Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and our partners are proud to announce over $2 million in funding toward Saskatchewan research teams working to address the province's most pressing health challenges.
"SHRF is dedicated to supporting a health research ecosystem that encourages collaborative and timely work. The Solutions Program exemplifies these commitments clearly. Projects funded through the 2022-23 Solutions Program are leading examples of how innovative and interdisciplinary research stands to positively impact the health and healthcare of Saskatchewan. I extend my congratulations to this year's funding recipients, and look forward to the outcomes of their work." - Patrick Odnokon, CEO SHRF
The Solutions Program
SHRF's Solutions Program aims to mobilize Saskatchewan's research ecosystem by focusing and coordinating diverse skills and perspectives to address timely health challenges. These goals are achieved by supporting interdisciplinary research teams, including knowledge-users, to conduct projects with a measurable impact in defined focus areas.
The Solutions Program is comprised of two grants: the Innovation Grant and the Impact Grant. Both grants require that research teams include at least two Saskatchewan-based researchers from different disciplines and at least one Saskatchewan-based knowledge-user. Research teams are strongly encouraged to involve individuals with lived/living experience and to garner support from community leaders/organizations, decision-makers or industry-partners.
SHRF's Innovation Grant promotes creative problem-solving to catalyze innovative ideas and approaches, providing up to $50,000 over a one-year term.
SHRF's Impact Grant advances the translation of research into real-world and practical applications, providing up to $150,000 over a two-year term.
SHRF and our partners are excited to announce that the 2022-23 Solutions Program has funded 20 interdisciplinary research teams, for a total investment of $2,179,438.
Focusing on What Matters
SHRF's Solutions Program is unique, in part due to its targeted approach to funding. Solutions Focus Areas reflect the changing needs of Saskatchewan, in addition to:
Partnership opportunities; and
Potential for impact.
In a given year, the Solutions Program may support both SHRF-led and partner-led focus areas. These focus areas are intended to evolve with the needs of the province.
The 2022-23 Solutions Program strategically directed funding toward the following SHRF-led and partner-led focus areas:
The need for instruments, assessment methods, policies and technologies that promote safe, effective and efficient virtual care remains a pressing need in Saskatchewan. Building on the momentum first established during the pandemic, this year's Virtual Care Focus Area encouraged researchers to consider long-term, coordinated and accessible solutions that can become a mainstay of Saskatchewan's healthcare climate – connecting patients to the care they need, when and where they need it.
In 2022-23, SHRF and our partners funded six projects through an investment of $494,951 in the Virtual Care Solutions Focus Area.
Addictions research is complex due to its multi-faceted lens that considers the intersection of physical, social and economic factors. Accordingly, the Addictions Focus Area is well suited for the interdisciplinary and creative projects supported by SHRF's Solutions Program. SHRF first introduced the Addictions Focus Area in 2021, in-part due to the pressing overdose crisis happening in Saskatchewan. While the first year of funding introduced meaningful and impactful projects, we recognize that this work is far from complete and that trusting relationships take time to nurture and grow.
In 2022-23, SHRF and our partners funded four projects through an investment of $600,000 in the Addictions Solutions Focus Area.
Rural and Remote Healthcare
In partnership with a number of provincial health charities and foundations, the Rural and Remote Healthcare Focus Area was introduced to address the roles that geography, accessibility and service provision play on communities outside of Saskatchewan's larger centres. This funding reflects the combined priorities of the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation, Lung Saskatchewan, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Hospitals Foundation of Regina and the Royal University Hospital Foundation. This focus area works to address Saskatchewan's context and needs, acknowledging that a significant portion of the provincial population live in rural, remote and northern communities wherein unique circumstances stand to impact residents' health and healthcare.
In 2022-23, SHRF and our partners funded four projects through an investment of $599,902 in the Rural and Remote Healthcare Solutions Focus Area.
In partnership with Lung Saskatchewan, the Lung Health Focus Area aims to direct funding toward research that improves the understanding and management of diseases of the lungs, and the quality of life of those who experience them. SHRF's partnership with Lung Saskatchewan allows our organizations to align our objectives, investments and reach to promote cutting-edge lung health research in our province.
In 2022-23, SHRF and Lung Saskatchewan funded four projects through an investment of $299,824 in the Lung Health Solutions Focus Area.
Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
In partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, the Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Focus Area enables localized health research that supports prevention, disease management and quality of life among affected populations and their caregivers and loved ones.
In 2022-23, SHRF and Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan funded two projects through an investment of $184,760 in the Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Solutions Focus Area.
