MIRA | Collaborative for Health & Aging webinar series: Pivoting a large-scale aging research initiative due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Join us Friday, February 26 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. ET for the first MIRA | Collaborative for Health & Aging webinar, “Pivoting a large-scale aging research initiative due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Click here to register.

During this webinar, Dr. Brenda Vrkljan and Dr. Marla Beauchamp will describe the early steps and strategies implemented by their multidisciplinary research team to pivot their large-scale aging and mobility study in the wake of COVID-19 and the corresponding health measures in place. Using examples from their work, they will highlight how partnering with older adults and other stakeholders can ensure the research conducted is relevant, meaningful, and scientifically impactful – even in these uncertain times. This webinar will also invite attendees to share their tips and strategies for conducting research during the pandemic.

The overall aims of the MIRA | Collaborative for Health & Aging webinar series, led by Dr. Vrkljan, are to highlight the research on aging at McMaster University across several health research topic areas and disciplines, with a focus on patient engagement tools and resources and the impacts of patient-oriented research in aging. The webinar series is aimed at researchers and trainees, including other OSSU Centres and SPOR-funded entities, researchers from other institutions, older adult research partners, community partners, knowledge users and stakeholders interested in research in aging and patient-oriented research in aging.

Objectives of the webinar series are to:

  • Enhance the awareness, knowledge, and skills of diverse audiences (e.g., researchers, community partners involved in research, older adult research partners, trainees, health decision-makers, other OSSU Centres) to conduct patient-oriented research in aging.
  • Facilitate partnerships and collaborations across diverse audiences and showcase ongoing opportunities for multidisciplinary research and engagement opportunities in aging.
  • Simulate a virtual panel discussion and create an interactive online discussion for diverse audiences to share their perspectives, successes, and challenges as well as key results in all aspects of their research in aging, implementation of research in aging, and patient engagement tools and frameworks on research in aging.
  • Foster knowledge generation, exchange, and translation across multiple research areas in aging and for diverse audiences, with a focus on capacity building, patient-oriented research, and issues in equity, diversity and inclusion.

Click here for more details on this webinar series.

McMaster receives $1M to lead COVID-19 evidence network

Published: January 13, 2021

To ensure decision-makers have access to the best COVID-19 science in a timely manner, the federal government is investing $1 million to support the COVID-19 Evidence Network to support Decision-makers (COVID-END) hosted at McMaster University.

The network, led by MIRA Collaborative member, John Lavis will bring together experts to collaborate and rapidly synthesize the best available evidence across the full breadth of Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

By providing timely access to the latest research on public health measures, clinical management, health-system arrangements, and economic and social impacts, policymakers will better understand the impact that these measures have on Canadians’ health and safety.

In announcing the grant, federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, said: “Our response to COVID-19 has always been informed by the latest science and evidence, which we get from our internationally-respected Canadian researchers. 

“Through the COVID-19 Evidence Network, our best and brightest will work with provincial, national and international partners so that decision-makers get the information we need to keep Canadians safe throughout the next phase of this pandemic. Through this network, we will ensure that Canada continues to be a global leader in COVID-19 research.”

Lavis, who is also a McMaster professor of health research methods, evidence, and impact, said the network will work with Canadian and international partners to better develop and coordinate groundbreaking research on COVID-19, while reducing the duplication of efforts so experts can focus on the latest research and developments to keep Canadians safe.

“The COVID-19 Evidence Network will use a highly collaborative approach to rapidly synthesizing the best available evidence about key COVID-19 topics – in timelines ranging from four hours to 10 days – in response to requests from decision-makers,” said Lavis.

“The network will identify emergent issues where synthesized evidence is needed as well as profile the best available evidence syntheses on all key COVID-19 decisions. We will work with both domestic and international partners to reduce duplication and enhance coordination in the COVID-19 evidence response.”

The Canadian government is supporting the COVID-19 Evidence Network through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) so they may provide the latest evidence to decision-makers at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels.

Formation of the network also recognizes that while the arrival of vaccines brings hope for the eventual ending of the pandemic, there are still critical knowledge gaps that must be filled to further support ongoing decision-making as we respond to this virus to keep Canadians safe.

“The COVID-19 Evidence Network will focus on synthesizing the evidence we already have and identifying evidence gaps that exist,” said Michael Strong, CIHR president.

“The network will use a highly collaborative approach to rapidly synthesizing evidence for improved decision-making. To ensure sensitivity to how COVID-19 and COVID-19 responses can affect different groups in different ways, the network will apply principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in all of its work.”

Co-leads with Lavis on the network are Jeremy Grimshaw from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Andrea Tricco of the SPOR Evidence Alliance, which is based at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto, and Nancy Santesso of Cochrane Canada, based at McMaster University. Lavis also holds the Canada Research Chair in Evidence-informed Health Systems.

The network will build on nine months of experiences in preparing COVID-19 rapid evidence profiles and on many years of experience with the SPOR Evidence Alliance and Cochrane Canada in preparing rapid evidence syntheses, said Lavis.

The project will maintain a publicly available inventory of the best evidence syntheses for COVID-19 decisions to ensure that Canadian decision-makers have the most updated science available when needed, and will establish a Canadian panel to complement its existing global horizon-scanning panel that monitors emerging issues where evidence syntheses are needed.

This article was first published by the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University. Read the original article

Partnering principles and strategies: A guidance document

The following guidance document is to be used to plan for and involve Patient, Caregiver, and Public Research Partners in the activities and projects facilitated by the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) | Collaborative for Health & Aging. Bellow, we outline the core principles that should guide the involvement of Patients, Caregivers and Public Research Partners in activities of the Collaborative and the best practices for carrying this out.

Our Researchers

Julia Abelson

Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

Carol Bassim

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact

Marla Beauchamp

Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Science

Sandra Carroll

Executive Director, Associate Professor, School of Nursing

Andrew Costa

Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Lisa Dolovich

Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine

Kathryn Fisher

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Rebecca Ganann

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Lauren Griffith

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact

Sharon Kaasalainen

Professor, School of Nursing

Larkin Lamarche

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine

John Lavis

Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

Jinhui Ma

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

Dee Mangin

Professor, Department of Family Medicine

Maureen Markle-Reid

Scientific Director, MIRA | Collaborative for Health & Aging

Kalpana Nair

Research Associate, School of Nursing

Alexandra Papaioannou

Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine

Jenny Ploeg

Professor, School of Nursing, Department of Health , Aging and Society

Parminder Raina

Scientific Director, MIRA | Collaborative for Health & Aging

Diana Sherifali

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Jean-Éric Tarride

Associate Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

Brenda Vrkljan

Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science 

Michael Wilson

Associate Professor,  Department of Health Evidence and Impact