Four York professors have been awarded Ontario Early Researcher Awards valued at $140,000. The announcement was made by Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation. York University’s research investment of $50,000 each will match funds for the award.
The Early Researcher Awards program helps recently appointed researchers make new discoveries while creating jobs for graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research assistants.
“I would like to congratulate our early researcher awards recipients on their achievements,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “The funding provided by the ministry will help to provide them with the resources to continue to build their innovative research programs.”
Professor Farah Ahmad of the School of Health Policy and Management in the Faculty of Health will examine wait-room interactive eHealth for mental health. Timely detection and access to care for prevalent mental health illnesses remains a challenge despite availability of effective treatments. Social stigma associated with mental health illnesses leads to a delay in communicating concerns to a clinician, who reports time constraints in medical consults to identify early cues of compromised mental health. In collaboration with multiple primary care sites, the proposed research will determine whether the use of a wait-room interactive computer-assisted screening tool that generates tailored reports for patients and clinicians at the point of care would maximize the clinician detection of, and patient coping with, prevalent mental health illnesses.
Dance Professor Russ Patrick Alcedo of the Faculty of Fine Arts investigates the pivotal role that Philippine folk dance plays in the formation of Filipino identity in the Canadian diaspora. His research project, titled “An Empire Dances Back: Nationalism, Post-coloniality and the Canadian Diaspora through Philippine Folk Dance Traditions,” will look at the Filipino immigrant experience into Canada by way of this expressive cultural form. Ethnographic research among Philippine folk dance companies, multimedia projects and folk dance workshops will be produced. His project can help guide dance curriculum development, art funding policies and multicultural projects that aim for cultural exchange and complex representations of world dance traditions within the province and beyond.
Biology Professor Mark Bayfield of the Faculty of Science will examine La and La-related protein function in cellular metabolism and human disease. The normal function of human proteins is to support the healthy growth of cells. However, certain proteins can also play important roles in disease through abnormal participation in other processes. One such family of proteins includes the La and La-related proteins. Many La-associated diseases are of primary importance to Ontarians, including cancer and hepatitis C infection. However, knowledge of the mechanisms by which La proteins abnormally contribute to cancer and viral infection is severely lacking. Bayfield’s project targets this knowledge gap. By enhancing the understanding of how these contribute to disease states, the research aims to identify new therapeutic targets for disease intervention.
Nursing Professor Mary Fox of the Faculty of Health will look at understanding the needs of nurses to improve care for hospitalized older adults. In response to evidence indicating that up to 49 per cent of older adults leave hospital with declines in their functioning, Ontario health authorities committed to developing senior-friendly hospitals. Some hospitals have endorsed a function-focused model of care, yet little is known about nurses’ capacity to provide this care. Through a large provincial survey, this project examines nurses’ educational, role, inter-professional, geriatric resource and leadership needs to provide function-focused care. Informed by the survey results, the project then explores nurses’ recommendations for practical strategies to improve their ability to provide function-focused care and help older adults experience better outcomes during hospitalization.