Interdisciplinary Teams at Work
We are proud to announce the 2022-23 recipients of the Solutions: Innovation and Impact Grants and to witness the impact of their research in Saskatchewan. The Principal Investigators and project details are outlined below.
2022-23 Innovation Grant recipients:
Mohan Babu | University of Regina $50,000 In partnership with Lung Saskatchewan Lung Health Peptide Therapeutics For Cystic Fibrosis
This project seeks to examine the potential of a new antibacterial therapy for pulmonary infections in individuals with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). This process will involve conducting lab research on epithelial cells; facilitating collaboration with early- and mid-career clinicians with CF expertise; disseminating findings via academic and non-academic outlets; strengthening future CIHR applications; and providing therapeutic potential for CF patients across Saskatchewan and Canada.
Allison Cammer | University of Saskatchewan $49,509 Virtual Care The Cognitive Kitchen: An Evidence-Based Nutrition and Socialization Program for Rural Caregiver Support
This project aims to evaluate the impact and suitability of a nutrition and socialization intervention known as the 'Cognitive Kitchen': A program that supports the health and wellbeing of rural caregivers of those with dementia. Through rigorous examination of the Cognitive Kitchen program, researchers will evaluate the processes, feasibility, acceptability and outcomes of participation, with the goal of contributing to an understanding of rural caregivers' experiences and tailoring the program to other rural areas across Saskatchewan.
Oleg Dmitriev | University of Saskatchewan Franco Vizeacoumar | University of Saskatchewan Andrew Freywald | University of Saskatchewan Sunil Yadav | University of Saskatchewan $50,000 In partnership with Lung Saskatchewan Lung Health
A Novel Biomarker for Personalized Chemotherapy of Lung Cancer
This project seeks to establish a novel biomarker (the protein MEMO1) for the targeted chemotherapy of lung cancer, enabling the guidance of more effective chemotherapy for individual patients. By testing and comparing the effects of 2,000 FDA approved drugs on high and low-MEMO1 cancer cell lines, researchers will determine the potential of MEMO1 as a biomarker for individualized drug interventions.
Anas El-Aneed | University of Saskatchewan Darryl Adamko | University of Saskatchewan $50,000 In partnership with Lung Saskatchewan Lung Health Improve Diagnosis of Lung Diseases Using Urine Tests
This project aims to evaluate a novel test that uses a combination of a urine sample and a mass spectrometry in the identification of and distinction between COPD and asthma. By studying populations with varying airways diseases, researchers aim, for the long term, to develop a non-invasive test that can improve doctor's office and ER diagnoses and adjust the amount of medication administered to these individuals.
Stacey Lovo | University of Saskatchewan Gary Linassi | Saskatchewan Health Authority $49,262 Virtual Care
Community-Directed Virtual Care Strategies for the Management of Neuropathic Pain in Remote Indigenous Communities
This project seeks to establish and pilot a virtual assessment process for neuropathic pain among rural and remote Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. Through this process, researchers will aim to better understand the experiences of rural and remote Indigenous people accessing care for neuropathic pain, as well as their needs and preferences for receiving care.
Darrell Mousseau | University of Saskatchewan $49,933
In partnership with Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias Injecting Healthy Cells into the Brain to Slow the Progression of Alzheimer Disease
This project aims to utilize 'personalized medicine' to improve the understanding and management of Alzheimer Disease (AD) in two ways. Firstly, researchers will use cultured brain cells from suspected AD sufferers to observe and confirm an individual's risk of developing the disease and to inform an early treatment intervention. Secondly, researchers will test the impact of injecting healthy brain cells into a mouse model of AD to evaluate their capacity to 'replace' AD-effected cells with healthy cells, and promote brain-saving function.
Susan Petryk | University of Saskatchewan Jill Bally | University of Saskatchewan $49,986 In partnership with Mental Health Research Canada Virtual Care The Virtual Specialist and the Travelling Nurse Practitioner: A Novel Consultation Model for Children and their Families to Improve Access to Developmental Pediatric and Child Mental Healthcare
The aim of this project is to develop and test a model of care which brings a specialist in Developmental Pediatrics and mental health right to the home communities of children and families across Saskatchewan by leveraging virtual care. Utilizing the in-person resources of a travelling (or ultimately local) Nurse Practitioner, the research team feels they can demonstrate a cost-effective way to reduce wait-times, virtually bring the specialist into communities outside of Saskatchewan's major centres, increase the capacity of the specialist, maintain quality of care and increase patient satisfaction. This model has the potential to expand to other specialties.
