Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging Established
The new Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging at St. Thomas will benefit the province of New Brunswick and the campus community.
With one of the most rapidly aging populations in Canada and with 90 per cent of seniors living outside of hospitals, nursing homes, or long-term care facilities, the need for age-related research, policy analysis, and program development has become more important.
Lisa Harris, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care, announced the addition of the research chair, along with representatives from the university, The McCain Foundation, and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation.
“Research into community health and aging is absolutely vital to our government. It’s critical that we conduct research to determine the most effective ways to ensure seniors have the care and support they need and deserve,” Harris said. “I’m very excited that a Community Health and Research Chair will be joining New Brunswick’s research community, and I’m looking forward to seeing the many new topics that will be explored as a result.”
St. Thomas is uniquely qualified to house this research chair as the only university in New Brunswick to offer a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Gerontology. On campus, the chair will lead curriculum development and research, as well as provide additional experiential learning opportunities for students.
Dawn Russell, St. Thomas University President and Vice-Chancellor, said the Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging will make the university an even more important community resource in the coming years.
“Our goal at STU is to undertake scholarly research that addresses the most pressing issues confronting society,” Russell said.
“This chair will provide additional research avenues for those studying Gerontology, it will strengthen our ability to educate students on working with the aging population, and will present additional opportunities for collaboration between academic departments and between researchers from STU, the University of New Brunswick, the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital, and local nursing homes.”
Dr. Bruno Battistini, President, CEO, and Scientific Director of the NBHRF, recognized the work and research that’s been done by members of the STU community.
“St. Thomas University is at the forefront of aging research,” Battistini said. “We’re committed to bring all the expertise we can to the university staff and Gerontology department.”
The chair is being funded by The McCain Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, on behalf of the government, who are contributing $1 million over multiple years.
Potential areas for research include community health, senior-friendly communities, the perception of the aging population, healthy living, social wealth, and the impact of social isolation on emotional and physical well-being.