Interdisciplinary health researchers give ‘show and tell’

It was “show and tell” time last Thursday. Health researchers at York University had a chance to tell Dan Newman, Associate Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, about their projects and give him tours of their labs during a campus visit.

“There is a perception that, without a medical school, York is not active and doesn’t have anything to contribute to health research,” says Ron Pearlman, group leader of York’s health research strategic planning group and associate dean of Graduate Studies. “That’s not true.” The absence of a medical school has led to innovative and collaborative approaches to health research, adds Pearlman. “We can cross barriers and look at whole issues.” York, he says, has a long history of working with hospitals, social workers and community groups “translating basic research into applications in the community.”

That’s the message Pearlman, Marcia Rioux, director of the York Centre for Health Studies, and nine other health researchers hoped Newman would take away after he heard about their research and toured three labs: York’s Virtual Reality Lab headed by Michael Jenkin; the Centre for Mass Spectrometry Lab headed by Pearlman; and the Kinesiology and Physical Fitness Lab, headed by Norm Gledhill.


(From left, Ron Pearlman, Dan Newman, Marcia Rioux

Newman”s visit was organized by Vice-President Research and Innovation Stan Shapson”s office.

“We want the government to know that when there is health funding that York is a major contributor to health research from an academic and application standpoint,” said Pearlman. “We need the government and community to know that we can contribute to the health needs of the province and of Canada.”

Newman heard how York contributes to health research at a roundtable with Pearlman; Joan Gilmour, professor at Osgoode Hall Law School; Martin Steinbach, Atkinson psychology research professor; Kathleen Macdonald, director of Atkinson”s School of Nursing; Mary Wiktorowicz, professor in Atkinson”s School of Health Policy and Management; Steve Alsop, associate dean, Faculty of Education; Jane Irvine, psychology professor, Faculty of Arts; Lucy Gagliese and Lauren Sergio, professors in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science; and Don Newgren, chair of the Design Department, Faculty of Fine Arts. “I think the meeting was an eye-opener for Mr. Newman,” said Pearlman.