Four research grants of $10,000 each have been awarded by the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention (IHLCDP) at UBC's Okanagan campus to support collaborative community research projects aimed at improving the health and well-being of Okanagan residents.
The projects address community issues such as:
- Preventing marijuana and tobacco use among middle school students
- Improving the quality of life for obese people awaiting laparoscopic gastric banding surgery
- Enhancing mobility of older adults in rural communities
- Improving the health and well-being of men who have sex with men in the B.C. Interior
The money was given as part of the IHLCDP Research Interest Group (RIG) Grant Initiative.
"I think that it's really a win-win," says IHLDCP Director Joan Bottorff. "The university provides people who have particular skills, knowledge and research interests that are to the advantage of community members who have issues or questions they want to explore.
"And people in the community have extensive knowledge and expertise about community issues -- specifically in regards to what's needed, what's relevant and what's possible -- that can feed into that research. So both groups have important strengths that in collaboration can lead to some incredible projects."
The objectives of the IHLCDP RIG grants are to strengthen existing collaborations between researchers and individuals while stimulating the development of new collaborations between academic researchers and individuals based in the community.
In addition, they aim to 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.
"In many ways research on healthy living and chronic disease prevention isn't the kind of research that can be done in a lab on campus," says Bottorff. "The community is our laboratory, and collaborations are essential if we want to address relevant community issues and make the research applicable."
Bottorff says information is more likely to be used when community members are involved in the research in a meaningful way.
"This allows us the best chance of having our research actually make a real difference in health and well-being."
For more information contact the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention at 250-807-8072 or visit the Institute's website: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/ihlcdp.
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