Past Project Abstracts and Reports

In this report we apply concepts from science, technology and society studies (STS) as a means of identifying and addressing issues and challenges which arise with the movement of genomics research from discovery environments (the bench) to the bedside (implementation as part of personalized medicine). Starting with concepts from STS, we explored socio-technical issues related to data integration and other challenges in this highly interdisciplinary field. Data were collected using social science methods such as ethnographic studies of two pre-clinical genomic labs and in-depth interviews with stakeholders and researchers in the genomics community. Analysis of data was supported by the use of qualitative data analysis software, which allowed our team to use systematic methods to develop insights about the challenges that arise in moving discoveries from the pre-clinical environment to the bedside.

Our goal is to develop knowledge about the work environment of patrollers at [redacted] and their current work practices, as well as the kind of information that is collected, in order to offer informed recommendations about potential changes that can be made to standard operating procedures, formwork and information management technologies, maximizing guest safety and improving efficiency of operations using data. We have undertaken this work as part of our larger interest in improving data about the effectiveness of interventions administered prior to arrival in hospitals, which in turn is being undertaken in order to improve our scientific understanding of health outcomes associated with prehospital care. Findings reported here pertain only to operations at [redacted], which has graciously allowed us to observe first responders and speak to other staff members about data collection and management challenges related to collection of data about on-hill incidents. In order to support better quality and continuity of care, we are committed, as researchers, to finding ways to make the work of first responders related to data collection and handling easier and more efficient. Keeping this in mind, we suggest pilot testing any changes and making changes to plans as necessary to ensure that any changes introduced truly do support staff in carrying out their work. 

Dr. Ellen Balka serves as a co-investigator for the Best Practices for Coordinated Health Promotion and Health Services in Midlife project

Project Objectives:

Greater integration of preventive and clinical care, and of the formal health care systems with informal and self-care in the community, based on evidence-based planning, decision making, and resource allocation.

The following statements outline principles intended to assist decision making and research planning as we work to realize our vision and mission.

  1. Local partnerships to build better research and practice knowledge development and application
  2. Accelerate development and implementation of best practices within our partner communities, with cross-cutting initiatives to expand our knowledge base about best practices
  3. Work towards theory-based and tested integrated health information systems which include personal, social networks, clinical, and population health variables
  4. Create a learning and training organization that prepares research producers and research consumers to work closely together towards improved health for Canadians
  5. Maintain a focus on health in midlife and how (a) healthy lifestyles, (b) patterns of care (self, informal, and formal), and (c) health status (including quality of life with its physical, mental, emotional, and social health dimensions) change over time with aging
  6. Invest in communications, knowledge management, and diffusion as an ongoing, organizing, and facilitating process

There are three components to the Best Health Practices in Midlife Project: the Coordinating Centre, the Cardiovascular Health Best Practices Project and Promoting Action Towards Health.

Dr. Ellen Balka serves as an Academic Mentor for the PCHR training program

The PCHR  training program is structured to act like a powerful magnet that attracts exceptional mentors and learners from across Canada and internationally to generate solutions to immediate problems in the health sector.

PCHR's most unique and innovative feature is the creation of community-based learning environments that complement formal coursework. This approach means shared learning across diverse university and community target groups through problem-based teamwork on actual community research priorities.

The three target learner groups are graduate students from multiple disciplines and programs, transdisciplinary postdoctoral fellows, and community program managers/learners/policy makers.