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Canadian health research leaders earn fellowship honours

Queen’s researchers Janet Dancey, Marcia Finlayson, and Graeme Smith have been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) Fellowship
Queen’s researchers Janet Dancey, Marcia Finlayson, and Graeme Smith have been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) Fellowship, one of the highest honours for health sciences researchers in Canada.

Queen’s University researchers Janet Dancey, Marcia Finlayson, and Graeme Smith have been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) Fellowship, one of Canada’s premier academic honours.

Three of Canada’s top-ranked health and biomedical scientists, the new fellows are working to make a positive impact on the urgent health concerns of Canadians. They join the ranks of other Queen’s CAHS Fellows, including Michael Green, Robert Ross, Anne Croy, Susan Cole, Roger Deeley, Stephen Archer, Jacalyn Duffin, John Rudan, Chris Simpson, Elizabeth Eisenhauer, and others.

“Election to the CAHS is one of the highest honours for health sciences researchers in Canada,” says Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “The contributions of Drs. Dancey, Finlayson, and Smith have  widespread impact both in Canada and internationally, and as a community of scholars, the Academy will benefit greatly from their experience and expertise.”

Dr. Dancey (Oncology) is an international leader in cancer clinical trials of experimental therapeutics, particularly trials of targeted therapies with biomarkers, as well as novel trials for rare cancer patients. As director of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG), Canada’s largest cancer trial network located at Queen’s, she has worked to advance its research strategy and expand its portfolio of trials evaluating targeted agents, immunotherapy and the application of genomics. As a professor in the Department of Oncology at Queen’s University, she has special expertise encompassing new anti-cancer drug development, linking drug and biomarker development, and associated clinical trials methodology.

Dr. Finlayson (School of Rehabilitation Therapy) is an occupational therapist and internationally recognized multiple sclerosis rehabilitation researcher. The overarching goal of her work is to improve care and quality of life outcomes for people with multiple sclerosis, particularly as they age. Through the use of mixed methods, interdisciplinary collaboration, and engagement with national and international MS organizations, Finlayson has drawn attention to the day-to-day impact of living with MS and identified effective strategies that enable people affected by this disease to exert choice and control over their everyday lives. Dr. Finlayson is Vice-Dean of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University.

Dr. Smith (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) is an internationally recognized clinician scientist and head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Queen’s University. Dr. Smith established the Academic Council at the Society for Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) to oversee educational activities ranging from medical students to residents to practicing clinicians. He has demonstrated a career long commitment to trainee research education ranging from his own basic science graduate trainees, establishing the Royal College Clinician Investigator Program at Queen’s University, running the Introduction to Research course for all first year residents and establishing mentorship recognition programs in the SOGC and his department.

The CAHS is one of Canada’s national academies, along with the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. These academies inform government and the public on issues critical to health care and health improvement.

For more information on the CAHS, visit the website.

Making sense of COVID-19 tests and terminology

Drawing of a medical professional administering a COVID-19 test

During the COVID-19 pandemic, words and phrases that have typically been limited to epidemiologists and public health professionals have entered the public sphere. Although we’ve rapidly accepted epidemiology-based news, the public hasn’t been given the chance to fully absorb what all these terms really mean.

As with all disease tests, a false positive result on a COVID-19 test can cause undue stress on individuals as they try to navigate their diagnosis, take days off work and isolate from family. One high-profile example was Ohio Governor Mike DeWine whose false positive result led him to cancel a meeting with President Donald Trump.

False negative test results are even more dangerous, as people may think it is safe and appropriate for them to engage in social activities. Of course, factors such as the type of test, whether the individual had symptoms before being tested and the timing of the test can also impact how well the test predicts whether someone is infected.

Sensitivity and specificity are two extremely important scientific concepts for understanding the results of COVID-19 tests.

In the epidemiological context, sensitivity is the proportion of true positives that are correctly identified. If 100 people have a disease, and the test identifies 90 of these people as having the disease, the sensitivity of the test is 90 per cent.

