Charlotte Waddell

Health policy and industrial math chairs named

June 14, 2007

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Two leading researchers, one a specialist in the development of children’s health policy and the other an industrial mathematician who takes math to the marketplace, are SFU’s newest Canada Research Chairs (CRC).

Fadil Santosa, currently at the University of Minnesota, will hold the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada CRC in industrial mathematics, a seven-year, Tier 1 senior chair worth $1.4 million.

Charlotte Waddell, who heads the Children’s Health Policy Centre based at SFU’s Vancouver campus, will be the Canadian Institute for Health Research CRC in children’s health policy. This is a Tier 2 appointment worth $500,000.

Santosa says math is industry’s secret weapon, used from the bar code on your box of cereal to planning an investment strategy, to treating disease. One of his latest projects will help treat arterial fibrillation, a potentially deadly heart disease effecting three out of five people over the age of 65.

Santosa is refining a device that takes detailed heart measurements and then, using complex mathematical equations, provides real-time images of the heart’s electrical activity. He is also using applied mathematics to improve manufacturing of computer chips and is collaborating on a new, more accurate bar code scanner.

Waddell (left) says about 800,000 Canadian children suffer from serious mental health problems and most remain untreated despite existing, effective intervention programs. As a result, their problems often persist into adulthood with related health costs exceeding $14 billion.

Working with policy makers and public groups, Waddell will seek more effective ways to reach children earlier in life. She’ll also ask why proven, cost-effective approaches such as parenting programs are not used much more widely.

SFU has received funding for 36 CRCs since the 2000 launch of the federal government program, designed to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising researchers for Canadian universities.

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