COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 and the necessary responses taken by our province to limit the spread of the virus has affected every aspect of our lives, from life at home to how we work; our social activities to accessing basic services. This has also affected all aspects of our health: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.


Our province is home to a vast pool of expertise and knowledge in many areas that could help the people of Saskatchewan face these new realities and challenges and find a renewed strength in difficult times. 

 

SHRF is committed to supporting Saskatchewan’s research environment by strengthening research capacity and competitiveness; increasing investment in research and innovation; and aligning research with stakeholders’ needs.

 

With our core values of adaptability and collaboration as a foundation, we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and engage with our research community and partners to respond.  Together we will find solutions to global health challenges and help protect the people of Saskatchewan.

Current Opportunities

SHRF Support on Partner-Led Initiatives

SHRF is committed to strengthening our existing partnerships and creating new ones to support research that matters to Saskatchewan health. If you are an organization looking to support health research in the province, or are a researcher looking for local contributions on an application to another funder, contact Karen to discuss partnership or support opportunities with SHRF. 

Contact: Karen Tilsley, Director of Programs and Partnerships at ktilsley@shrf.ca to discuss potential opportunities. 

Partnering with Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) 
Operating Grant : COVID-19 May 2020 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity
Competition CLOSED

Results will be posted as they are provided. 
See ResearchNet for full opportunity details. 

Research Connections: COVID-19 Rapid Response CLOSED

See the funding results below

 

Funded Initiatives

New projects and initiatives will be updated as they are approved. 

Supported Through Partnership

Saskatchewan Lead: Alex Wong, University of Saskatchewan
Project Lead: Srinivas Murthy, University of British Columbia
COVID-19: Improving the Evidence to Treat an Emerging Infection Through Observational Studies and a Randomized Trial
 

We are proposing a national observational study of hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19, with an embedded randomized clinical trial of an antiviral agent. The randomized clinical trial will be with global collaborators to make sure that Canadian patients inform the world, and vice versa, about how to best treat this new disease. Alongside this, we will conduct surveys of clinicians, researchers, and the public about how they understand this new outbreak, how they feel about participating in research during a major outbreak, and what should be done differently; all of which will inform our clinical studies. Finally, we have been asked by the WHO to conduct a formal guideline for the management of COVID-19, which we will perform as data begins to emerge from the clinical trials that are ongoing. All of these proposals, put together, create a suite of approaches to better understanding and managing a new infection. 

 

By supporting Dr. Wong, Saskatchewan patients will be involved in this global project and have access to clinical trial drugs and treatments. 

Saskatchewan Lead: Phil Davis, University of Saskatchewan
Project Lead: Corinne Hohl, University of British Columbia

Learning in a Time of Crisis: Creating a Canadian COVID-19 Registry

Evidence-informed decision-making is crucial to ensure optimal care delivery and resource allocation in EDs as treatment decisions are often made early (e.g., on intubation) or in vulnerable individuals (e.g., homeless). In China and Italy, 80% of patients evaluated for COVID-19 were discharged from the ED. Our goal is to develop a national registry of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients who present to Emergency Departments (ED) across Canada.


This study has the potential to have a significant impact on resource allocation and planning by characterizing the burden, prognosis and resource utilization of ED patients evaluated for COVID-19, including for vulnerable populations. We anticipate that this study will have a significant impact on clinical decision-making by identifying early (ED) risk factors and treatments (e.g., oxygen delivery mode, ventilation strategy) associated poor outcomes and for vulnerable populations. By developing clinical decision instruments, we will help ED clinicians ensure optimal early clinical decision-making and rationalize resources.


By supporting Dr. Davis, SHRF is helping ensure Saskatchewan ER data will be collected and included in this national study. 

 

Supported by Research Connections: COVID-19 Rapid Response

Funding Results to Date

For more details on each project, including team members, visit our results database and search keyword 'covid'. 