A lab technician handles a specimen that has tested positive for COVID-19
A lab technician handles a specimen that has tested positive for COVID-19. (Unsplash/Prasesh Shiwakoti)

Specificity is the ability of a test to correctly identify those without the disease. If 100 people don’t have the disease, and the test correctly identifies 90 people as disease-free, the test has a specificity of 90 per cent.

This simple table helps outline how sensitivity and specificity are calculated when the prevalence — the percentage of the population that actually has the disease — is 25 per cent (totals in bold):

Table showing number of positive and negative tests in rows, and number or disease cases (total 25,000) and disease-free cases (total 75,000) in columns, along with the sensitivity of 80 per cent and the specificity of 90 per cent.
Sensitivity and specificity at 25 per cent disease prevalence. (Priyanka Gogna), Author provided

 

A test sensitivity of 80 per cent can seem great for a newly released test (like for the made-up case numbers I reported above).

Predictive value

But these numbers don’t convey the whole message. The usefulness of a test in a population is not determined by its sensitivity and specificity. When we use sensitivity and specificity, we are figuring out how well a test works when we already know which people do, and don’t, have the disease.

But the true value of a test in a real-world setting comes from its ability to correctly predict who is infected and who is not. This makes sense because in a real-world setting, we don’t know who truly has the disease — we rely on the test itself to tell us. We use the positive predictive value and negative predictive value of a test to summarize that test’s predictive ability.

A health-care worker prepares a swab at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic. (Unsplash/Mufid Majnun)

To drive the point home, think about this: in a population in which no one has the disease, even a test that is terrible at detecting anyone with the disease will appear to work great. It will “correctly” identify most people as not having the disease. This has more to do with how many people have the disease in a population (prevalence) rather than how well the test works.

Using the same numbers as above, we can estimate the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV), but this time we focus on the row totals (in bold).

The PPV is calculated as the number of true positives divided by the total number of people identified as positive by the test.

Table showing number of positive and negative tests in rows, and columns with numbers of disease cases, disease-free cases, totals and PPV of 73 per cent and NPV of 93 per cent.
Positive and negative predictive value at 25 per cent disease prevalence. (Priyanka Gogna), Author provided

 

The PPV is interpreted as the probability that someone that has tested positive actually has the disease. The NPV is the probability that someone that tested negative does not have the disease. Although sensitivity and specificity do not change as the proportion of diseased individuals changes in a population, the PPV and NPV are heavily dependent on the prevalence.

Let’s see what happens when we redraw our disease table when the population prevalence sits at one per cent instead of 25 per cent (much closer to the true prevalence of COVID-19 in Canada).

Table showing numbers of positive and negative test results in rows, and disease cases, disease-free cases and totals in columns, along with values for sensitivity (80 per cent), specificity (90 per cent), PPV (seven per cent) and NPV (99.8 per cent)
Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV at one per cent disease prevalence. (Priyanka Gogna), Author provided

 

So, when the disease has low prevalence, the PPV of the test can be very low. This means that the probability that someone that tested positive actually has COVID-19 is low. Of course, depending on the sensitivity, specificity and the prevalence in the population, the reverse can be true as well: someone that tested negative might not truly be disease-free.

False positive and false negative tests in real life

What does this mean as mass testing begins for COVID-19? At the very least it means the public should have clear information about the implications of false positives. All individuals should be aware of the possibility of a false positive or false negative test, especially as we move to a heavier reliance on testing this fall to inform our actions and decisions. As we can see using some simple tables and math above, the PPV and NPV can be limiting even in the face of a “good” test with high sensitivity and specificity.

Without adequate understanding of the science behind testing and why false positives and false negatives happen, we might drive the public to further mistrust — and even question the usefulness — of public health and testing. Knowledge is power in this pandemic.The Conversation

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Priyanka Gogna, PhD Candidate, Epidemiology, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Kenneth Frank (Biology) receives international award for marine research

Kenneth Frank
Kenneth Frank

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has awarded its Prix d'Excellence 2020 to Kenneth Frank, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology.

Over his career, Dr. ​Frank has been a research scientist at Bedford Institute of Oceanography since 1983 as well as professor at Queen’s and Dalhousie universities, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2013.