Kristi Wright | University of Regina $49,981
Virtual Care Supporting Caregivers of Children with Cystic Fibrosis: The Development of an Online Mental Health and Wellness Prevention Program for Caregivers
This project seeks to better understand the lived experiences and needs of caregivers of children with Cystic Fibrosis in Saskatchewan — a population with significantly higher incidences of anxiety and depression associated with the life-changing reality of caring for a child with this condition. This data will be used to inform the development of the first Internet-delivered preventative mental health and wellness program for these caregivers.
2022-23 Impact Grant recipients:
Shauna Davies | University of Regina Ramona Kyabaggu | University of Regina $150,000
In partnership with Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation, Lung Saskatchewan, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Hospitals Foundation of Regina and the Royal University Hospital Foundation Rural and Remote Healthcare How Well Does Virtual Reality Compare to the Use of High Fidelity Manikins: Using Virtual Reality to Examine a Paramedic's Ability to Perform Specific Tasks and Skills When Seeking Employment in Rural and Remote Areas of Saskatchewan
This project seeks to address issues of paramedic job recruitment in rural and remote areas of Saskatchewan by comparing tools used for testing future paramedics in fair, equitable and consistent ways. Researchers will compare paramedic potential strategies for licensure examination using a virtual-reality environment to a mannequin doll to identify best-practice measures.
Andrew Eaton | University of Regina Sarah Ross | AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan Shiny Mary Varghese | AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan Vidya Dhar Reddy | AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan $150,000 Addictions Map Community Needles Incidence Data and Respond with Harm Reduction Interventions in Regina, Saskatchewan: A Community-Based, Mixed-Method Study
Through the combined efforts of a community-based, transdisciplinary team of knowledge-users, researchers and people with lived experience, this project aims to map community needle incidence and respond with geographically-targeted harm reduction strategies. Mapping exercises will be completed in Regina, wherein identified 'hotspot' areas will receive targeted Naloxone training and harm reduction support groups. This project will conclude by empirically evaluating whether this approach was feasible and beneficial in reducing addictions-related harms and determining the relevancy of this approach in additional communities.
Tasha Epp | University of Saskatchewan Jordan Woodsworth | University of Saskatchewan $149,914
In partnership with Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation, Lung Saskatchewan, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Hospitals Foundation of Regina and the Royal University Hospital Foundation Rural and Remote Healthcare A One Health Approach to Prevent and/or Respond to Dog-Related Issues, Including Aggressive Encounters in Rural and Remote Communities in Saskatchewan
With a team of human and animal health professionals, this project aims to explore the complexity of dog:human interactions, with an emphasis on both individuals experiencing dog bites and communities impacted by dog populations/aggressive dog encounters. By identifying the most common needs, best practices, available resources, and accessibility considerations for dog-related issues in rural and remote communities of Saskatchewan, this project will aim to make recommendations for the prevention of and/or intervention in dog-related events to collectively address animal, individual and community health.
Barbara Fornssler | University of Saskatchewan James Dixon | University of Saskatchewan Linzi Williamson | University of Saskatchewan Kayla Demong | Prairie Harm Reduction $150,000 Addictions Building Capacity to Reduce Substance Use Harms: Researching Effective Evaluation Standards for the Supervised Consumption Site in Saskatoon SK
This project will take a case study approach to discern the impacts of Prairie Harm Reduction's supervised consumption site (SCS) as a structural health intervention to understand the role of the site and its relationship to workforce capacity, program stability, and agency sustainability. From this information, the team will also derive the role of community-based organizations in SCS service delivery for people who access services, the local community and stakeholders at the provincial and federal levels.
Jonathan Gamble | Saskatchewan Health Authority Jennifer O'Brien | University of Saskatchewan $147,260 Virtual Care Making Virtual Multidisciplinary Preoperative Assessment Possible for Everyone in Saskatchewan
Engaging an interdisciplinary research team of doctors, researchers, policy makers, knowledge-users and patient partners, this project aims to expand the access to virtual multidisciplinary preoperative assessment to residents across Saskatchewan. Utilizing the Virtual Preoperative Assessment Pathway developed and piloted in Saskatoon by the same team, this project will involve the adaptation of developed processes to facilitate virtual assessments and evaluate outcomes related to healthcare quality, patient-identified priorities and clinician satisfaction.
Arlene Kent-Wilkinson | University of Saskatchewan $134,827
In partnership with Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias Dementia Screening and Diagnosis for Older Persons in Custody at the Regional Psychiatric Centre
Following the initial stages of this project that included the identification and understanding of older adults in custody with dementia, the latter stages seek to: Assess the reliability and validity of two dementia screening tools in correctional settings; and move those with a dementia diagnosis out of prisons and into secure settings in their community where they can receive more focused treatment.
