A heartfelt recognition: professor awarded for cardiac research

hand holding felt heart

Faculty of Health Professor Sherry Grace received the 2022 KITE Innovation and Impact Award from the University Health Network’s KITE Research Institute for the global impact of her work in the field of cardiac rehabilitation.

Sherry Grace
Sherry Grace

The Innovation and Impact Award, bestowed by the KITE Research Institute, is dedicated to rehabilitation science and counts as one of the principal research enterprises of the University Health Network (UHN), Canada’s top medical research hospital. The award is bestowed on two scientists – one senior, one not – whose research contributions have had a major impact, whether to policies, standards, best practice guidelines, regulations, dissemination of resources to the research community, intellectual property or commercialization, or collaborations with non-academic partners.

For Grace, the award served as a recognition of how, over a more than 25-year career – 19 of them at York – she has become recognized as a global authority on cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and has been credited for an ability to transform research into solutions that help reduce mortality and disability among heart patients.

Grace has published more than 320 research papers and has been cited almost 20,000 times, placing her among the top two to three per cent most-cited researchers globally across all fields of study.

Her work has also sought to promote accessible cardiovascular rehabilitation by supporting the growth of CR programs in resource-limited settings, looking to overcome barriers to cardiac rehab participation by increasing program capacity, as well as ensuring patients are better referred and engaged.

In doing so, both her past work and the work that is yet to come has created a catalogue of impactful accomplishment that helped earn her the Innovation and Impact Award.

Philippine Studies Group offers research and publishing funds

writing in notebook

York University faculty members engaged in research and research creation related to the Philippines, or its diasporas, are invited to submit applications for funding and publication support by Tuesday, July 25.

The Philippine Studies Group (PSG) at the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) is offering up to five minor research grants worth a maximum of $4,500 each, as well as support for faculty members to publish research in the field of Philippine studies – with the number and value of the latter set to fluctuate based on the number of applications received. This opportunity is open to full-time York faculty, with a preference for early career scholars.

Available minor research and research creation grants are intended for faculty members wishing to explore subject that could include, but are not limited to: Filipino arts, history, cultures, languages, politics, society, economics and environments; Filipino Canadian relations; Filipinos in Canada; Filipinos in the diaspora; and Canadians in the Philippines. Applicants from Faculties across the University are invited to apply. Ideal applications show a clear link to Philippine studies. Where possible, applications that offer opportunities for training and professional development to undergraduate or graduate students are also welcomed.

Further grant information and applications for research and research creation can be found here.

Grants for publication support are intended to assist in covering expenses that will enable or enhance the publication of research in the field of Philippines studies. Eligible expenses include research support, indexing, artwork, copyright clearance, cartography, image reproduction, translation or copy editing. The fund might also contribute towards the cost of a publishing subvention required by a university press.

Information and applications for publishing support grants can be found here.

For further details, contact the PSG at phillipinestudiesgroup@yorku.ca or visit the YCAR website.

Undergraduate students receive Governor General’s Silver Medal

Christine Cooling, Ali Samani and Ariana Zunino

Three undergraduate students at York University have been awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal. The medal recognizes the outstanding scholastic achievements of undergraduate students in Canada. Receiving this year’s medals are dedicated community changemakers Christine Cooling, Ali Samani and Ariana Zunino.

The Governor General awards are considered the highest honour earned by exemplary Canadian scholars throughout every level of academia. This year’s recipients offered words of gratitude to their peers and mentors, and expressed what the medals mean to them, ahead of their Spring Convocation ceremonies.

Christine Cooling

Christine Cooling
Christine Cooling

Cooling is graduating from York’s Communication & Media Studies program, where she became captivated by the study of communication policy and its influence on national culture and identity. Among her accomplishments, Cooling is most proud of her undergraduate thesis, for which she “conducted a mixed-methods research study on the relations between governing Canadian culture, nation-building and contemporary broadcasting policy.”