Starting his career in fish stock assessment, Dr. Frank later focused more on ecology and ecosystem responses to fisheries and climatic changes, at both the local and global level.

In 1978 he joined the Bill Leggett's lab at Queen's, beginning a 40-year collaboration.

“Dr. Frank joined my research team days after the completion of his PhD and throughout his illustrious career, he has contributed enormously to research into management of and leadership in the area of marine resources worldwide,” says Dr. Leggett, a former principal of Queen’s University.  

A defining characteristic of Dr. Frank’s work has been its grounding in ecological theory – a focus that has made his findings widely applicable to marine, freshwater, and terrestrial systems.

His transformative research on recruitment dynamics in marine fishes was identified as a body of work that changed thinking in the field and provided profound documentation of the influence of oceanic/atmospheric variability on recruitment phenomena. His peers describe that there is “before and after" Kenneth Frank in marine ecology, stating that marine ecosystems are now perceived differently because of his research.

In the early 2000s, he led an innovative series of investigations into the dynamics of large marine ecosystems and their vulnerability to perturbation. Focused initially on the Scotian Shelf in the Northwest Atlantic, and concurrent with the historic collapse of cod and other groundfish his research led to the first documentation of a trophic cascade in a large marine ecosystem – and fundamentally accelerated and advanced knowledge of the dynamics of marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems worldwide.

“Without question receiving this award is a great honour,” Dr. Frank says. “The award is really very special to me because the ICES community was instrumental early in my career which led to many scientific collaborations and long-term friendships – like being part of a great circle for which I will be forever grateful.”  

Read the full release on the ICES website.

Research@Queen's: Fixing financial fairy tales

The Institute of Sustainable Finance based at Queen's Smith School of Business is dedicated to exploring how the many different ways in which we spend money might be adapted to reflect the principles of sustainability.

[Illustration by Gary Neill]
Illustration by Gary Neill
Discover Research@Queen’s
Did you know that the university launched a new central website for Queen’s research? From in-depth features to the latest information on how our researchers are confronting COVID-19, the site is a destination showcasing the impact of Queen’s research. Discover Research@Queen’s.

When teenaged environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressed members of the United Nations Climate Action Committee last fall, she chided them for touting “fairy tales of eternal economic growth.” Her colourful language undoubtedly captured the way many people regard the tension between the profit-seeking motives of the business community and the much broader ambitions of those who would rein in humanity’s damage to the natural world. It might seem an impossible task to resolve the many conflicts that separate these perspectives, but an initiative at Queen’s University aims to do just that.

The Institute for Sustainable Finance, which launched in November 2019, is based at Queen’s Smith School of Business. The Institute serves as the linchpin for the Canadian Sustainable Finance Network, which includes over 65 academic researchers and educators from 22 universities across the country, all dedicated to exploring how the many different ways in which we spend money might be adapted to reflect the principles of sustainability.

Continue the story on the Research@Queen’s website.

Start writing for The Conversation Canada

Scott White, Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, to host two online, interactive workshops for faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows on Sept. 17 and 21.

The importance of fact-based, expert commentary in the news has never been more apparent. The public is seeking informed information on issues important to them, particularly as the world gets accustomed to the new normal of living in a global pandemic.  

For researchers looking for an opportunity to reach the public and mobilize their knowledge, The Conversation is an ideal platform. It combines academic rigour with journalistic flair by pairing academic experts with experienced journalists to write informed content that can be repurposed by media outlets worldwide.

Global Reach

Founded in Australia in 2011, the online news platform has 11 national or regional editions with more than 112,000 academics from 2,065 institutions as registered authors whose articles attract 42 million readers monthly worldwide. The Conversation’s Creative Commons Licensing has meant that over 22,000 news outlets around the world have shared and repurposed content.

As a founding member of The Conversation Canada, over the last three years the Queen’s research community has embraced the platform as a unique tool for sharing their research expertise and engaging with the media. More than 160 Queen’s researchers have published 270 articles that have received an impressive audience of over 4.3 million via The Conversation Canada’s website. Through the platform’s Creative Commons Licensing and newswire access, dozens of major media outlets, including Maclean’sThe National PostTIME, and The Washington Post, to name a few, have republished these pieces.