Shelley Kirychuk | University of Saskatchewan Kerry McPhedran | University of Saskatchewan
Lori Bradford | University of Saskatchewan Wanda Martin | University of Saskatchewan $150,000
In partnership with Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation, Lung Saskatchewan, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Hospitals Foundation of Regina and the Royal University Hospital Foundation Rural and Remote Healthcare Enhancing Wellness in our Miyo Wāskahikan
Embracing a Saskatchewan-based approach to reconciliation of housing and health on First Nations, this research aims to develop, action and evaluate a framework to address and redress on-reserve housing builds and housing maintenance. This process will bring together First Nations community leaders and members, academics, home builders and home-maintenance providers, wellness providers, training and program development providers and policy influencers in the address and redress of this significant determinant of health outcomes.
Benjamin Leis | University of Saskatchewan $150,000 Addictions Community as Cure: A Multi-Disciplinary Endocarditis Clinical (MENDO) Pathway
Embracing a collaborative effort across sectors, disciplines and specialties, this project aims to develop an evidence-informed clinical pathway for patients with Infective Endocarditis (IE) which is complicated by substance use issues. Researchers will implement the patient-centered MENDO Pathway which focuses on supporting addictions, access to health care services, and clinical follow-up. Pre- and post-implementation patient outcomes like re-admission, clinical follow-up, re-infection and mortality will be tracked in order to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach for full-system implementation.
Ivar Mendez | University of Saskatchewan Rachel Johnson | University of Saskatchewan Stacey Lovo | University of Saskatchewan Scott Adams | University of Saskatchewan $149,988
In partnership with Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation, Lung Saskatchewan, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Hospitals Foundation of Regina and the Royal University Hospital Foundation Rural and Remote Healthcare Enhancing Access to Ultrasound Services Using a Telerobotic Ultrasonography System in Rural Southern Saskatchewan
This project aims to evaluate the value and relevancy of a telerobotic ultrasonography system in a rural southern Saskatchewan community. With the support of local community members, patients and healthcare providers, researchers will deploy a telerobotic ultrasound system in Gravelbourg SK, where they will determine best practices for establishing the clinic, then evaluate its impact on patient care, ultrasound utilization and satisfaction. This project will also involve a comparative cost analysis, contrasting the use of a telerobotic clinic and a conventional clinic to which patients must travel.
Megan O'Connell | University of Saskatchewan $148,953 Virtual Care Re-imaging How Care Partner Support is Delivered by the Alzheimer Society of SK to Include Research-Supported Therapy
This project aims to improve the effectiveness of support groups for care partners of those with dementia by training Support Group Facilitators in evidence-based therapy techniques, then evaluating the impact of these skills when delivering support groups. Care partner participants within these support groups will also be consulted to determine impact and relevancy of these revised approaches.
Erika Penz | University of Saskatchewan Alexandra King | University of Saskatchewan Amanda Froehlich-Chow | University of Saskatchewan Sithokozile Maposa | University of Saskatchewan Katelyn Roberts | Sanctum Care Group Alana Cattapan | University of Waterloo $150,000
In partnership with Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) Addictions What is the Wholistic Value Produced Through Investing in Sanctum 1.5, the First HIV Prenatal Care Home in Canada?
Using Indigenous approaches to adapt a Social Return on Investment Framework, this project aims to explore the value produced through investment in Saskatoon's Sanctum 1.5: A community-based organization providing housing and support to pregnant and post-partum women living with, or at risk for, HIV. Study findings will support Sanctum 1.5's leadership to assess the feasibility of scaling up this model of care and to communicate the value of investing in Sanctum 1.5 to various stakeholders. Researchers also intend to share this adapted framework with other organizations across Saskatchewan to foster the more wholistic evaluation and enhancement of health services.
Aneesh Thakur | University of Saskatchewan Azita Hadidi | University of Saskatchewan $149,824 In partnership with Lung Saskatchewan Lung Health Vaccine-Induced Protection of the Airways Against Inhaled Pathogens: Deciphering the Design Criteria for Inhalable Subunit Vaccines
With the end goal of contributing to the development of an inhalable subunit vaccine against Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in humans, this research will use mouse models to identify the basic nanoparticle design criteria and appropriate administration of a vaccine that targets the mucosal lining of the lungs. This research will bolster the global efforts towards the induction of vaccine-induced mucosal immunity.
Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) is the provincial 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. These objectives are achieved by strengthening research capacity and competitiveness, increasing the investment in health research in Saskatchewan and aligning research with the needs of stakeholders.
Inquiries about SHRF's Solutions Program may be directed to Karen Tilsley, Director of Programs and Partnerships, at email@example.com