Ruth Lavergne, principal investigator for one of three Health Sciences research projects recently awarded CIHR funding

Millions awarded to inspiring Health Sciences research

March 07, 2018

By Phoebe Melvin

The Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU punches above its weight when it comes to successfully competing for peer-reviewed health research funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant Program. Not only did the FHS’ 33% success rate surpass the national success rate of 15%, the Faculty of Health Sciences newly funded projects have potential for local, national and international impacts.

Associate Professor Scott Venners, in collaboration with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) will lead a four-year, $700,000 population health initiative that will train four Indigenous SFU graduate students in both population health research methods, and in public health and wellness practice at FNHA. These students will use valuable data gathered by the First Nations Regional Health Survey, as well as the First Nations Early Childhood, Education and Employment Survey. For the first time, this data will be used to study causal influences on health topics that are important to First Nations in BC to identify causes and effects which will enhance understanding, and improve health and wellness programming.

Assistant Professor Ruth Lavergne will lead a team of researchers, clinicians and policy makers in three provinces to examine how changes within the primary care physician workforce are contributing to access problems. This work aims to inform health services policy making to help patients access the care they need at a time when Canadians have trouble finding family doctors and getting appointments when they need them, despite there being more family doctors than ever before. Using interviews, surveys and health system data, this project will track changes in practice patterns over time and explore what values and preferences shape the practice plans and choices of doctors. This project received almost $1,250,000 over four years.

Lastly, a health services project to be run in partnership with the Vietnamese Government aims to improve mental health care for those suffering from depression in Vietnam, where help is mostly nonexistent. The study will follow up on a Grand Challenges Canada funded study to assess the effectiveness of a supported-self management intervention for affected individuals. The new study aims to identify drivers and barriers that impact the implementation of this intervention more widely in Vietnam. This research will lead to improved availability of depression treatment for people in Vietnam and will generate findings that will be important to other countries by providing information regarding the factors that impact scaling up mental health services. This research conducted by an SFU team led by John O’Neil has successfully secured a grant of approximately $950,000 over five years.

Congratulations Scott, John, Ruth and your research teams for these amazing achievements, and good luck!

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