Under the tutelage of Dr. Al Lauzon from the University of Guelph, Emma Warren and Valerie Steckle did an in-depth study of Food Insecurity in Seniors in Huron, Perth, Grey and Bruce Counties. They highlighted the variety of issues that cause this serious health and economic problem. Their study included interviews with 76 health care providers and local government representatives. This is the first part of a two-year study that will continue between Gateway and Guelph University through 2020.
Dr. Lauzon praised the students' work and their work ethic. Valerie and Emma will be returning to their studies in September, Valerie to do a Master’s degree at McMaster University and Emma to continue her medical studies in Dublin Ireland. In the meantime, they have contributed valuable research into the plight of many seniors in rural areas with limited income and often must make choices between household expenses and food. It is hoped that this study will affect policy in the provision of affordable healthy food for this region’s most vulnerable residents.
Dr. Lauzon has provided the funding to employ these two students. This fulfills a goal that Gateway CERH has pursued from the outset. “We have always wanted to have rural health research conducted in our rural area by local students and health practitioners and to have it funded through regional universities,” said Gateway’s President Gwen Devereaux, “ the research dollars spent here are a direct benefit to our region and greatly assist the students in funding their education.”
Shanna Cardno worked with Gwen Devereaux and Sarah Versteeg in creating a literature review of mental health issues in the farming community. Studies and data from around the world show that the farm communities worldwide suffer from aggravated mental stress. Sarah and Shanna are developing a program to evaluate the stressors of Grey, Bruce, Perth and Huron farmers and develop some effective coping strategies. Shanna is returning to Western University to continue her studies in Health Sciences.
While Grace Bonnett was unable to be present, her insight into lung clinics for poultry farmers was a valuable piece of work that will lead to more lung function testing and mask fittings. Grace is returning to University of Toronto to continue her studies in neuroscience.
Gateway was pleased to host these four students this summer. They did remarkable work and contributed significantly to the health of our region. Gateway hopes that by continually providing summer research opportunities, our young people will feel the challenges of rural health and take an interest in returning to our area when they have completed their university education.