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Leading Nutrition Expert and Authority on Vitamin D and Calcium Receives Achievement Award

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

four people accepting an award
MLA Eric Olauson, SHRF Board Chair Cecile Hunt, Achievement Award winner Dr. Susan Whiting and SHRF CEO Patrick Odnokon

Leading Nutrition Expert and Authority on Vitamin D and Calcium, Dr. Susan Whiting,

Receives Achievement Award at Saskatchewan’s Premier Health Research Event

November 22, 2019 (Regina) – The impact of Dr. Susan Whiting’s work is something we feel in our bones. That’s because as an authority on vitamin D and calcium supplementation and a leading nutrition expert, her work has led to significant advances in the field with regards to the impact of diet on children’s bone health and development.

Dr. Whiting, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan, was presented with an Achievement Award by Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) Thursday evening at the 16th annual Santé Awards.

She is one of the original investigators of the Saskatchewan Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study, which has followed hundreds of Saskatchewan elementary school children for over 25 years and is internationally renowned for its findings on how growth, physical activity and nutrition affect bone development.

Whiting’s advocacy and in-depth look at beverage intakes of children and adults has not only led to the discouragement of sugary drinks in Saskatchewan schools, but also to Coca-Cola’s reduction of vitamin A in some fortified beverages. Before her concerns were brought to light, a single serving of the products came very close to the “tolerable upper intake level” for adults.

Her expertise has also taken the global stage as her work to raise awareness for vitamin D deficiency and supplementation has been translated into policy and practice in not only Canada the U.S but also places like Europe, Ethiopia and New Zealand.

“Dr. Whiting’s body of work exemplifies the purpose of our Achievement Award which is to honour a researcher who has inspired us with their drive, leadership and ingenuity,” says SHRF CEO, Patrick Odnokon. “She has contributed countless hours to local community organizations and her expertise is a resource for dieticians and other health practitioners around the world.”

Dr. Whiting also took part in the Research Showcase held earlier that day in conjunction with the Santé Awards. This combined event, hosted in partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) was Saskatchewan’s premier health research event. It brought together the province’s world-class health researchers, students and trainees, clinicians, and patients to highlight the outstanding health research and collaborations happening to improve the health of citizens and create a high performing health system.

The event attracted an audience of close to 250 people throughout the day and included a keynote address from Dr. Craig Fleisher, one of the world’s top competitive intelligence consultants. His talk highlighted how looking to the future can help innovate health care and research today, leading to dynamic, technology-empowered health research that will result in healthier futures for all Canadians.

Other awards presented during the event included the SHRF Impact Award, which went to Dr. Josef Buttigieg from the University of Regina. His work over the past five years after receiving a SHRF Establishment Grant in 2014-15 has led to understanding how specialized cells in the lungs sense changes in their environment and communicate with the central nervous system. Through his research, Dr. Buttigieg has also made discoveries that provide a better understanding of stem cell biology as it relates to other nervous system diseases such as stroke, spinal cord injury and MS.

SHRF also presented Excellence Awards to the top-ranked researchers and teams from its funding competitions over the past year.

The SHA presented the Patient Impact Award, an annual award that recognizes a researcher or team of researchers who have completed a project that is believed to have the greatest benefit for patients and families in Saskatchewan.

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.


Complete SHRF Santé Awards Winners List


This award is presented to an individual in health research whose exemplary career achievements have inspired us with their drive, leadership and ingenuity. Candidates are nominated by their peers and considered by an expert panel of national and local experts from a range of fields.

Dr. Susan Whiting College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan


This award is presented to one researcher from our 2014-15 Establishment grant recipients in recognition of their contributions to building capacity, advancing health research knowledge, informing decision making and contributing to health and socioeconomic impacts. The award recognizes those individuals who are early in their careers but have had significant impact on health research and the health ecosystem with their efforts. This award is determined by a merit review committee.

Dr. Josef Buttigieg Faculty of Science, University of Regina


These awards recognize the top-ranked applications from researchers and teams in the past year’s funding competitions. All applications to SHRF’s funding competitions are ranked according to our rigorous peer review process by committees of active researchers and health professionals.

Dr. Kerry Lavender College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Top Establishment Grant: Biomedical

Dr. Paul Mick College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Top Establishment Grant: Socio-Health

Dr. Ivan Trus VIDO-Intervac, University of Saskatchewan

Top Research Fellowship: Biomedical

Dr. David Kingston College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Top Research Fellowship: Socio-Health

Dr. Francisco Cayabyab College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Top Collaborative Innovation Development Grant: Biomedical

Dr. Saija Kontulainen College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan

Top Collaborative Innovation Development Grant: Socio-Health Systems and Clinical

Dr. Juan-Nicolas Pena-Sanchez College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Top Sprout Grant

Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos Faculty of Arts, University of Regina

Top Patient-Oriented Research Leadership Grant: Competition II

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