For Queen’s researchers interested in learning more about the platform, University Relations and the School of Graduate Studies will host two interactive, online workshops in September. The workshops will explore the changing media landscape in Canada, why researchers should write for The Conversation, and how to develop the perfect pitch. 

Online Workshops

Faculty are invited to attend the workshop on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 10-11:30 am. Interested graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are asked to register for a specially designed workshop on Monday, Sept. 21 from 10-11:30 am that will also count towards the SGS Expanding Horizons Certificate in Professional Development. Scott White, Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, and members of his editorial team will host both workshops over Zoom. Participants are asked to bring an idea to pitch to the workshop to receive real-time editorial feedback from the team.

In order to facilitate a collaborative workshop, spaces will be limited. Please visit the Research@Queen’s website to register.

It’s time to join The Conversation

Queen’s is looking to add to its roster of authors taking part in The Conversation Canada. Faculty and graduate students interested in learning more about the platform and research promotion are encouraged to register for the September workshops or contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, for more information.

Beyond long-term care

Naturally occurring retirement communities, or NORCs, are unplanned communities that have a high proportion of older residents, and may be critical to finding housing solutions for aging Canadians.

Members of the Oasis Senior Supportive Living Program pole walking in their community.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has shown Canadians that we need to think differently about how we support older adults. The media and all levels of government have focused heavily on long-term care, and rightly so. However, the vast majority of older adults live at home and plan to remain there for as long as possible.

In a July 2020 Home Care Ontario survey of older adults, 93 per cent of the 1,000 respondents indicated their desire to stay in their own home. No one identified long-term care as part of their future housing plans. Simply put, although necessary for some, long-term care is not where most people choose to live.

It had been clear well before the pandemic that long-term care is costly and woefully inadequate to meet the needs of Canada’s aging population. It is crucial to expand the conversation to consider what other housing solutions exist and how they can be implemented.

Alternative housing models

Essential to the success and acceptability of any housing alternative is the need for older adults to maintain a sense of autonomy and independence, be actively engaged in decisions affecting themselves and their community and have the opportunity to build social networks that can ultimately support one another.

Villages and co-housing are two examples of how we can think differently. In the village model found in the United States, older adults living in a neighbourhood of single dwelling homes come together as a group to organize paid and volunteer services.

Originating in Europe, co-housing brings together younger and older adults in clusters of homes or apartments built around shared spaces. Members work together to manage common spaces and support each other through group activities such as communal dining.

Naturally occurring retirement communities

Naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) offer a third example with enormous potential. Unlike the village or co-housing models, NORCs are unplanned communities that have a high proportion of older residents.

For example, individuals in a specific neighbourhood may have aged together as a community, or an apartment building in a walkable neighbourhood may attract older adults moving from single family homes. On their own, NORCs are simply a way to describe a community’s demographic profile, however, they can be seen as a critical piece of the solution.

Researchers have referred to NORCs as “untapped resources to enable optimal aging at home” with the potential to build social networks and integrate supportive community programs. Studies have demonstrated the benefit of these communities to building social networks and increasing participation in daily activities. There are well documented examples of NORCs with social support programs in New York and other U.S. states. To date, there has been very little focus on NORCs in Canada and only a handful of documented examples.

Side-by-side maps showing significantly higher population of adults ages 55 years and older in 2016 compared to 2006
Maps of percentages of all older adults who are aged 55 years and older by dissemination areas in all of Ontario. (Paul Nguyen), Author provided

NORCs in Ontario

We examined the make-up of Ontario neighbourhoods using Statistics Canada’s dissemination areas — which are small, stable geographical areas with 400-700 inhabitants — to identify the prevalence of NORCs in the province.

