On Thursday, January 25th, Heather Mair, a University of Waterloo professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies was appointed as a Research Chair at the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health. Heather has been given the title of Chair of Rural Community Development and Well-Being. Mair grew up in Rural New Brunswick and has a PhD in Rural Development. The majority of Heather Mair’s research and work has been in community development and the role that recreation, sport and leisure play in community involvement. She specifically likes to focus on and illustrate the social importance of these activities, which is especially evident within small towns and rural in communities. In filling this position, Heather Mair is looking forward to working within the community and helping to address some of the unique difficulties and issues of rural life through upcoming projects and potential research opportunities.
Additionally, a new partnership was made official at last week’s meeting between the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, and the G2G Rail Trail organization with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. This document forms the first step in an active, and ongoing relationship built on the common interests of the two organizations to strengthen connections between communities, bring value to rural communities, and improve the quality of life and overall health of those living in rural Ontario. The documentation of these shared interests as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding, provides a concrete prospect for future policy development, possible research opportunities and overall growth.
Click here to read the full article from the Goderich Signal Star on Gateway's New Research Chair
Click here to read the full article from the Goodrich Signal Star on Gateway's New Partnership with the G2G Rail Trail
Health starts in our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. We know that taking care of ourselves by eating well and staying active, not smoking, getting the recommended immunizations and screening tests, and seeing a doctor when we are sick all influence our health. Our health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities; the quality of our schooling; the safety of our workplaces; the cleanliness of our water, food, and air; and the nature of our social interactions and relationships.
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There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer’s, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer’s, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.
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The Rural Health Services Research Network of BC (RHSRNbc) was established in May 2010, as part of an overall strategy to improve and expand health services research within British Columbia. The RHSRNbc is built upon the BC Rural and Remote Network (BCRRHRN), which was supported by the Michael Smith Foundation from 2005 to 2010. When a new funder was secured in 2010, the network was re-established under the direction of Dr. Stefan Grzybowski, which became the RHSRNbc.
The RHSRNbc is now supported by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc), through the Joint Standing Committee (JSC), which is funded through B.C.’s Ministry of Health and B.C.’s Medical Association. The Network strives to build upon experiences learned from the pre-existing Network, while striving to generate innovative ideas and strategies to build capacity within both the Network as well as within rural health services research. The RHSRNbc’s main purpose is to support rural health services’ researchers in British Columbia, with the goal of creating a supportive infrastructure with in which to facilitate the investigation of issues relevant to the health and health services of rural communities.
The RHSRNbc takes a multi-faceted approach to supporting and facilitating rural health services research. Not only do we maintain up-to-date information to inform members of any available grants, upcoming conferences and symposia but we also host skill building workshops, knowledge translation events and hold travel bursary competitions in order to ensure our members are prepared for and successful in the realm of rural health services research.
On Friday April 28th, Gateway CERH hosted an eclectic mix of academics, health professionals, business and banking community representatives, health unit and hospital administrators, elected officials, Seaforth and Goderich family health team representatives, creative cultural community representatives and Gateway CERH Research Chairs and Board members. The gathering was held at Gateway’s new offices in the Libro building in Goderich.
The purpose of this meeting was to explore and discuss opportunities for connecting these various sectors to advance health research in rural southwest Ontario. The challenges and opportunities involved in business development in the health care field and knowledge translation to rural residents were also topics of discussion.
The theme of the day was ‘Rural Health, Rural Economy, Partners in Growth’. The guest roster included the University of Guelph (School of Environmental Design & Rural Development), Western University (Master of Public Health and Health & Rehabilitation Sciences), University of Waterloo (School of Pharmacy), South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Alexandra Marine & General Hospital, Libro Credit Union, Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity, Huron Chamber of Commerce and the Huron Public Health Unit. Also present were MP Ben Lobb and MPP Lisa Thompson. Several of Gateway’s Research Chairs attended: Dr. Feng Chang (Chair of Rural Pharmacy), Dr. Agnes Kluz (Chair of Rural Senior Wellness) and Jay McFarlan (Chair of Rural Nutrition and Exercise).
Gateway Founder, Gwen Devereaux, said “This powerhouse of knowledge forms a Rural Health Team that will deliver better health for rural residents”.
Gateway President, Dr. Agnes Kluz declared “Research is the driving force in transforming health policy, systems and practice to improve health equity of rural populations. Through its work, Gateway provides context for the needs of rural communities and an understanding of the strategies that will be most effective to address barriers to strong and healthy rural populations”.
During the meeting, two Memoranda of Understanding were signed between Gateway and the University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy and Canadian Centre of Rural Creativity. As well, two new Research Chairs were appointed; Dr. Al Lauzon (University of Guelph) as Chair of Rural Change & Development and Dr. Ryan Gibson (University of Guelph) as Chair of Rural Economic Development.
