McMaster University

McMaster University

Nursing school celebrates commitment to research on healthy aging

By Amanda Boundris

Catherine Tompkins speaks to Maureen Markle-Reid and Professor Jenny Ploeg
Catherine Tompkins, associate dean, Health Sciences and director, School of Nursing, speaks to Associate Professor Maureen Markle-Reid, centre, and Professor Jenny Ploeg at the celebration of Markle-Reid becoming the first Canada Research Chair in the School of Nursing and the establishment of the new Aging, Community and Health Research Unit.

The McMaster School of Nursing is celebrating its first-ever Canada Research Chair, along with significant funding received for the new Aging, Community and Health Research Unit.

Associate Professor Maureen Markle-Reid and Professor Jenny Ploeg were the guests of honour for an event on June 18 in the Farncombe Atrium.

Markle-Reid was recently named Canada Research Chair in Aging, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion Interventions. Her research will focus on promoting optimal aging at home for older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC) and to support their family caregivers. To achieve this, Markle-Reid will design, evaluate and translate new and innovative community-based interventions to improve access to health care, quality of life, and health outcomes in this population, while reducing the demand for expensive health services, like hospital admissions.

It was also recently announced that Markle-Reid and Ploeg will receive $3.3 million over three years from Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to help fund the new Aging, Community and Health Research Unit, which they will co-lead. The focus of their research will be much the same as that under Markle-Reid’s new Chair position.

Their research program is made up of seven interrelated studies to be conducted in Ontario and Alberta, focusing on the prevention and management of MCC. Specifically, the studies will target seniors with MCC who have dementia, Type 2 diabetes and/or stroke, as these conditions tend to co-exist and are considered among the most prevalent chronic diseases amongst seniors.

"With the population aging at an unprecedented rate, improving quality of life for seniors as they age and keeping them out of hospitals has become a major public health priority," said Catherine Tompkins, associate dean of Health Sciences and director, School of Nursing.

"This event is an opportunity for our school to demonstrate our commitment to research in this area and to celebrate the success we’ve had in securing the first Canada Research Chair in the history of our school, as well as the major funding that will allow Dr. Markle-Reid, Dr. Ploeg and their colleagues to advance our understanding of what it means to be aging well in our society," she added.

"The establishment of a Canada Research Chair is a testament of the high level of commitment to research and scholarship in the field of aging and community care by the School of Nursing, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the university," said Markle-Reid.

"I’m just thrilled to have this opportunity to work on this project and research that I feel so passionate about," said Ploeg.

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