General / Research

Researchers do Matter

If we reflect on the evolution of a discipline, be it Biology, Sociology, Medicine or Physiotherapy, there is often found, close to the start, hints of research, investigations or a little detective work. Maybe a small hint, but it was happening and continues to be the backbone of many disciplines. Whether it was an observance in the lab, a quick encounter with a patient, or a social movement, people decided to re-search. Does the result make sense based on what others have found? Is the effect repeatable? Does it have applicability to other cases or samples or populations? Can it help me understand how to move to the next phase or if I should move on to the next phase?


Our population demographic is changing in Canada and we are not experiencing this alone in the world. Unfortunately, this shifting demographic is putting new demands on our Health Care Systems; demands that when we re-search, we have difficulty finding precedent, or evidence to find the best way forward. Here in Nova Scotia, we are rather unique in the Canadian Health Care landscape. We have the oldest population in the country, the highest proportion of the population reporting chronic health conditions, with Arthritis being at the top or very close. See previous blog post on how unique we are here in NS when it comes to total joint replacements.

How do we fix this? Have faith in research and support!

We have many people come and help us out in our lab (the Joint Action Research Lab) attempting to understand how joints work, how we can challenge them and keep people active as we try and unravel the implications of osteoarthritis on how people move. Many of them ask who pays for all the equipment and the research? Some assume that the university takes care of all this. While partly true, it is not close to the whole story. When I say that the equipment came from a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Award and supported by the Nova Scotia Research Innovation Trust, they often look at me like I have two heads. To further this, when I mention that the day-to-day operations of the study, assistance for our graduate students, research engineers, sonographers etc. comes from grants we apply for with anywhere from a 5-20% success rate, heads really begin to turn! Refer to a previous blog post dated (3 years ago) for information on this process…things have not really changed.

Here in Nova Scotia we have the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) helping to fund health research initiatives in the Province. Until this day, when I ask research participants if they have heard about NSHRF, 9 times out of 10 the answer is NO…Who are they?

NSHRF is currently running a social media campaign #researchersmatter to increase awareness of the great work health researchers are doing here in the Province. For the month of October, the work we are doing here in the JAR lab was highlighted (REPORT). For us researchers, we could run an equally important campaign entitled #NSHRFmatters. While research does matter, so do our provincial initiatives toward supporting health research. If you haven’t already, please visit the NSHRF website to find out just how much they do for Nova Scotia. Change is in the wind. Research matters… Health research matters to Nova Scotia!

Bye for now.


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