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Partnerships invest in Saskatchewan for innovative solutions to health challenges

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Working together with other health organizations, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation is able to provide unique opportunities for the research community and knowledge users to co-ordinate their diverse skills and perspectives to address health challenges faced by Saskatchewan. This is the goal of the SHRF Solutions Program, providing funding for interdisciplinary teams that include knowledge users from healthcare, government, communities, and people with lived and living experience to come together and tackle identified priority health challenges.

Increasing investment in quality research is important for better health care and healthier communities. By engaging local and national partners to align research with the needs of the province, SHRF is proud to announce the following investments in Virtual Care, Chronic Diseases in Indigenous Communities, Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, and Lung Health through the 2021-22 Solutions Program.

This investment is in addition to SHRF's identified focus area of Addictions, which was announced last week (read more at: SHRF investing $900,000 in innovative solutions to growing addictions problem in Saskatchewan).


Virtual Care

SHRF furthered its investment in the virtual care focus area through a collaboration with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. In addition to over $1M invested in virtual care research in 2020-21, this year, SHRF is investing an additional $150,000 for a collaborative team of 19 researchers. This team will focus on understanding the current use of virtual care in Saskatchewan, conducting transdisciplinary knowledge-exchange workshops, and use this information to help inform a virtual care strategy in Saskatchewan.

Read more about the 2020-21 investment in virtual care research: Over $1M invested in research to support virtual care solutions to Saskatchewan health challenges

To learn more about virtual care in Saskatchewan, visit:


Virtual Care Funding Recipient

Impact Grant

Ivar Mendez, University of Saskatchewan, $150,000
Co-Principal Investigators: Stacey Lovo, Caroline Tait, Paul Babyn, and Vern Behl

Delivery Of Virtual Care In Saskatchewan: A Strategic Framework And Roadmap For Implementation


Chronic Diseases in Indigenous Communities

Across Canada, Indigenous peoples are at higher risk of chronic disease and face inadequate access to equitable healthcare services. SHRF and Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. partnered to provide funding for research into innovative healthcare solutions for chronic diseases, such as diabetes, within Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. This funding aligns with Boehringer Ingelheim Canada’s PATHWAYS framework and required teams to include perspectives of Indigenous leadership. Ensuring that research is informed by Indigenous knowledge and community participation aims to help eliminate the gap in access to equitable healthcare.

One of the funded projects aims to co-create a community-led and community-driven diabetes care model to improve access, care, and support, by empowering local community healthcare teams in George Gordon First Nation and increasing capacity for in-community diabetes management. The second project will conduct a needs assessment in Cowessess First Nation to determine gaps in current resources and services from the community’s perspective, followed by the co-design of a customized diabetes-care initiative.

Boehringer Ingelheim Canada’s PATHWAYS framework was created over the past three years in collaboration with Bimaadzwin and an Indigenous Advisory Circle. PATHWAYS is Indigenous-led and Indigenous-informed, with the vision to close the health gap with Indigenous communities while focusing on relationship building and a positive, sustainable future for all partners.


Chronic Diseases in Indigenous Communities Funding Recipients

Funded in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

Impact Grant

Mamata Pandey, Saskatchewan Health Authority, $149,957
Co-Principal Investigators: Megan Clark and Stuart Skinner

Developing a Community-Led and Community-Delivered Program to Provide In-Community Care and Support for People Living with Diabetes Changing the Trajectory of Diabetes Outcomes Utilizing a Culturally Responsive, Peer-Based Approach

Impact Grant

Hassanali Vatanparast, University of Saskatchewan, $149,600
Co-Principal Investigator: Virginia Lane

Working together to promote healthy living and prevent type 2 diabetes: a community-led initiative with Cowessess First Nation


Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

The Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan’s mission is to fund research into prevention, cures, and quality of life improvements for people living with dementia. This year, SHRF and the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan partnered to invest $50,000 for a team working to implement an innovative evidence-based program to enhance mealtimes in long-term care homes. Mealtimes are an important time for connection and social relationships for residents living in long-term care. But mealtimes can be distressing for residents living with dementia, leading to responsive behaviours and poorer nutrition. The CHOICE+ program helps improve relationship-centred care practices to support residents living with dementia during mealtimes.


Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias Funding Recipient

Funded in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan

Innovation Grant

Alison Cammer, University of Saskatchewan, $49,825
Co-Principal Investigator: Heather Keller

Feasibility of CHOICE+: A virtual, evidence-based program to improve the dining environment and mealtime experience in Long-Term Care


Lung Health

Improving lung health has become a critical area of research during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. SHRF and Lung Sask invested in both COVID- and virtual care- related lung health research this year. Two of the funded projects focus on COVID-19, but in different stages of the disease. One funded project is developing a model for studying the mechanism of lung infection in the lab, which would make it easier to identify treatment regimes for COVID-19 and other lung diseases like tuberculosis. The second project will explore the experiences of long COVID in some of the over 81,000 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. The third project aims to improve virtual care for obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing that can interfere with sleep quality and quality of life. Rural populations particularly are underserved and this virtual program could help overcome some of the health care barriers.

To learn more about the research team and Lung Sask collaboration to support Long COVID in Saskatchewan, visit:


Lung Health Funding Recipients

Funded in partnership with Lung Sask

Innovation Grant

Donna Goodridge, University of Saskatchewan, $49,987
Co-Principal Investigator: Alyson Kelvin

The Clinical Course and Lived Experience of Long COVID Patients Experiencing Dyspnea: A Prospective Cohort Study

Impact Grant

Arinjay Banerjee, University of Saskatchewan, $149,825
Co-Principal Investigator: Neeraj Dhar

A lung organoid platform to study Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) co-infections and therapies

Impact Grant

Joshua Lawson, University of Saskatchewan, $149,792
Co-Principal Investigator: Donna Goodridge

The Impact and Implementation of a Virtual Behavior Change Intervention for Rural Women with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)


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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