Research Nova Scotia grants support new perspectives for a healthier future

The following article was originally posted by Dalhousie News.

To kickstart research innovation with the potential to improve health care in the province, Research Nova Scotia (RNS) has awarded close to $1 million in New Health Investigator Grants to 10 Dalhousie researchers.

The funding goes to scholars at the outset of their careers to establish and expand projects that promise to help solve some of our toughest health care challenges. Grant recipients will grapple with urgent issues, including the impacts of COVID-19, emergency room use, equity in access to services, our aging population, and leading causes of death like cancer and kidney disease.

“This early-stage funding is incredibly important for getting new innovations and careers off the ground. Researchers build their impact over time. It starts with a brilliant idea, but that idea can only flourish with the appropriate support. Strategic funding like this ensures ideas turn into innovations that improve and extend lives,” says Dr. Alice Aiken, Dalhousie’s vice president, research and innovation.

Recipient and Faculty of Health researcher Dr. Shanon Phelan focuses on understanding and improving the inclusion and belonging of young people with disabilities and their families. She says the funding is empowering her to bring benefits to the broader community.

“This award has created an opportunity for me to lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers and youth co-researchers focused on gaining insights into social inclusion for children experiencing disability to improve and promote health, well-being, and inclusion in all aspects of community and cultural life,” she says.

Funding for New Health Investigator Grants is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. Recipients received between $47,125 and $100,000.

“Improving healthcare is a priority in our province and we are confident these recipients’ work will inform practice, policy, and decision making to positively impact Nova Scotians’ health,” says Stefan Leslie, CEO of RNS.

Meet the Dalhousie recipients of the New Health Investigator funding and learn more about their research.

Rebecca Affoo, Faculty of Health

Project: The Impact of Oral Health and Communication on the Ability of Older Nova Scotians to Live Well in the Community

Nichole Austin, Faculty of Health

Project: Evaluating the impact of Nova Scotia’s shifting coverage for assisted reproduction

Cindy Feng, Faculty of Medicine

Project: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health and Health Service Utilization in Nova Scotia: Reducing Health Disparities and Promoting Equity in Accessing Mental Health and Addiction Care Services

Kelvin Fong, Faculty of Science

Project: Elucidating the Role of the Environment in Health Inequalities

Ruth Lavergne, Faculty of Medicine

Project: A thousand papercuts: Understanding and addressing changing administrative workload in primary care

Shanon Phelan, Faculty of Health

Project: Promoting Health and Well-being of Children experiencing Disability through Inclusion in Child Culture

Richard Spence, Faculty of Medicine

Project: Leveraging emerging digital health technology to implement the International Consortium for Health Outcome Measurement (ICHOM) standard set of value-based patient-centered outcomes for colorectal cancer: the Nova Scotian CRC Collaborative

Jocelyn Stairs, Faculty of Medicine

Project: Factors affecting risk of obstetrical anal sphincter injury and its consequences in Nova Scotia

Amanda Vinson, Faculty of Medicine

Project: Differences in healthcare provider perception of frailty in male and female patients with end-stage kidney disease and impact on kidney transplant referral

JianLi Wang, Faculty of Medicine

Project: Predicting emergency department visits and hospitalization among the clients of Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addiction central intake assessment