Older adults at a long table working on art projects.
Social programming at one of the Oasis expansion sites. Author provided

We found the proportion of neighbourhoods with at least 40 per cent older adults (age 55 and older) dramatically increased from 8.7 per cent in 2006 to 20.1 per cent in 2016. Although the prevalence of NORCs has increased overall, NORCs vary in frequency across the province. In Central Ontario, an incredible 37 per cent of neighbourhoods are considered NORCs, whereas in the highly populated Golden Horseshoe area capping the western end of Lake Ontario, NORCs make up 14 per cent of neighbourhoods.

These findings provide a literal and figurative map on which we can plan a shift in the way we support older adults: reorienting services to focus on building socially connected NORCs, creating resource hubs in NORCs and developing NORCs as age-friendly communities. Given the anticipated growth of the older adult population over the next decade we can expect the number of NORCs to continue to increase.

A NORC Oasis

The Oasis Senior Supportive Living program is one Canadian example of how NORCs can be leveraged to bring supports to older adults. Oasis was created by older adults in one apartment building in Kingston, Ont., a decade ago and, together with a community board of directors and on-site Oasis co-ordinator, they run community activities, including physical and social activities and congregate dining in a common space donated by the building’s landlord.

Preliminary results show that Oasis increases physical activity levels and decreases social isolation, as well as leads to a decrease in use of the health-care system, particularly home-care services. Over the past two years, through a partnership between the Oasis members and board of directors, Queen’s University, and McMaster and Western universities, we have spread Oasis to six new NORCs in Ontario.

As the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions appear to be a collective reality for the near future, it is essential that we explore how to support older adults in their communities. NORCs exist, we can easily identify them and it is now time to capitalize on these as a real solution by considering NORCS as an option for how we support older adults and providing resources to strengthen existing and potential NORCs.The Conversation

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Catherine Donnelly, Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University; Paul Nguyen, Senior Analyst, ICES, Queen's University; Simone Parniak, Research Project Manager, Queen's University, and Vincent DePaul, Assistant Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Canadian research leaders

Queen’s University adds two new and two renewed Canada Research Chairs.

Queen’s University welcomed two new and two renewed Canada Research Chairs as part of the Government of Canada’s recent $140 million of Canada Research Chairs announcement. One of the country’s highest research honours, the Canada Research Chairs program advances the nation’s position as a leader in discovery and innovation Queen’s is home to over 40 Canada Research Chairs. 

Ning Lu (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Amber Simpson (School of Computing; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) are the two new Tier 2 chairs while Gregoire Webber (Law) and Dylan Robinson (Faculty of Arts and Science) are renewed Tier 2 chairs. Tier 2 Chairs are recognized as emerging leaders in their research areas and Queen’s will receive $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair. 

The research focus of the new and reviewed chairs ranges from the foundations of law and government and new approaches to treating patients with cancer to Indigenous public arts across North America and innovative resource management solutions. 

“The CRC programs allows Queen’s to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds from a diversity of disciplines,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “I look forward to seeing these new and renewed chairs further develop their research programs.” 

Dr. Lu’s (Canada Research Chair in Future Communication Networks) research recognizes the Internet of Things as an emerging network paradigm connecting billions of wireless devices. Proper network resource management will play a critical role in reaping the benefits of this emerging technology. His research will have wide-ranging applications in telecommunications from smart homes to emergency response. 

Dr. Simpson (Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Computing and Informatics) examines how we can harness the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify tailored treatments for patients with cancer. She is seeking to transform how clinicians treat patients with cancer using a data-driven approach. 

Dr. Webber (Canada Research Chair in Public Law and Philosophy of Law) is looking to enrich our understanding of the responsibilities of government, our responsibilities to each other, and our obligation to the law. 

Dr. Robinson’s (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts) research addresses how Indigenous artists are weaving their histories and futures back into the fabric of civic infrastructure by creating new public artworks. 

For more information on the program, visit the Canada Research Chairs website. 

Four professors receive one of the highest Canadian academic honours

Royal Society of Canada elects two Queen’s University researchers as Fellows, and two to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Four Queen’s University researchers have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada, which is one of the highest recognitions for Canadian academics in the arts, humanities, and the social and natural sciences. Nancy van Deusen, and Cathleen Crudden were elected to the Fellowship of the academy, while Amy Latimer-Cheung and Awet Weldemichael were named members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

The newest Fellows from Queen’s have a wide range of research interests including women and gender history, and organic chemistry.