Gordon Asmundson University of Regina
Understanding and Managing COVID Stress Syndrome    


COVID-19 is having a significant mental health impact globally. Findings from our survey of a large sample of residents of Canada and the United States indicate that about one quarter, totalling many millions, are significantly impacted by the mental health challenges of COVID-19. We are developing an online assessment system to educate the public about the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and help individuals identify the best methods for managing their pandemic-related distress. This online assessment system will assist in mitigating the mental health impacts of COVID-19 as well as potential future waves of COVID-19 infection and other viral outbreaks.


Relevant Link: http://coronaphobia.org/

Angela Baerwald University of Saskatchewan 

Virtual Primary Health Care Delivery in Saskatchewan during the COVID-19 Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have a significant impact on the health of Saskatchewan residents. Virtual care has been widely adopted to reduce exposures. We are in the midst of conducting a Quality Improvement project to evaluate the utility, practicality, and safety of virtual primary care. The next step is to mobilize the knowledge acquired to patients, providers, educators, trainees, governance and the public. Timely sharing of this information will inform the public of risks versus benefits of virtual care and guide administrative decisions regarding the use of safe and effective virtual care during the pandemic and beyond.

Carrie Bourassa University of Saskatchewan 
Translating ‘Protecting Our Home Fires Strategy’ Fact Sheets


Morning Star Lodge developed two fact sheets in response to COVID-19 (Protecting Our Home Fires; COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Indigenous Communities), based on existing health research. The fact sheets have been requested and distributed across health networks nationally and internationally to support a rapid response to COVID-19. To facilitate the sharing, use, and integration of this knowledge, requests have been received by various communities to translate the fact sheets into 8 other languages to date. Translation will provide a model for culturally-informed decision making while increasing the public’s knowledge of COVID-19 and its related effects on the four health quadrants.

 

Relevant Link: http://www.indigenoushealthlab.com/blog

Allison Cammer University of Saskatchewan     

Long-term Care Nutrition COVID-19 Knowledge and Practice Sharing Network

We propose a formal knowledge and practice sharing network made up of researchers and registered dietitians (RDs) working in the long-term care (LTC) settings of Saskatchewan. This network will coordinate RD practitioners to facilitate sharing of key information, resources, and evidence-based practices to support resident and family-centered nutrition care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This coordinated effort will allow for rapid communication and uptake of innovations that support care. The network will span both SHA’s public and affiliate LTC homes in all areas of the province and will work to create safe, nourishing experiences for the residents and staff of LTC.

Carla Chabot BridgePoint Center for Eating Disorders     

BridgePoint Mental Health RecoverED Text Line
 

During the COVID19 pandemic, many individuals across Saskatchewan are experiencing collective trauma with an impact on their mental health. BridgePoint has created a texting program called "BridgePoint RecoverED" that delivers daily supportive text messages to subscribers’ mobile phones. Through a set of daily messages, people receive advice and encouragement that helps develop healthy personal coping skills and resiliency. For approximately 5 cents per day per user, this program is a cost-effective service that increases the capacity of existing mental health supports, especially for those in self-isolation who can’t access face-to-face services, as well as those in remote locations.

 

Relevant Link: http://www.bridgepointcenter.ca/

Xiongbiao (Daniel) Chen University of Saskatchewan 

COVID-19 Basics/Diagnosis/Treatment and Related Research/Innovations in Saskatchewan

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious threat to human health and safety worldwide. As a rapid response, this project aims to collect and mobilize existing knowledge/information on (1) COVID-19 basics, diagnosis, and treatment and (2) COVID-19-related research and innovations, particularly highlighting work in Saskatchewan. The collected knowledge/information will be presented in audio-visual and written formats, and then be delivered and mobilized among the public (both children and adults) and Saskatchewan knowledge users (including health professionals, government and health authorities, industries, researchers, and students), equipping them with knowledge and confidence to better fight COVID-19 and foster further collaborations.