Gateway’s Board Chair, Dr. Feng Chang stated “Today is symbolic of what Gateway has accomplished over the years: forging fruitful partnerships, bringing diverse backgrounds and expertise to the table, contributing to student success, and strengthening the rural voice. We look forward to building on this milestone and charting our course ahead together”.
Following up on the Poultry Producers Lung Health Study held in Huron county, this is to provide a link to the Lung Health Questionnaire available across Canada. Rose-Marie Dolinar, a rural nurse practitioner and PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario, is co-investigator of the study. The Lung Health Questionnaire will take less than 15 minutes to complete, and all information is confidential. The survey will be available until April 14, 2017, the link to the survey can be found here. Thank you.
The Poultry Producers Chicken Classic Golf Tournament was held on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at the Seaforth Golf & Country Club. Proceeds from this tournament were generously donated to Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health.
Gateway has been collaborating with local poultry producers on a research project investigating lung health. A preliminary report of the Huron & Perth counties Poultry Producers Lung Health study was presented at the tournament.
Funding for this study was provided by The Lung Association through an Ontario Respiratory Care Society Fellowship Award. The rural lung health clinics, which included spirometry lung tests and N95 respirator fit testing, took place in Seaforth and Clinton, Ontario. Rose-Marie Dolinar, rural nurse practitioner and PhD student, and Dr. Andrew Johnson, professor and researcher in the School of Health Studies at The University of Western Ontario, were co-investigators on the project.
A presentation of the cheque, from proceeds of the golf tournament, was made to Gateway at their Board meeting held on November 25, 2016. Alex Westerhout, poultry farmer and co-organizer (along with Brian Falconer) of the Poultry Producers Golf Tournament, presented the cheque to Gateway Board members Dr. Feng Chang (Chair) and Dr. Agnes Kluz (President) with Rose-Marie Dolinar and Dr. Andrew Johnson in attendance.
Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health expressed a sincere thank you to the Poultry Producers for their significant contribution to this study, and for recognizing the value of rural health research.
Thank you to the Poultry Producers who participated in the lung health study in August 2016.
This is to remind everyone who participated, to please send in your 3-month follow-up questionnaires. This will allow for final results to be reported.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Rose-Marie Dolinar RN(EC)
Graduate Program in Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
The University of Western Ontario
Supervisor: Dr. Andrew M. Johnson
Two local Huron County Nurse Practitioners, Karen Atkinson and Stephanie Greenfield, have been gaining
expertise in rural lung health assessments for farmers. Both Karen and Stephanie completed their research
placement last year with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, as part of the University of Western
Ontario, Master of Nursing-Nurse Practitioner program, looking at best-evidence for lung health assessments. Both Stephanie and Karen have now graduated as NPs from UWO, and are hoping to continue their lung health assessments for farmers in Huron county, in their new role as primary health care nurse practitioners.
Written and photo by RM Dolinar Aug 2016
Preliminary Report of the Huron & Perth Counties Poultry Producers Lung Health study, presented at the Poultry Producers Chicken Classic Golf Tournament, Wednesday Sept 14, 2016
The Poultry Producers Lung Health pilot study was a great success, thanks to the Poultry producers of Huron and Perth counties. We completed lung health education sessions and spirometry testing for 16 farmers on August 3rd and 4th, 2016, at clinics held in Seaforth and Clinton Ontario. The success of these clinics was due in great part to support from Kelly Buchanan, Executive Director of the Huron community Family Health Team, and Kim Van Wyk, Executive Director of the Clinton Family Health Team.
All of the poultry farmers who participated in the study went through a formal N95 respirator fit-testing protocol, completed lung health questionnaires in paper and on-line formats, and received lung health spirometry testing. The spirometry report has been sent to the family physician of each participant for follow-up with their health care provider.
Preliminary results suggest that participants found that N95 fit testing confirmed that the respirators they used passed the fit-test. Participants found the on-line lung health questionnaire easy to use, when compared to the paper copy. Twenty-five percent of participants (25%) indicated that they wanted more information about respirators.
The lung health study has a final data collection in early November 2016.
Funding for this study was provided by The Lung Association through an Ontario Respiratory Care Society Fellowship Award.
The Poultry Producers Lung Health Study could not have happened without the great support of Brian Falconer and Alex Westerhout, Poultry Producers of Huron County, and Gwen Devereaux and Jim Whaley of Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health.
For further updates, please visit the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health web-site at
Brian Falconer, Jim Whaley, Rose-Marie Dolinar, Alex Westerhout, and Gwen Devereaux