The newest members of the College of Scholars from Queen’s have done exemplary research in the promotion of physical activity and history of colonialism and national movements in Africa and Southeast Asia,

The Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada comprises more than 2,000 Canadian scholars, artists, and scientists, peer-elected as the best in their field. These are distinguished academics from all branches of learning who have made contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life.

The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership.

Queen’s is proud to be home to over 90 members of the Fellowship and 11 members of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

“Queen’s is renowned for excellence in research and teaching, in part thanks to the contributions of faculty members like these,” says Patrick Deane, Queen's Principal and Vice-Chancellor.  “Recognized by their peers, this honour reflects outstanding leadership in research and the significant contributions they have made to their respective disciplines.”

The four Queen’s scholars are:

Nancy Van DeusenNancy van Deusen’s (History) research in women and gender history, the histories of African and Indigenous slavery, and early modern Catholicism have earned her a place as one of the most distinguished colonial Latin Americanists in North America today. Her meticulous research and thought-provoking analyses have led to innovations in the classroom and in scholarship, providing a more nuanced portrayal of previously under-represented groups.

Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) has made lasting contributions to organic chemistry and materials science. She has employed the principles of organometallic chemistry to develop catalytic transformations of importance to pharmaceutical research and to develop novel techniques for the formation of organic monolayers on metal surfaces. The latter work has resulted in the most robust organic monolayers to date, high stability nanoparticles and novel metal nanoclusters. 

Amy Latimer-Cheung (Kinesiology and Health) is acclaimed for her research which encourages people to be more physically active. She is particularly interested in increasing participation among people with a disability by creating positive activity experiences. A direct translation of her research into practice, Dr. Latimer-Cheung is the Executive Co-Director of Revved Up, an exercise program for people with a disability.

Awet Weldemichael  (History) is an internationally sought-after speaker in academia and media. His research focuses on colonialism, decolonization, revolutions, nationalist movements, peace, conflict and security studies relevant to Africa and Southeast Asia, specifically, modern and contemporary Horn of Africa and island Southeast Asia. His recent award-winning book, Piracy in Somalia, examines the root causes, dynamics and consequences of piracy in Somalia.

The four Queen’s researchers will be inducted at the Royal Society of Canada's annual Celebration of Excellence and Engagement in November. For more information, visit the Royal Society of Canada website.

Fighting for change

Policy paper for anti-racism in hockey developed by two Queen’s University researchers is gaining momentum.

A recent paper authored by Queen’s University researchers Courtney Szto and Sam McKegney is back in the news again after the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball recently postponed games in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Policy Paper for Anti-Racism in Canadian Hockey calls on hockey organizations and governments to enact policy changes to invigorate the need for re-education of coaches, parents, players, and officials on the importance of anti-racism, and to promote strategies for making hockey culture safer, more inclusive, and more accountable for its practices. 

During a segment on Sportsnet after the NHL postponed several playoff games, host Ron MacLean highlighted the paper while in conversation with fellow broadcaster Harnarayan Singh. It was also featured on In Conversation with Ron MacLean where Dr. Szto was joined by Olympic sprint champion Donovan Bailey to discuss racism and moving forward as a society. 

“Am I happy with the coverage it has received – yes. Am I happy with the change it has fostered – not yet,” says Dr. Szto (Kinesiology and Health Studies). “We had meetings with Hockey Canada and Bauer in July and have had ongoing meetings with the Minister of Heritage's Office. The paper has been downloaded over 4,500 times to date and has been widely read but it seems like people still have questions about what they should be doing instead of tweaking the recommendations so they fit their organization. If people can make one change this season and add another next season then we encourage them to do so, but we need to see action in some form.” 