Jorden Cummings University of Saskatchewan

Rapid Social Media Dissemination of Evidence-Based Self-Care, Wellness, & Coping Resources for Health Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic    

 

With COVID-19 health care workers are facing workplace stress and burden in a manner not known in most of our lifetimes. There has never been a greater need for access to self-care, wellness, and coping resources for this population. Fortunately, evidence-based principles in all 3 exist. However, they are often disseminated in burdensome ways (e.g., entire continuing education courses) that are not currently appropriate for a workforce already stretched thin. This project will use social media to disseminate these principles in brief, easy to follow infobites, as well as connect and support health workers around this common cause.

Colleen Dell University of Saskatchewan
Connecting Amidst COVID-19: A Role for USask Therapy Dogs    


Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic involving animals are trending on-line. Companion dogs, like Pluto the schnauzer, are sharing tips on healthy social isolation. People are using social media to find connection with others, including therapy dogs. Our team’s on-line activity is designed for USask students to continue to connect and receive comfort and support from St. John Ambulance therapy dogs in the absence of on-campus visits, as well as gain credible information on mental health self-care tips during a pandemic. Therapy dog events will be held on-line for USask students and the greater Saskatchewan community – tune in to connect!


Relevant Link: https://therapydogs.ca/ 


Sarah Donkers University of Saskatchewan
Maintaining neuro-'connectivity': a virtual approach    


“Neuro net-wheeling: Active and connected. A virtual program tailored to people with neurological conditions for physiotherapy-guided exercise and social-connection during COVID-19. The doors to your local group may be closed, but we are open for active connection.”


Research shows that being physically active and socially connected are especially important in neurological conditions. Benefits include decreased rate of disease progression, prevention of co-morbidities, and improved quality of life. This initiative will share knowledge on evidence-based health promoting behaviours and support social-connectedness in this time of physical distancing - applicable to more than 7000 individuals living with MS, PD and SCI in Saskatchewan.

Relevant Link: https://rehabscience.usask.ca/neurosask.php

Charity Evans University of Saskatchewan
Supporting Saskatchewan Healthcare Professionals Navigating Drug Shortages During the COVID-19 Pandemic    
 

Pharmacists are confronted with the same challenges as all front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but are also facing two unique challenges: unprecedented drug shortages, and a role expansion to provide therapeutics substitution in anticipation of limited physician resources. Neither of these would be easy to navigate in a normal practice environment and are further complicated by the current COVID-19 situation.


medSask is a medication information service that supports appropriate prescribing and medication safety by providing accurate, evidence-based information (https://medsask.usask.ca/index.php). This proposal is to temporarily increase medSask capacity to help support pharmacists and other prescribers during the COVID-19 crisis.    

Relevant Link: https://medsask.usask.ca/index.php 

Gary Groot University of Saskatchewan
A COVID-19 Evidence Support Repository: an innovative approach to knowledge mobilization

The pandemic of novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) was announced by WHO on March 11, 2020. When the province of Saskatchewan declared a state of emergency, it became important to communicate rapidly and translate the latest knowledge to make informed decisions. We propose to maintain a continuously updated source of COVID-19 information. Our intention is to have this information for use by administrators, clinicians and policy makers. The long-term goal for this evidence repository will be to enable researchers to expand initial searches to translate findings on relevant COVID-19 questions to multiple audiences.

Relevant Link:  https://saskhealthauthority.libguides.com/covid-19/repository/home

Lori Hanson University of Saskatchewan
Community-based Organization Capacity Effectiveness and Response to COVID-19 in Saskatoon    
 

SHRF funding will enhance integrated knowledge sharing in the Saskatoon COVID 19 Community Response – Vulnerable Sector Strategy among 120 community-based organizations (CBOs) working to provide services in Saskatoon at two inner city service HUBs. Current minimal funding from the USASK DSA is supporting data analysis and real-time knowledge sharing for prompt procurement of resources (financial, human, information) needed to provide services to marginalized populations at the HUBs. SHRF funding will be used 1) to adapt that information for use by service users, the Emergency Measure Network and the general public 2) to provide a monitoring and evaluation mechanism.

