Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatchewan Polytechnic receives $350K for healthcare research

Three Sask Polytech researchers receive Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Establishment Grants

July 14, 2022 – Three Saskatchewan Polytechnic researchers have received Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) Establishment Grants, each valued at $119,000. SHRF Establishment Grant funding attracts and retains early-career researchers who have the knowledge and expertise needed to build successful programs of research and bring further research funding to Saskatchewan from national and other funding agencies.

“This is the first time Saskatchewan Polytechnic has received SHRF Establishment Grants,” says Dr. Madeline Press, Sask Polytech Centre for Health Research, Innovation and Scholarship (CHRIS) director. “Congratulations to our three grant recipients! These grants will help Sask Polytech health researchers continue the excellent work they are doing in the areas of mental health, caregiver resources and older adult loneliness. Sask Polytech’s Centre for Health Research, Innovation and Scholarship continues to make a difference in healthcare research in Saskatchewan.”

“SHRF responds to the needs of Saskatchewan people by investing in research that aims to address our provincial health challenges,” says Patrick Odnokon, CEO, SHRF. “We are excited to see the applied research programs at Saskatchewan Polytechnic building capacity, and look forward to seeing the impact of this research continue in the future.”

Sask Polytech’s Establishment Grant recipients are Natasha Hubbard Murdoch, Heather Nelson and Michelle Pavloff. Each researcher has received $119,000 towards their applied research project.

A quarter of Saskatchewan people are caregivers for a significant other. Caregivers are invaluable to ensuring patients or residents remain and age at home in their community. Hubbard Murdoch’s research focuses on the caregiving experience. She is working towards understanding how caregiving works and how to create a sense of belonging and community for caregivers.  Many of them are supporting significant others living in the community who may require care from various health professionals. Hubbard Murdoch’s interprofessional team will co-construct knowledge translation initiatives to support such Saskatchewan caregivers.

In 2022, the United Nations shared the need for research focused on reducing loneliness among older adults. It is essential to examine ways to better support older adults, particularly those living in care facilities. Nelson’s research will examine if a weekly volunteer phone intervention with older adults living in personal care homes and assisted living facilities will reduce loneliness and improve moods. Older adults will be paired with volunteers and complete weekly 20-40-minute phone conversations for six months. Participants will complete surveys to measure their loneliness and moods.

Pavloff launched the Farmer and Rancher Mental Health (FARMh) applied research project in 2021 to study key features of a culture-friendly mental health support system for Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers. The long-term objective of this project is to develop a FARMh network. This network will be research-focused and will provide agricultural producers and their families with interventions to support their mental health. This network will also establish an ongoing program of research addressing mental health challenges, with a goal of making Saskatchewan a global leader in farmer and rancher mental health research.

“I would like to congratulate our CHRIS applied research team on these exciting funding announcements,” says Dr. Susan Blum, associate vice-president, Applied Research and Innovation. “These three SHRF Establishment Grant applied research projects will help find solutions to Saskatchewan health challenges and research questions. Our nursing and health science researchers are doing important and innovative work in Saskatchewan. Applied research at Sask Polytech is where ideas meet reality, delivering practical solutions to everyday problems.”

Sask Polytech’s CHRIS supports faculty in the School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing in achieving their scholarly development goals and aspirations. Through CHRIS faculty can access support for publication and presenting, grant and funding applications, and request in-service sessions on a variety of scholarly topics.

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Saskatchewan Polytechnic is signatory to the SDG Accord. Sustainable Development Goal alignment is one of the ways Sask Polytech is leading the rise of polytechnic education.

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