Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) Research Connections grants support short-term initiatives for health research knowledge mobilization taking place in, and having a practical application for, Saskatchewan knowledge users. These grants help further the sharing of health research knowledge in non-academic settings.
In the second round of applications in 2022-2023, SHRF is providing support for 5 projects for a total investment of just over $45,000.
Knowledge mobilization includes activities and products that promote the uptake of research and be used by healthcare practitioners, policy makers, patients, and others to incorporate health research knowledge into their decisions and practices. Funded projects include a mobile application to assist physicians in prescribing medication for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and a patient decision aid to assist women with ovarian cancer in choosing treatment with PARP inhibitor therapy.
Full details, including team members and project summaries, will be listed in our searchable results database at shrf.ca/results.
Rachel Engler-Stringer | University of Saskatchewan | $10,000
Come to the Table: Exploring School Food Together
Food plays a crucial role in our physical, social and cultural well-being, but, according to the 2021 SK Child Poverty Report Card, 26.1% of Saskatchewan children are living in poverty and facing food insecurity. This already alarming number is significantly higher in some Indigenous communities, contributing heavily to the wide disparities in health outcomes experienced by Indigenous people in our province.
Because children spend a great deal of their time at school, and schools have such a pivotal influence on the lives of children when done right, school food programs have the potential to improve overall child health and well-being, improve food security in many communities, and significantly reduce health disparities for Indigenous families. Despite these obvious benefits, school food in Saskatchewan is significantly under-resourced and often under-valued. In order to come to a place where robust, healthful, school food programs are available to all Saskatchewan students there is a need for knowledge sharing and collaboration to inform program development opportunities, and advocacy.
A project of the University of Saskatchewan’s School Food Development Project research, Come to the Table: Exploring School Food Together will be a two-day knowledge sharing gathering, where school communities will connect with and learn from school food advocates, experts and outside stakeholders. It will provide an opportunity for participants to gather resources, examine current research and be inspired by innovative examples of sustainable, Indigenous-led school food initiatives currently operating across Canada.
Laura Hopkins | University of Saskatchewan | $10,000
A Patient Decision Aid for Women with Homologous Recombination
Proficient Ovarian Cancer: Treatment Options Following Completion
of Surgery and Chemotherapy
PARP inhibitor (PARPi) maintenance treatment is one of the most significant advancements in the treatment of ovarian cancer in decades. Maintenance therapies are treatments offered to patients that prevent or delay cancer relapse. Patients with ovarian cancers who have a certain molecular predisposition (that we can now test for) derive substantial benefit from PARPi maintenance therapy. The problem is that historically we have been unable to offer testing for this molecular defect so PARPi treatments have been recommended for all patients who show response to surgery and chemotherapy. This group includes patients with have the molecular predisposition but also a large number who do not. PARPi are drugs with important toxic side effects and so it is important to identify which patients stand to benefit most from these drugs so that patients who will not benefit do not waste time on futile therapy. These drugs are also very costly. Our precision medicine launch in ovarian cancer will allow us to identify which patients have the molecular profile to predict response to PARPi. We will be first in Canada to do this. So we will be able to inform patients whether they are in the group who will or who will not benefit from PARPi therapy. Problem is that the PARPi are approved for all women, not just the group who stand to benefit most. A Patient Decision Aid will help women decide whether they wish to take a PARPi and ensure that decision is reflective of their preferences and values.
Amira Abdelrasoul | University of Saskatchewan | $7,482
Knowledge transfer to inform hemodialysis membrane research
Hemodialysis is a life-sustaining extracorporeal blood purifying method for patients with end stage renal disease. My research focuses on understanding the shortcomings of hemodialysis membranes currently in use in Canadian hospitals and developing new membranes that reduce side effects and increase patient quality of life. The overall aim of this project is to advance the research direction toward patient-centered outcomes. Our objectives are to: 1) Disseminate more broadly to the general public and utilize online media to publicize research findings; 2) Provide information on research findings and establish close connections to relevant communities, such as patient groups, decision makers, health care practitioners, health care administrators, and nephrologists; and 3) Establish close connections and collaborations with medical device manufacturers.
These initiatives are relevant to Saskatchewan residents because hemodialysis treatment is a huge burden to patients with many negative impacts on quality of life. This grant will support all three strategies of knowledge transfer (diffusing, disseminating, and applying the results of a research project) in activities ranging from simple communication activities to more intensive knowledge application efforts and tool development.
Enhancing Access to Chronic Back Pain Care in Saskatchewan: Mobilizing Rural, Remote and Urban Perspectives
Back pain can be debilitating and costly, yet many people do not have access to effective and appropriate care. People living in rural and remote areas and Indigenous people are more likely to experience chronic back pain. Little is known about barriers and facilitators to health care access among rural, remote and Indigenous people with back pain compared to urban and/or non-Indigenous people. With approximately 30% of Saskatchewan’s population living in rural and remote settings and 16% of the province’s population being Indigenous, this is a critical gap to address. Our team interviewed over 40 Saskatchewan residents with chronic back pain and the health care providers who serve them from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds. We also surveyed nearly 400 Saskatchewan people with chronic back pain to gain a deeper understanding of the barriers and facilitators to accessing health care.
We will be hosting an event in early 2023 with goals of: 1) sharing our research findings with diverse stakeholder groups and; 2) co-creating recommendations for how to improve access to back pain care across Saskatchewan. The goal of this Research Connections project is to support the development and sharing of lay summaries, policy briefs, and other knowledge mobilization products arising from our knowledge translation event. Through an iterative engagement process during and following the event, stakeholder participants, including people with lived experiences of chronic back pain, will identify and prioritize: what key messages should be shared; the most appropriate methods to share; and who the target audiences are.
Mansfield Mela | University of Saskatchewan | $10,000
Developing a Mobile Application to support Saskatchewan clinicians
prescribing psychotropic medications for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Four percent of Canadians have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Many of these individuals experience brain disabilities and impairment. Medications that affect the brain, known as psychotropic medication, are often prescribed to manage patients' symptoms. It is very common for FASD patients to be on numerous psychotropic medications causing the medications to become ineffective. FASD patients are often concerned about medication types, side effects, and frequent questions about the number of medications their physicians prescribe. Since FASD is often underdiagnosed in Saskatchewan, many physicians are unfamiliar with FASD and prescribing psychotropic medications. Recently, Dr Mela and colleagues developed and published a decision-tree style medication guide for prescribers providing care to patients ages seven and above with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder/Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. This decision- tree is the first-ever treatment recommendation for psychotropic medications for FASD/ND-PAE.
This knowledge mobilization project aims to support the clinical uptake of this evidence-based decision tree using a Mobile application. The Mobile Application will increase physicians' knowledge of diagnosing FASD and guide informed decision-making for prescribing psychotropic medications. Addressing physicians' prescribing knowledge of these medications for FASD patients will decrease inappropriate medication usage and increase the effectiveness of medications whilst improving the functionality of FASD patients. We also aim to collect feedback on the decision tree's effectiveness through the Mobile Application. We will then use this information to further refine the medication decision tree to improve its capacity to support doctors and patients with FASD.
About SHRF - Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) is the provincial funding agency that funds, supports and promotes the impact of health research that matters to Saskatchewan. SHRF collaborates with stakeholders to contribute to the growth of a high-performing health system, culture of innovation and the improved health of citizens by strengthening research capacity and competitiveness, increasing the investment in health research in Saskatchewan and aligning research with the needs of our stakeholders.
For more information, please contact:
Chelsea Cunningham, SHRF Programs and Engagement Manager