Shela Hirani University of Regina

Knowledge Mobilization Tool to Promote, Protect and Support Breastfeeding during COVID-19    

 

Breastmilk is essential for the growth and development of young children. Considering its benefits, breastfeeding is recommended at all times for young children, especially during crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of this knowledge mobilization project is to develop and disseminate an animated video on "Breastfeeding during COVID-19". This video will provide need-based information to breastfeeding mothers who may lack breastfeeding support and access to information during the current state of emergency and self-isolation. This activity will also clarify misconceptions surrounding breastfeeding during COVID-19 and will raise public awareness on safe infant feeding practices during this pandemic.

Watch the video: https://youtu.be/rbsK_ypeOO4 

Natasha Hubbard Murdoch Saskatchewan Polytechnic

The experience of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan: The knowledge translation plan
 

As part of a research program on the experience of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, we have collected, and continue to seek, data from nurses, paramedics, police, nursing educators in clinical, seniors isolated because of #StayAtHome and nursing students. To date, we have collected data from approximately 300 individuals. This project will share the findings with the professionals, citizens, and students who would find the information valuable for adapting in an unprecedented time. This first stage of knowledge sharing, over the next six months, delivers the pre-pandemic Saskatchewan experience and response. The next stage will be future assessment for post-pandemic experiences.
 

Paulette Hunter St. Thomas More College

Establishing a patient-oriented research network to support knowledge mobilization during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

We have created a network of residents, family members, clinicians, and researchers to respond to the needs of the LTC sector during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The perspectives we contribute represent out members’ past, present, and future engagement in supporting quality of care in LTC. This network has been integrated into the Saskatchewan Health Authority COVID-19 response planning. Our work will help to ensure that COVID-19 response planning for the LTC sector attends to resident, family, and clinician voices and that planned actions are feasible and relevant to resident- and family- centered care.
 

Joanne LaBrash READ Saskatoon

COmmunity Vital Information Delivery for Read Saskatoon knowledge users    

 

We need your support during this unstable time to reach out to our literacy learners re: COVID-19 to:
a) ensure that accurate and current COVID-19 information has been received in a format that those experiencing literacy challenges can understand (e.g. plain language, phone call for those who may not be connected to social media)

b) identify ways to address literacy barriers to service and information for low literacy learners during times of community crisis in future (how best to get the needed health and literacy supports and information to our knowledge users)

Jessica Lieffers University of Saskatchewan
A social media campaign to enhance food security during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saskatchewan    
 

COVID-19 has resulted in food security concerns as businesses close, unemployment skyrockets, and social distancing measures make procuring food harder. The goal of this project is to share strategies used by Saskatchewan residents to cope with food security challenges during COVID-19 using social media. Through Eat Well Saskatchewan (EWS) social media accounts, Saskatchewan residents will be encouraged to submit stories on this topic. These stories along with related educational content will be shared on EWS social media accounts by our dietitian. This campaign is designed to help Saskatchewan residents become more resilient when faced with COVID-19-related food security challenges.

Relevant Link: https://eatwellsask.usask.ca/index.php

Jacqueline Messer-Lepage Saskatchewan College of Paramedics
360 Degree Immersive COVID Training for Paramedics    
 

Paramedics are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing care to patients that may be infected with COVID-19 presents specific challenges because of the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus. Special precautions need to be taken to ensure the safety of both the patients and healthcare providers.


The Saskatchewan College of Paramedics (SCoP) and Luxsonic Technologies Inc (Luxsonic) are proposing the creation of two immersive medical education videos, related to the safe care of COVID-19 patients. These include the proper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment and safe intubation of a patient. These videos will be made freely available to paramedics in Saskatchewan and will provide important knowledge needed to keep both patients and healthcare providers safe.


Relevant Link: https://www.collegeofparamedics.sk.ca/web/scop 

Megan O'Connell University of Saskatchewan

Dissemination of Virtual Connection Information and Resources for Older Adults in the Era of COVID-19

 

The necessary physical distancing due to COVID-19 has reduced many older adult’s social connections. As a group older adults are a group at risk of social isolation, which was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently published articles on COVID-19 raised concerns about social disconnection and the impact on mental health and called for use of technologies to help reduce social isolation in the times of physical distancing. Our currently funded work can reduce social isolation with use of technology, and we need help mobilizing this knowledge to reduce health burden for SK older adults from COVID-19.

