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Research domains

Research conducted within the Faculty of Health Sciences is described by six research domains, also known as research pillars. Follow the hyperlinks to view domain summaries and links to faculty members conducting research in each area:

Research domains

  1. Promoting health in vulnerable individuals/groups: personal, social, environmental and global determinants of health.
  2. Integrated approaches to the identification, understanding, prevention and management of complex chronic conditions and disabilities.
  3. Improving quality and safety of care through interprofessional collaborative practice, health human resources supply and services, and health informatics.
  4. Advancing the study of human health and movement through biological, clinical and community research.
  5. Critically inquiring into the human health experience.
  6. Designing, implementing and evaluating pedagogical strategies and innovative teaching and learning tools

Research domain summaries

1. Promoting health in vulnerable individuals/groups: personal, social, environmental and global determinants of health.

Vulnerability refers to poor health outcomes attributed to biological, socioenvironmental, cultural and structural factors[i]. Research along these lines examines the social and health issues of diverse individuals, groups and populations by situating them in historical, political, economic and cultural contexts. It encompasses social capital, social determinants of health, social epidemiology and environmental factors. Research includes:

  • cancers
  • chronic illnesses
  • food policy
  • food security
  • infectious diseases
  • mental and sexual health
  • public and population health

Core faculty contacts:

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2. Integrated approaches to the understanding, identification, prevention and management of complex chronic conditions and disabilities.

An integrated approach to chronic conditions across the lifespan incorporates the continuum of acute, primary, secondary and tertiary care to identify and address all major common risk factors across the lifespan. Research includes:

  • applied exercise physiology
  • biomechanics of chronic conditions 
  • caregiver burden
  • health-related quality of life
  • how social conditions shape the management and self-management of the chronic disease or disability
  • neurophysiology
  • role of food and nutrition in chronic disease (i.e., nutritional genomics and functional foods)

Core faculty contacts:

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3. Improving quality and safety of care through interprofessional collaborative practice, health human resources supply and services, and health informatics.

This area of research focuses on improving care through studies in accountability, mobility (i.e., mobile apps), interprofessional education and care, and health policy analysis. Leading-edge research in health informatics consists of studies in:

  • clinical information systems
  • data mining
  • high-frequency data stream processing and storage
  • organizational culture
  • patient journey modelling
  • remote patient care

Core faculty contacts:

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4. Advancing the study of human health and movement through biological, clinical and community research.

Biological research involves research in the areas of:

  • biochemistry
  • human neurophysiology
  • kinesiology
  • microbiology
  • molecular biology
  • pathophysiology with applications to clinical practice

Community research provides a platform to engage in collaborative, capacity-building health research projects with community partners, leading to strengthened partnerships and integrated-knowledge translation.

Core faculty contacts:  

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5. Critically inquiring into the human health experience.

Experiential research puts the lived experience of human beings and the nature of the world they construct and in which they live at the centre of the process of inquiry. A fundamental tenet of this approach is that being seen and being heard matter in the human health experience. Interpretive and narrative inquiry are examples of research methods supporting this focus.

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6. Designing, implementing and evaluating pedagogical strategies and innovative teaching and learning tools facilitated by evidence-based research and health science student experience.

Faculty members are frequently exploring new and innovative methods of course delivery, especially to correspond with the technology-enriched learning environment provided at the university. Curriculum development is focused on the student experience and is evaluated to improve teaching methods and to support the accreditation process for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) and Medical Laboratory Science programs. A number of teaching and learning tools utilizing technology-enhanced strategies for delivery of health science education for students and learners in the surrounding community and beyond have been developed in the faculty, evaluated positively by students, and shared at national and international conferences.

Core faculty contacts:

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Canadian Institutes for Health Science Research (CIHR), 2007. Reducing Health Disparities and Promoting Equity for Vulnerable Populations Strategic Initiative (archived).

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