Two community health research initiatives have each received grants of $10,000 from UBC Okanagan’s Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention (IHLCDP). The funding is part of the Institute’s new Research Interest Group (RIG) Grant Initiative.
“The main mandate of the Institute is to partner with the community on research that would enable healthy living and prevent chronic disease,” says Joan Bottorff, director of the IHLCDP. “We are taking our research into the community, as opposed to keeping it here on campus, so we can work with people on the front lines to figure out what research questions are the most important to our region, and how our research findings can be applied to enhance people’s lives.”
Working with Tanis Coletti of Interior Health, UBC Okanagan researchers Carole Robinson, associate Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Development, and Meredith Lilly, research associate in psychology, will use the $10,000 for their RIG project aimed at supporting the health and well-being of rural and urban caregivers.
The goal is to better understand the needs of caregivers, who often sacrifice their own health and self-care to provide care to their loved ones, and design interventions to enhance and promote their health.
The other research interest group, co-led by Casey Hamilton of Interior Health and UBC Okanagan researcher and geographer Jon Corbett, will use the grant for a project that builds on and refines an existing map of food-related resources in the region.
The project will produce a comprehensive Food Systems Map (FSM) of the region using technology called GeoWeb, which merges geographic data with traditional data on the Internet. They’re using GeoWeb to encourage the active participation of community members, increase awareness and interest in food-related issues, and to promote FSM as a collaborative web map. The project will also build capacity in the design, development and use of GeoWeb tools among members of the group.
The objectives of the IHLCDP RIG grants are to:
- Strengthen existing collaborations between academic researchers and individuals based in the community who are interested in being involved in research
- Stimulate the development of new collaborations between academic researchers and individuals in the community who are interested in being involved in research
- Build capacity for community-based health promotion research
- Foster the use of knowledge in ways that benefit individuals, families and communities and reduce the burden of chronic disease
“Research collaborations such as this have significant impacts upon our communities,” says Tom Fulton, chief of professional practice, nursing and quality improvement with Interior Health. “Not only do they strengthen the bonds between our staff and academic researchers, but the initiatives also provide us with evidence that supports decision-making.”
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