The calls to action include: 

  • All levels of government and hockey administrative bodies to publicly adopt and enforce Calls to Action 87 to 91 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 
  • Implementing modules addressing intercultural competency, conflict resolution, and anti-racism in sport to be included in certification for coaches, administrators, billets, and officials 
  • Hockey Canada instituting a “duty to report” with relation to all incidents of suspected racism and track those incidents over time to establish objectives with regards to the elimination of such incidents
  • The Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities creating an external oversight body which sole purpose is to receive and investigate claims of racial, sexual, homonegative, and gendered abuse/discrimination, and to advocate for claimants
  • Calling upon Hockey Canada to implement a system to collect numbers on the participation of racialized groups in hockey in order to monitor demographic changes and trends
  • Asking Hockey Canada to allocate a percentage of the budget to support Indigenous hockey in Canada 

“Racist incidents occur time and time again, and the hockey community is righteously appalled—but then attention fades and it’s back to business as usual, with no substantive structural or systemic change,” says Dr. McKegney (English Language and Literature). “We’re advocating for practical, actionable changes we believe will not only make hockey more inclusive but will help unlock the game’s potential as an instrument of positive social change.” 

The paper was developed during a Roundtable on Racism in Hockey hosted at Queen’s. Drs. Szto and McKegney worked in collaboration with Michael Auksi (PhD student, McGill University) and Bob Dawson (Senior Sportswriter, Boxscore World Sportswire). 

Queen’s researchers receive more than $600,000 from SSHRC

The funded projects involve a range of research, including investigating the building blocks of constructing gender and race in primary education, and testing for independent experts to improve Canada’s federal transfer system.

A total of 12 Queen’s University researchers are recipients of nearly $610,000 in combined funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant program. Part of the  Insight and Partnership Grants suite, the programs are designed to support research projects across a range of disciplines in their early stages and build knowledge and understanding about people, societies, and the world.

The projects being funded at Queen’s involve a range of research, including investigating the building blocks of constructing gender and race in primary education and testing for independent experts to improve Canada’s federal transfer system.

“With a number of these grants going to early-career researchers at the university, this program provides the opportunity to develop our talent at Queen’s,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “The funded projects approach societal challenges in creative and innovative ways and, ultimately, will provide better insight into the world around us.”

This year’s successful recipients include:

Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin (Geography and Planning) Youth, Labour and Neoliberal Urban Transformation in Ibadan, Nigeria, $72,636

Ragavendran Gopalakrishnan (Smith School of Business) Behaviour-Aware Queueing Models for Smart Service Operations, $60,100

Eun-Young Lee (Kinesiology and Health Studies) No Level Playing Field: Towards Quantifying Intersectionality in Large-scale Population Studies, $50,026

Nora Fayed (School of Rehabilitation Therapy) Wellbeing Priorities for Children with Highly Complex Disabilities and their Parents, $38,097

Colin Grey (Law) Humanitarianism and the Justification of Deportation for Criminality, $41,742

Kyle Hanniman (Political Studies) Popular Support for Unpopular Reforms:  Testing the Potential of Independent Experts to Improve Canada’s Federal Transfer System, $46,032

Alyssa King (Law) Travelling Judges, Moonlighting Arbitrators, and Global Common Law, $27,370

Reena Kukreja (Global Development Studies) Undocumented South Asian Male Migrants in Greece: Understanding Masculinity, Love and Work in Troubled Times, $53,529

Jeremy Stewart (Psychology) Unpacking Suicide Capability: Refining the Definition and Measurement of Fearlessness about death, $72,972

Kristy Timmons (Education) Inequity at the Starting Line: The Influence of Teacher Expectations, Beliefs and Practices on Learning Outcomes in Kindergarten, $61,446

Dan Cohen (Geography and Planning) Financing Social Progress: Market-making and Canada’s Social Finance Fund, $46.739

Sumon Majumdar (Economics) Do Immigrants Face Barriers in Access to Local Public Services in Canada?   $43,576

Through the 2019-2020 competition, SSHRC has awarded over $32 million to more than 1,045 researchers from 69 Canadian institutions.

Insight Development Grants support research in its early stages. They enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches or ideas. Funding is provided to individuals or teams for projects of up to two years.

For more information visit, the SSHRC website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities  listserv. 

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