Research Nova Scotia establishes a Centre of Excellence for Healthy Aging at Cape Breton University.

(Halifax, NS) Nova Scotia has the highest proportion of seniors in Canada. To further support research targeted at improving health care for older adults, Research Nova Scotia (RNS), in collaboration with the Department of Health and Wellness and Nova Scotia Health, is providing $700,000 to fund a research Centre of Excellence for Healthy Aging at Cape Breton University (CBU) in honour of Dr. Kenneth Rockwood.

“Research Nova Scotia and Dr. Rockwood share a vision for health research in which the work actively engages those on the front lines, including clinicians, patients, and families, to help improve the lives of Nova Scotians,” says Stefan Leslie, CEO of Research Nova Scotia. “Ken’s lifelong dedication to improving care for frail older adults and those living with dementia in Cape Breton, coupled with the growing School of Nursing at CBU, offers the ideal environment for this active and applied research agenda.”

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, recipient of the 2021 Ryman Prize, is contributing $25,000 from the Ryman prize money to catalyze this research program at CBU and promote whole-patient care for people living with frailty and/or dementia. Research Nova Scotia is contributing a total of $475,000 (of which $250,000 is from the Department of Health and Wellness), and Nova Scotia Health is contributing $200,000 through the Health Innovation Hub.

“The transition we need in routine healthcare is from the ‘one-thing-wrong-at-a-time’ disease management to the whole-patient care that people living with frailty and/or dementia require,” says Dr. Rockwood. “The transition to new models of routine care requires research and it needs innovation in daily healthcare practice. This is where nursing can make a leading contribution.”

CBU’s connection with the Eastern Zone of Nova Scotia Health creates diverse practice-learning opportunities for students specifically in rural, urban and Indigenous health specialties. Understanding what changes may be needed in nursing practice, for example, will require empirical evaluation of the products and processes of change. The focus of the Centre will be to catalyze research that promotes better health care of older adults, including when they are acutely ill, and will actively shape opportunities and expertise for both students and current professionals.

“By creating research centres of excellence, we can build on Nova Scotia’s strengths and assemble partners, experts, and end users to focus on challenges Nova Scotians face every day”, says Leslie. “This is another example of how research can help improve health care delivery and outcomes for Nova Scotians in real-time.”

Additional Quotes:

“Cape Breton University is thrilled to be partnering with Research Nova Scotia, the Department of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia Health, and Dr. Kenneth Rockwood on the Centre of Excellence for Healthy Aging. CBU is known for championing the Island’s prosperity, as well as fostering relationships for the improvement and benefit of the community in which we live and work. This collaboration will truly make meaningful and impactful changes on issues related to frailty and aging, specifically as it relates to elder care on Cape Breton Island. I am excited about the possibilities to come.”

The Honourable David Dingwall, President of Cape Breton University

“Nova Scotia Health is proud to be a partner in the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Healthy Aging at Cape Breton University, and support the outstanding research being conducted by Dr. Kenneth Rockwood. The Centre will help us discover innovative approaches to address frailty and dementia, and this investment will bring the best evidence to transform care for Nova Scotians and beyond.”

Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Discovery, and Chief Nurse Executive, Nova Scotia Health

“My heart-felt congratulations to Dr. Kenneth Rockwood for his prestigious award and a huge thank you for being part of this important research. We need research and innovative thinking to have an effective health system of the future. The Centre of Excellence for Healthy Aging has the potential to be at the forefront of healthcare.”

The Honourable Michelle Thompson, Minister of the Department of Health & Wellness

About Kenneth Rockwood:
Kenneth Rockwood lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Neurology and the Kathryn Allen Weldon Professor of Alzheimer Research at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is a staff internist and geriatrician, and the Senior Medical Director of the newly formed Frailty and Elder Care Network at Nova Scotia Health and is an Honorary Professor of Population Science and Experimental Medicine, University College, London.

About Research Nova Scotia:
Research Nova Scotia (RNS) is an independent, not-for-profit corporation with the mandate to support, organize and co-ordinate the funding of research for the benefit of Nova Scotians. RNS works to identify knowledge gaps in government, industry, and communities, and to bring together research projects and initiatives that address Nova Scotia’s biggest challenges

About Nova Scotia Health:
Nova Scotia Health provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services in the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada. Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub is transforming health care delivery to improve the health of all Nova Scotians. By conducting progressive research, developing and delivering innovative treatments, and generating new and innovative technologies with local partners, Nova Scotia Health is positioned to deliver high-impact health care solutions through strategic partnerships with clinical champions, industry, healthcare foundations, governments and academic partners.

About the Ryman Prize:
The Ryman Prize is administered by the Ryman Foundation. The annual prize consists of a $250,000 grant which is awarded by an international jury to the best invention, idea, research concept or initiative that has enhanced quality of life for older people. It is the world’s richest prize of its type and was established to create the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for people working in the field of the health of older people. The prize was launched in 2015 and has been awarded seven times.  See a full list of winners on the Ryman Foundation website.

Stephanie Reid
Director of Marketing & Communications
Research Nova Scotia
902.223.9450 |