Connections >> February 2013

25 February 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

MSFHR People

New swine flu strain unlikely to cause pandemic

Working closely with stakeholders, MSFHR is moving forward on the development of a provincial health research strategy — a project manager is now in place and an advisory board will be named by the end of June.

Following a meeting in late April that brought together representatives from the Ministry of Health (MoH),  BC’s health authorities, research-intensive universities, and health authority research institutes for preliminary discussion about a health research strategy for BC, participants agreed MSFHR should work with stakeholders to facilitate the development of a provincial health research strategy.

MSFHR seeking applications for projects supporting Seniors Action Plan

MSFHR is requesting applications for two projects that will support the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the BC Ministry of Health’s Seniors Action Plan. As an initial component of a more comprehensive program, these research projects will address priority evidence needs related to the ministry’s mandate to modernize and renew BC’s home and community care system.

The two projects are:

  • A study of existing best practices of seniors’ home-based care and support in New Zealand, Australia and Japan
  • A cost-effectiveness study (including quality of life) of Better at Home, a non-medical home support program

Applications are due April 3. An information webinar for interested applicants will be held March 5. Please contact Cindy Soules ( for information on how to join the webinar.

Full application details are available on MSFHR’s website.

Shaping a consultation plan for BC health research strategy and SPOR

Since our last update on the health research strategy in November, MSFHR has submitted a document to the Ministry of Health intended to inform the further development of BC’s health research strategy. The document included background information on the status of investments and impact of health research in BC, and future strategic directions and actions.

Based on the framework outlined in this document, MSFHR is now moving forward with the development of a consultation strategy to help validate and refine the five strategic directions that formed the basis of the document.

Now accepting nominations for 2013 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize

MSFHR is pleased to open nominations for the fourth annual Aubrey J. Tingle Prize and Lecture.

This prize, valued at $10,000, is given to a British Columbia clinician scientist or scholar practitioner whose work in health research is internationally recognized and has significant impact on advancing clinical or health services and policy research — as well as its uptake — to improve health and the health system in BC and globally. The prize winner will present at an MSFHR event to be scheduled later in 2013.

Deadline for nominations is March 29.

MSFHR website survey still open

Thanks to all those who have taken the time to complete our survey on the new MSFHR website. We’ve received lots of great feedback that will help us optimize the site for everyone, whether you’re searching for new funding opportunities, learning about MSFHR programs and initiatives, or keeping up to date on BC health research news.

If you haven’t completed the survey yet, we’re still eager to hear your feedback. Let us know what you think.

Research Roundup

  • Dr. Michael Law
    Canadian households spent nearly $20 billion on health care in 2009, including $5.9 billion on private insurance premiums, according to a new analysis by Dr. Michael Law (2011 Scholar) and colleagues at UBC’s Centre for Health Services Policy and Research. The study found spending on health insurance premiums has increased 53 percent since 1998 and is now the single largest out-of-pocket expense facing Canadians.>> Read more
  • Dr. Jessica Tracy
    The body language of recovering alcoholics can provide clues to predict the likelihood of a relapse, according to new research led by Dr. Jessica Tracy (2008 Scholar). Tracy and colleagues found individuals displaying shame — characterized by physical signs such as slumped shoulders — were more likely to return to binge drinking than those who did not exhibit signs of shame. The researchers also observed a correlation between the degree of shame shown in interviews and the number of drinks consumed in subsequent binges.>> Read more
  • Dr. Filip Van Petegem
    With the aid of a synchrotron — a powerful particle accelerator — Dr. Filip Van Petegem (2008 Scholar) and UBC colleagues have developed a visualization of arrhythmia that reveals how genetic mutations disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm. Calcium is essential to the heart’s function, but the pathway by which it reaches the heart can be destabilized by mutations to a key protein-releasing gene. The model developed by Van Petegem’s team, presented recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference, has the potential to help find ways of stabilizing the calcium pathway and preventing arrhythmia-related conditions.>> Read more
  • Dr. Janet Werker
    Babies raised in bilingual households are able to distinguish between different languages using cues such as the pitch and duration of sounds, according to new research co-led by Dr. Janet Werker (former Research Advisory Council chair; Child and Youth Developmental Trajectories Research Unit member). The study, presented recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference, argues against the notion that bilingual infants face disadvantages in language development by providing evidence of babies’ capacity to learn multiple languages easily.>> Read more

MSFHR People

  • Drs. Samuel Aparicio and Torsten Nielsen
    MSFHR congratulates Dr. Samuel Aparicio (former Research Advisory Council member; Model Systems and Cancer Therapeutics research unit member) and Dr. Torsten Nielsen (2003 Scholar; 2008 Senior Scholar) on receiving UBC Killam Faculty Research Prizes. The $5,000 prizes are awarded annually to up to 10 full-time UBC faculty members in recognition of outstanding research and scholarly contributions.>> Read more
  • Dr. Clyde Hertzman
    The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research is saddened by the recent death of Dr. Clyde Hertzman, a leading member of BC’s health research community.Hertzman, a professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health, was internationally recognized for his research in early childhood learning and development. From 2004 to 2009, he served as leader of the MSFHR-funded Child and Youth Developmental Trajectories Research Unit. He also sat on the advisory board of Population Data BC, helping to advocate better access to data for BC health researchers.

    >> Read more