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Critical role

Grenfell Campus's Aging Research Centre consolidates aging expertise

By Melanie Callahan

Important research about aging is taking place in the province since the Aging Research Centre-N.L.

The centre opened its doors at Grenfell Campus in December 2018.

The facility, titled the Aging Research Centre (ARC-N.L.), has an auxiliary site in St. John’s. It is led by a core leadership team directed by Dr. Veronica Hutchings, a clinical psychologist at Grenfell, whose area of expertise is in aging.

The pilot project was funded by an investment of $300,000 from the federal government while Memorial University is contributing approximately $300,000.

“The centre will play a critical role in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a rapidly aging population is one of the highest proportions of individuals over the age of 65 in its population in all of Canada,” said Dr. Jeff Keshen, vice-president, Grenfell Campus, during the opening of the research centre.

“ARC-N.L. researchers and knowledge mobilizers will be positioned to inform decision-making and service provision by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and other health-related organizations.”

Partnerships and research

The centre has brought together a number of researchers.

Its core leadership team members are Dr. Benjamin Zendel, professor and Canada Research Chair-Aging and Auditory Neuroscience; Dr. Kelly Vodden, associate vice-president (research) and graduate studies, Grenfell Campus; and Dr. Stephen Bornstein, professor and director, N.L. Centre for Applied Research.

From left are Tiffany Hillier, Dr. Kelly Warren and Dr. Veronica Hutchings. On the screen in St. John’s are Dr. Benjamin Zendel, Michael Grant, Samantha Carew, Dr. Sukhinder Cheema, Dr. Karen Parsons, Abhinaba Ghosh and Marie-Ann Wasef.
Photo: Submitted

A number of experts from around the province and beyond are also working to facilitate partnerships and catalyze new research initiatives in the area of aging in the province and in small-town, rural and remote communities more broadly.

The centre is co-ordinated in two sites: Grenfell Campus by Dr. Karen Doody and at Memorial’s St. John’s campus by Dr. Sharon Buehler.

ARC-N.L. recently held its first call for proposals and awarded more than $68,000 in research dollars, providing funding to seven different Memorial University principal investigators. The breadth and scope of the research is significant and includes health care, social issues, medication use and recreation.

May 7-8: Building the ARC-N.L.

The projects are expected to last a duration of 15 months. All researchers are scheduled to come together at the first annual general meeting and conference scheduled for May 7-8, 2020.

The conference, titled Building the ARC-N.L., will be organized in conjunction with SeniorsNL and will aim to continue to build a critical mass of researchers and community members committed to growing aging research in the province.

The event will help foster its relationship with researchers and community members at large as the centre grows and works towards becoming a permanent centre.

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