Connections >> August 2015

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Latest MSFHR News


MSFHR to serve as research partner on two CIHR-funded studies

MSFHR was well represented in the recent announcement of a $600-million federal investment in Canadian health research.

Not only did 46 past or current MSFHR awardees receive grants through CIHR's Foundation Scheme and Transitional Open Operating Grant competitions (see next story), but MSFHR itself will serve as a research partner on two funded projects.

The Foundation is named as a knowledge user partner on a program of research led by Dr. Ian Graham (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute) to advance the science of integrated knowledge translation research. MSFHR will also act as a knowledge mediator on a program led by Dr. Pascale Lehoux (Université de Montréal) focused on designing technologies for sustainable health care systems.

MSFHR's involvement relates directly to our strategic focus on increasing the health system's responsiveness to priority issues. By supporting these research initiatives, we will help build capacity in BC and across Canada for using research evidence in policy and practice.

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BC researchers receive $77M in CIHR funding

The strength of British Columbia's health research community is evident in the recently announced results of two major CIHR funding competitions.

BC researchers collectively received more than $77 million in grants awarded through the Foundation Scheme 1st Live Pilot and Transitional Open Operating Grant competitions. The awards, announced publicly by federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose on July 28, will invest more than $600 million across Canada to carry out a wide spectrum of innovative projects and programs of research.

Past and present MSFHR award holders were well represented in the results of both competitions. In the Foundation Scheme competition, all 21 successful BC applicants have an MSFHR connection, including 19 who have held Scholar awards. Twenty-five of the 45 BC-based Operating Grant recipients are MSFHR awardees.

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Enhancing palliative care in nursing practice

Three quarters of British Columbians who die are not identified as people who could benefit from services associated with palliative care. iPANEL, a BC Nursing Research Initiative, is working to change that by studying how a palliative approach can be integrated into every care setting.

Two recently completed iPANEL research projects explored educational and knowledge-sharing techniques to support greater use of palliative care in nursing practice. One study sought to address the problem of how to best prepare nurses and health care assistants in rural areas to provide palliative care. The second study aimed to synthesize knowledge from the nursing literature about how palliative care can be integrated into practice and apply these findings to the BC health context.

Summary reports from these projects are now available. 

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BC SUPPORT Unit submits revised business plan to CIHR for review

Meeting its end-of-July target, the BC SUPPORT Unit submitted a revised business plan to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) on July 29. In September, a BC SUPPORT Unit delegation will make a presentation about the revisions to the CIHR international adjudication panel that is reviewing the plan. After CIHR approves the business plan, the Unit will be able to begin operations.

The BC SUPPORT Unit is a multi-partner organization currently in its start-up phase preparing to support, streamline and increase patient-oriented research in BC.

As part of its start-up phase, the Unit is continuing to make additional preparations for operations. To learn more and to sign up to receive BC SUPPORT Unit updates, visit the Updates page. 

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MSFHR sponsors upcoming conferences

MSFHR is pleased to sponsor three events in September that will provide opportunities for researchers, policy makers, organizational leaders and others to come together and learn from each other in key areas affecting our health and health research systems today.

Canadian Academy of Health Sciences' 10th Annual Forum
The dementia challenge: Facing the rising tide by 2025. As this year's forum topic, the objectives are to present the current science and landscape on the impact of dementia; to explore prevention, care model and innovation strategies; and to develop the foundation for a CAHS major assessment to address the projected impact of dementia and potential solutions by 2025. Diane Finegood, MSFHR president & CEO, will be in attendance.

Network Leadership Symposium
Networks are used for many purposes, including supporting learning, leveraging organizational growth, building community capacity, encouraging cross sector planning or service delivery, sustaining connections during times of change, and supporting quality improvement. At this symposium, senior government, research, and organizational leaders from across Canada, the United States, and Europe will explore the role of inter-organizational networks in addressing critical policy issues and practice challenges. Bev Holmes, MSFHR vice-president, research & impact, is a member of the symposium steering committee.

International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Exchange World Conference
Mental health leaders from North America and around the world will come together to share knowledge and practice, giving participants an opportunity to benefit from each other's expertise, forge new ideas and improved services, and strengthen networks. This conference includes a significant patient-engagement component as people with lived experience are invited to participate. The opportunity to discuss with them what has worked and what needs improvement will help foster change that will have the most immediate, significant, and long-term impact on people's lives. Diane Finegood, MSFHR president & CEO, will be speaking at one of the plenary sessions. 

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MSFHR people

Stefan Grzybowski (2008 Scholar; 2005 Health of Population Networks) and Michael Klein (2006 Operating Grant) have been named to the Top 20 Pioneers of Family Research in Canada by The College of Family Physicians of Canada for their contributions to advancing health care in Canada and around the world. Dr. Grzybowski's work on the delivery of health services to people living in rural and remote communities and Dr. Klein's work in childbirth and maternal health, and specifically routine episiotomies, are being recognized as part of the college's 20th Anniversary of its Section of Researchers.

Blair Leavitt (2007 Scholar), Amber Southwell (2011 Trainee) and Michael Hayden (2011 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize; 2003 Research Unit), in collaboration with colleagues from the Mayo Clinic, have developed a drug that could potentially slow the progression of Huntington's disease. The ASO-HTT drug will go to clinical trials later this month in Vancouver and has already been met with an overwhelming number of interested participants. This study was published in Scientific Reports.

A UBC research team that includes Gareth Lim (2009 Trainee), James Johnson (2004 Scholar), and Susanne Clee (2008 Scholar) has found a gene that could be a cause of obesity. The gene is found in every cell of the body and produces the protein 14-3-3zeta. When this protein was "silenced" during mice experimentation, the team discovered a 50 percent reduction in unhealthy white fat, despite all mice having eaten the same amount of food. Though still in its early stages, this discovery could be the first step in coming up with a drug therapy to suppress or block the protein, and as a result, reduce fat accumulation in obese people. This study was published in Nature Communications.

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