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New funding announced for aligning research with needs of Saskatchewan

The Align Grant aims to enable the development and engagement of robust interdisciplinary research teams, including members outside academia and provides funding to complete activities that shape research to align with the Saskatchewan context and respond to Saskatchewan needs. In the first offering of this funding opportunity, three projects have been awarded a total investment of $24,000. The funded teams are working with community organizations in different fields to advance patient-centered care.


Elise Matthews and Elizabeth Cooper (University of Regina) will work with Inclusion Saskatchewan to improve accessibility and adaptability of supports for health decision-making in plain language. These supports are important for individuals with intellectual disabilities to have the information they need to make health decisions and maintain self-determinism.


Noelle Rohatinsky and Juan-Nicolas Peña-Sánchez (University of Saskatchewan) are continuing their research on inflammatory bowel disease in Saskatchewan with support from Crohn's and Colitis Canada. Their goal is to identify and prioritize patient-centered strategies to enhance inflammatory bowel disease related care for older adults and determine how best to implement these strategies.


Amrinderbir Singh and Trish Goulet from the University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry will collaborate with the Saskatoon West Dental Clinic to work with urban Indigenous individuals who use the clinic to understand what the ideal oral health experience is for them and use this information to deliver a model of dental service that meets their needs.


The goal of this funding opportunity is to better align research with our strategic direction and the needs of our stakeholders, researchers, communities, healthcare practitioners and patients. To learn more about SHRF's strategic goals and action, visit the About Us page.

Information about applying for the Align Grant can be found at


Funding Recipients

Elise Matthews, Elizabeth Cooper | University of Regina | $10,000

Evaluation and Adaptation of Supported and Shared Health Decision-Making Plain Language Tools for Self-Advocates with Disabilities and Health Care Professionals

Health decision-making is a human right. People with intellectual disabilities have the right to self-determination and this includes the right to have the support they need to make health decisions. Plain language supports are needed to facilitate the centering of the person with intellectual disabilities in the health decision-making process, to respect the choices they make, and help them achieve their goals. Health care decisions range from preferred ways to communicate, choice of medical treatments in emergencies, to end of life care. Inclusion professionals in Saskatchewan have developed plain language documents that help patients to engage in and communicate their health care decisions to family advocates, disability support professionals, and health care professionals. This project will evaluate the accessibility and acceptability of these tools in the provincial context from multiple stakeholder perspectives. This project will also develop a collaboration with inclusion professionals at the national level. Preliminary evaluation has suggested an association between endorsing health decision-making tools with attitudes toward shared and supported decision-making. The proposed activities will develop and refine research questions for a national study on supported decision-making tools, shared decision-making attitudes, differences among patients, supporters, and health care professionals, and associations with mental health.

Noelle Rohatinsky, Juan-Nicolas Peña-Sánchez | University of Saskatchewan | $9,944

Enhancing chronic illness care for older adults with inflammatory bowel disease in Saskatchewan

Inflammatory bowel disease is a lifelong illness that causes digestive system damage. Adults who are 60 years of age and older represent the fastest growing group of individuals with inflammatory bowel disease in Canada and Saskatchewan. There is minimal information on older adult perspectives, preferences, and recommendations on inflammatory bowel disease-related care needs and service delivery. In a past study, older adult participants identified there were care gaps in management of inflammatory bowel disease between the health system, providers, and older adults. The goal of this patient-oriented project is to engage with patients, communities, health systems, and government stakeholders to enhance chronic illness care for older adults with inflammatory bowel disease in the province. The objectives are to: 1) identify and prioritize patient-centered strategies to enhance inflammatory bowel disease related care for older adults in Saskatchewan; and 2) gather older adults with inflammatory bowel disease and other stakeholders to determine how best to integrate these strategies into care management within the healthcare system. Our research team consists of nurses, doctors, educators, and persons living with inflammatory bowel disease. This project involves collecting information from individuals with inflammatory bowel disease using an online ranking survey and meeting. Results will be then shared with stakeholders during an online meeting to determine how best to implement the suggested strategies into the healthcare system. This project has great potential to not only enhance the health and well-being of older adult individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, but also to enhance health service delivery.

Amrinderbir Singh, Trish Goulet | University of Saskatchewan | $4,110

Indigenous Perspectives on Oral Healthcare Service Delivery in a Saskatchewan Urban Dental Clinic

The Indigenous population has persistently experienced disproportionate health burdens compared to the non-Indigenous population. According to findings from the First Nations Oral Health Survey of 2009/10, the prevalence and severity of oral diseases among Indigenous Canadians exceed those of non-Indigenous Canadians by 1.6-2.9 times. The disparities felt by Indigenous peoples are complex due to multi-factorial causes, including the effects of colonialism, multi-generational trauma, discrimination and racism, and the social determinants of health—all undermining the efforts to ameliorate the health outcomes of Indigenous Canadians. Despite the numerous oral health interventions and initiatives directed at Indigenous populations, a limited number of Indigenous specific approaches to service delivery have been described in the current literature. Access to care and, more critically, access to culturally safe and community focused care poses a significant challenge. The urban Indigenous populations face unique and complex challenges in respect to access to oral health care. Through engaging the community and our patients, this project will help us know what common metrics define an ideal experience for our clientele at Saskatoon West Dental Clinic, which is in the core neighborhood of Saskatoon serving complex needs of urban Indigenous populations. We are aiming to understand, from the perspective of the patient, what an ideal oral health experience is for them. This will inform us about the gaps in knowledge and inform the development of a model of dental service delivery that meets the needs and aspirations of urban Indigenous populations in Saskatchewan.


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

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