Programs that support implementation of research evidence into practice or policy
  • Complex problem-based research programs involving researchers from different disciplines as well as research users
  • Programs that support health professional involvement in research
  • Targeted research on health issues of priority to BC

The survey report is complemented by a summary of discussions from regional consultation workshops that took place this summer in each of BC’s health authorities. Qualitative data from these face-to-face workshops reinforce and complement many of the online survey’s quantitative findings.  The regional workshops have also provided important nuance to various issues and concerns that are more relevant in certain regions than in others.

Workshop participants see the provincial health research strategy serving a number of common objectives, including:

  • To provide or support a common foundational infrastructure
  • To improve system coherence and collaboration
  • To create a positive culture of inquiry and innovation
  • To increase awareness and assist with linking of research priorities, activities and findings
  • To develop, improve and spread new competencies in research literacy and knowledge translation

Expressions of Interest sought for SPOR SUPPORT Unit

As the next stage in the development of its application for a provincial research service centre under CIHR’s national Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), MSFHR will be working with multiple stakeholders on the development of BC’s business plan for a SUPPORT Unit.

A call for expressions of interest (EOI) was issued in late July 2013, and invites individuals, teams, and organizations from across the health research and health care sectors to participate in the unit and the development of the business plan.

An interim governing council of senior BC health and research leaders will oversee its development.

The Foundation has contracted Steven Lewis as lead writer of BC’s SUPPORT Unit business plan, and he will be reaching out to various stakeholders to coordinate its production, with an anticipated completion in late 2013/early 2014.

Those wishing to submit an EOI must complete the registration form by September 4, 2013. Full EOI submissions are due September 30, 2013.

Research Roundup

  • Jean-Sébastien Blouin
    A robot designed by Dr. Jean-Sébastien Blouin and UBC colleagues is helping to reveal the mechanisms through which people are able to maintain balance while standing. By understanding how healthy people balance, Blouin hopes to develop better treatment and rehabilitation strategies for patients with balance problems.

    >> Vancouver Sun

  • Gillian Hanley & Patricia Janssen
    Newborn sizing charts fail to account for the impact of ethnicity on birth size and result in misclassification of babies as undersized, according to new research led by Dr. Gillian Hanley and Dr. Patricia Janssen. The study found that when differences in ethnicity were taken into account, many babies classified as undersized were in fact healthy.

    >> Vancouver Sun

  • Wendy Norman
    Women in rural BC have less access to abortion services than those who live in larger urban areas, according to a new study led by Dr. Wendy Norman. Norman’s research found the number of rural abortion providers declined more than 60 per cent between 2000 and 2010.

    >> The Globe and Mail
    >> National Post
  • Elizabeth Saewyc
    Gay-straight alliances in high schools help to reduce risky behaviour such as binge drinking, according to a new study led by Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc. The study, published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that the support and connection created through such alliances helps to mitigate negative health impacts of bullying, including alcohol and substance abuse.

    >> Vancouver Sun
    >> Georgia Straight

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