110 Niagara, Hamilton researchers presented scientific advancements on Niagara Health’s Research Day

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Published April 29, 2022 at 2:39 pm

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Numerous Brock University studies were presented on Niagara Health Research Day.

More than 100 researchers from Niagara Region and Hamilton convened yesterday to present their recent scientific findings on Niagara Health’s second annual Research Day.

Niagara Health hosted the virtual event April 28 featuring more than 50 research presentations and keynote speeches from three highly respected physicians.


First up was Dr. Kusum Menon, the Director of Pediatric Critical Care Research at the University of Ottawa. Much of her research focuses on adrenal insufficiency, an illness which occurs when the body accidentally attacks one’s adrenal glands located just above the kidneys.

As a result of these attacks the glands don’t produce enough cortisol, which aids the body is breaking down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates while controlling blood pressure.

Menon is also noted for her work in pediatric critical care and the consent process for children in medical trials. Her presentation focused on her contributions to Canadian Critical Care Trials Group (CCCTG), which she serves as Vice-Chair.

Next Dr. Darcy Fehlings, a pediatric neurologist and Senior Clinician Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute, discussed how digital databases and patient advisory committee contribute to treatment plans for children with cerebral palsy.

Then Dr. Madelyn Law an Associate Professor of Health Sciences at Brock University, presented a talk about Interprofessional Education for Quality Improvement Program (I-EQUIP). Law developed I-EQUIP, an experiential learning program, in 2012 and has worked with Niagara Health since to integrate Brock students into improvement projects.

Finally, Law moderated a panel discussion with Fehling, Manon, Dr. Johan Viljoen, Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs at Niagara Health and Andrea Scott, CEO of the Niagara Health Foundation.

Following the discussion,  Niagara Health physicians presented research update about Cardiology from Dr. Natalia Pinilla, Emergency Medicine from Dr. Suneel Upadhye, Critical Care from Dr. Jennifer Tsang and Oncology from Dr. Linda Lee.

In all some 50 poster presentation were presented on a wide variety of research topic from researchers with rock University, Niagara College, McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine – Niagara Regional Campus and Niagara Region Public Health.

For the first time Niagara Health presented research awards. The first such award, recognizing a physician’s accomplishments, went to Dr. Mohammad Refaei, a hematologist in St. Catharines

“Dr. Refaei is involved in several research projects at Niagara Health, many of which are focused on using quality improvement methods to optimize utilization of different types of resources,” Niagara Health said.

The second award, designated for staff researchers, went to Nathan Hann, a pharmacist in St. Catharines, “for his efforts in creating an education and mentoring program for clinical pharmacists that would support them in writing clinical case reports for medical literature.”

We want research to become integral to our identity where research is done by, with and for our community, and radiates outward to inform care and research in Niagara and beyond,” says Elaina Orlando, Research Manager at Niagara Health.

“We’re focused on the valuable lessons we’ve learned as a community research hospital that positions us to move forward as a learning health system. We’re enthusiastic and well-positioned to begin our transformation into a national leader for community hospital research, embracing a learning health system culture to guide us there and set us apart,” she continued.

There are currently more than 50 research projects underway from Niagara McMaster University, Brock University, St. Joseph’s Research Institute, Niagara College, Hotel Dieu Shaver Rehabilitation Centre.

Projects currently study COVID-19, standard of care radiation, reducing opioid prescriptions and two intensive care studies designed to explore a “better understand health outcomes for COVID-19 patients and the other to inform the development of a national strategy to expand clinical research in community hospitals in Canada.”

“With the help of partnerships and collaboration, we are becoming leaders in health innovation and research in Niagara and across the country,” Niagara Health said.

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