 

Mamata Pandey Saskatchewan Health Authority

Staying Connected with Social Media During Social Distancing

 

Language barriers and limited health literacy can limit newcomers’ access to, and utilization of preventative healthcare services. Employing social media and social networks, COVID-19 related information will be communicated to newcomers. This will enhance acceptability of, and participation in the national strategy implemented to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Language assisted, culturally responsive virtual workshops on COVID-19 related risks, prevention, social distancing and self-efficacy strategies will be disseminated among newcomers. Participants will be recruited from English language classes offered through Regina Immigrant Women Centre (RIWC). Effectiveness of this health promotion strategy will be evaluated through data collected from surveys and interviews.
 

Michelle Pavloff Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Mary Ellen Labrecque University of Saskatchewan

The Impact of COVID-19 Knowledge Support on Rural and Remote Saskatchewan Nurses’ Mental Health    

 

The goal of the proposed activity is to provide support to rural/remote nurses in Saskatchewan by meeting their personal and communities’ knowledge needs. Using online asynchronous discussion groups, nurses will be provided with the opportunity to request information for themselves or their communities. Through this activity, the research team will monitor the discussion groups daily and seek out the existing health research knowledge to support the nurses. Through provision of evidence informed knowledge sharing, rural/remote Saskatchewan nurses will be empowered to make informed decisions for their practice and communities.

 

Stuart Skinner University of Saskatchewan

A Distance Access to Prevention, Treatment and Response (ADAPT-R): An agile approach to COVID-19

The rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic is extremely limited as the current health system is ineffective in meeting the unique needs of Indigenous peoples, especially on-reserve and in geographically isolated areas. Our aim is to work in partnership to co-create enabling in-community care environments to share knowledge and data to minimize the overall incidence of COVID-19 in partner communities and at-risk sub-populations (i.e., immune compromised; co-morbidities; elderly). Providing integrated, collaborative, multidisciplinary care in a virtual and in-community care (VCC) environment, the Wellness Wheel team is well-equipped and well-positioned to connect to a responsive care network that can be replicated.

Nathalie Reid University of Regina

Lise Milne University of Regina
Creating a Digital Connections Hub to Support Children in Care in Saskatchewan During COVID-19 and Beyond

 

COVID-19 has been especially challenging for highly vulnerable children in out-of-home care in Saskatchewan, whose past trauma is likely to be reactivated during this stressful period. To ensure service providers have the knowledge and resources to meet their complex health, social, psychological, educational, and environmental needs, this project will draw on a socio-ecological scan of existing and emerging research to establish a dynamic Digital Connections Hub through the University of Regina Child Trauma Research Centre (CTRC) to facilitate the mobilization of these resources to relevant stakeholders, including caregivers.


Relevant Link: https://www.uregina.ca/ctrc/ 

Hassanali Vatanparast University of Saskatchewan

Coping with COVID-19 Pandemic: Information for Arabic-Speaking Communities, particularly for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, in Saskatchewan

We will develop an infographic style Arabic language resource containing COVID-19-specific information for our intended audience of recently settled Arabic-speaking individuals with limited English proficiency. Key health and safety messages from provincial, federal, and international sources will be summarized and translated into Arabic, providing information on how to live, cope, and protect themselves and the community from COVID-19. The Saskatoon Open Door Society will facilitate dissemination, using our combined networks in the settlement sector and relevant stakeholders. Having accurate and understandable COVID-19 information available to this community will help to safeguard the health and well-being of Saskatchewan residents.

 

We are the provincial funding agency that funds, supports and promotes the impact of health research that matters to Saskatchewan.

Email: info@shrf.ca

Phone: 1-306-975-1680

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Fax: 1-306-975-1688

Address: 324-111 Research Drive,

Saskatoon, SK S7N 3R2

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