Cooling has also been the winner of the Penny Jolliffe Scholarship, the Jerry Durlak Prize, the Reva Orlicky Memorial & Founding Friends Award, the YUFA Undergraduate Scholarship, and a position as an assistant to Associate Professor Anne F. MacLennan on multiple projected funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Cooling has recently received her own SSHRC funding as well. “I’m now a recipient of a generous SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship through York to fund my master’s studies, which I will be beginning in the fall in the joint Communication & Culture program with York University and Toronto Metropolitan University,” Cooling says. “I look forward to the prospect of contributing to an esteemed community of learners. My experience at York University has already been nothing short of wonderful.

“To be awarded the Governor General Silver Medal is the utmost honour to recognize my accomplishments and dedication to communication research over the past four years, while serving as a bright source of inspiration and motivation for a successful future in academia,” she adds.

Ali Samani

Ali Samani
Ali Samani

Samani joined York’s Department of Psychology in 2018, following closely in the footsteps of his sister Maryam Samani, who graduated that year having also received the Governor General Silver Medal for her exceptional performance throughout her undergraduate psychology studies. Inspired by Maryam, Samani promised himself to achieve the same honour.

“This medal is the culmination of that promise. It is a testament to the power of an ambitious goal, the relentless pursuit it demands and the resilience it builds. It serves as an enduring reminder that no dream is too far when pursued with determination,” Samani says.

It was that determination which led Samani to the labs of Associate Professor Jennifer Steele and former York professor Joni Sasaki, where he researched everything from cognition and perception to culture and religion. More recently, Samani worked with Assistant Professor Julie Conder, who inspired in him a love for statistics.

“Currently, I am working as a data scientist for GivingTuesday, a global nonprofit organization where I have the privilege of using my skills to drive meaningful change,” he adds. “Regarding my future plans, I am also open to exploring the multifaceted possibilities that my unique set of skills and interests offer. I am intrigued by potential pathways ranging from medicine to clinical psychology to research. My experience at York has provided me with the foundation that makes these possible, and I look forward to carrying the lessons learned into future opportunities.”

Ariana Zunino

Ariana Zunino
Ariana Zunino

Zunino will graduate with an honours BA in criminology with a humanities minor. She says the combined insights gleaned from these areas of study allowed her “to develop a critical view of the popular conceptions of criminality in our modern world and illuminate the significant impacts such erroneous beliefs can have on individual lives.”

She points to a number of extracurricular opportunities at York which contributed to her growth as a well-rounded academic, including: working with the sociology undergraduate student association to examine the impact of COVID-19 on undergraduate sociology students, enrolling in the Dean’s Ambassador Program for inspiring student leadership, and the Advancing Women’s Scholarship Program for fledgling women scholars pursuing careers in academia.

“My experience at York University can be characterized by one term: enabling.  The support I was granted by the teaching faculty and the opportunities offered by the institution all culminated to enable the progression of my dreams into a reality,” Zunino says.

“Being awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal is an immense honour, one for which I will be forever grateful.  This medal serves as a representation of the dedication and resilience I have practiced in pursuit of my education, but even more than that, it is a reminder that sacrifices do not go unrecognized,” she adds. “I begin my pursuit of a Juris Doctorate at the University of Toronto in the fall. My interest in the unique experience youth and families have with the criminal justice system has narrowed my focus to the practice of child advocacy law.  I see myself one day returning to the world of academia as a professor, and hopefully supporting future changemakers, as my professors were able to support me.”

About the awards

For 150 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals have recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements of students in Canada. They are awarded to the student graduating with the highest average from a high school, as well as from approved college or university programs. Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas, Kim Campbell, Robert Bourassa, Robert Stanfield and Gabrielle Roy are just some of the more than 50,000 people who have received the Governor General’s Academic Medal as the start of a life of accomplishment.

Today, the Governor General’s Academic Medals are awarded at four distinct levels: Bronze at the secondary school level; Collegiate Bronze at the post-secondary, diploma level; Silver at the undergraduate level; and Gold at the graduate level. Medals are presented on behalf of the Governor General by participating educational institutions, along with personalized certificates signed by the Governor General. There is no monetary award associated with the medal.