Ten IHPME research teams receive CIHR funding for COVID-19 projects

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Original author: Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation

Published: June 26, 2020

Source: https://ihpme.utoronto.ca/

Ten research teams led by IHPME faculty have received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and globally.

“Now more than ever, our community’s research expertise is critically needed to support Canada’s pandemic recovery,” said Professor France Gagnon, Associate Dean of Research at DLSPH.

“Our School’s broad expertise — including supporting at-risk populations, public health surveillance, health informatics and data science, and beyond — will inform decision-making and planning at national and international levels,” said Gagnon.

The Government of Canada, CIHR and provincial partners launched the second call of the rapid research funding competition in mid-April. On June 25, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced that a $109 million investment would support 139 research teams to accelerate measures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its negative consequences on people, communities and health systems.

“I’m impressed with the outstanding ability of our faculty to pivot their research portfolios and apply their talents and expertise towards addressing the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Professor Audrey Laporte, Director of IHPME.

“Looking at the number of successful IHPME projects awarded and the quality of research underway, it’s clear that our community is already shaping Canada’s pandemic response and having a tangible impact on health systems,” said Laporte.

Professor Monika Kastner received funding for her project, Social frailty interventions that can best support vulnerable older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: A rapid review. She explains that social vulnerability is one of the greatest challenges in caring for older adults and the health care system today, particularly during a public health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Imagine an older adult with a history of stroke and recent hip fracture who needs help with transportation and housework, but doesn’t have any family supports or resources to carry out these daily activities. They become socially isolated or unable to leave their home,” said Kastner, Associate Professor at IHPME.

“Now imagine how this older adult might cope with the COVID-19 pandemic that may require isolating and distancing measures. Public health policies could have important negative consequences for socially frail older adults, particularly if in place for an extended period of time,” said Kastner, who is also Research Chair in Knowledge Translation and Implementation at North York General Hospital.

Her work will address the urgent need to support socially frail older adults by identifying interventions that can help reduce, reverse or prevent social frailty during difficult and stressful situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.