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Research Prominence

Offering insight to address health care challenges

Richard Reznick
Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Richard Reznick, was appointed to the Premier's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine on Wednesday, Oct. 3. (University Communications) 

Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's, is one of 11 leading experts appointed as members of the Premier's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Members of the Premier's Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine
• Dr. Rueben Devlin, Special Advisor and Chair
• Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Professor and Dean, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto
• Connie Clerici, CEO, Closing the Gap Healthcare
• Barb Collins, President and CEO, Humber River Hospital
• Michael Decter, President and CEO, LDIC Inc.
• Peter Harris, Barrister and Solicitor
• Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO, The Ottawa Hospital
• Kimberly Moran, CEO, Children's Mental Health Ontario
• David Murray, Executive Director, Northwest Health Alliance
• Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences at Queens University
• Shirlee Sharkey, President and CEO, Saint Elizabeth Health

The announcement was part of a broader Ontario Government proposal to address challenges within the Ontario health care system, including hospital wait times and the lack of available beds.

“There are dramatic needs to improve our performance in healthcare, including ending hallway medicine,” says Dr. Reznick. “These are complex challenges that will require broad vision, creative thinking, and dogged determination. As Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, I see on a daily basis both the strengths and weaknesses of our system, and am very excited to be a part of the Premier's Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine that will help us move forward in delivering the best possible care to our patients across Ontario.”

Under the leadership of Rueben Devlin – who was named chair of the council and special advisor to the premier on healthcare following the election – the council will recommend strategic priorities and advise on actions that can be taken to improve Ontario's health outcomes and improve patient satisfaction, while making Ontario's health care system more efficient. The council members include representatives from academia, as well as the legal and hospital administration communities.

Dr. Reznick is one of two members of the council with a Queen’s connection, along with Humber River Hospital President and CEO, Barb Collins (MBA’05).

Since being appointed dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2010, Dr. Reznick has worked to strengthen relationships with Kingston Health Sciences Centre, while leading the development of new programs and approaches to differentiate Queen’s medical education. Under his leadership, the Queen’s School of Medicine launched Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) – Canada’s first and only direct admissions track for high school students.

More recently, Queen’s became the first medical school in Canada to institute a Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME) model of medical residency training across all specialties. CBME transitions from a time-based means of measuring skill-development, to one that focuses on the ability of a medical resident to achieve competency in completing clinical tasks. Through more individualized learning and assessment, the program aims to help the next generation of medical residents become better physicians.

“During his tenure as dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Reznick has been at the forefront of the development of innovative programs and approaches to medical training and assessment,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf. “I have every confidence that his ability to find new approaches to long-standing challenges will serve him and the Premier’s Advisory Council well.”

For more information on the announcement, visit the Government of Ontario newsroom.

Beauty of research resonates on campus

  • Art of Research photo exhibit
    Photos from the Art of Research contest are featured in a travelling, pop-up photo exhibit currently being held on the first floor of Stauffer Library.
  • Art of Research building banner
    New building banners highlighting Queen's research were recently placed on prominent buildings, including Stauffer Library and Grant Hall.
  • Art of Research light post pennants
    A series of four pennants, featuring photos from the Art of Research contest, adorn the light posts along University Avenue.

Every day impactful, cutting-edge research is being conducted at Queen’s and the university wants everyone to know about it.

Enter a new multi-faceted campaign on campus aimed at promoting and celebrating the groundbreaking work of the university’s researchers.

“Research is core to the foundation of Queen’s as an institution, yet much of the work takes place where it isn’t easily accessible to the public – in labs, archives, and in the field,” says Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives. “While many of our research promotion initiatives are aimed at external stakeholders, the goal of this campaign is to showcase the breadth and impact of our research to the Queen’s and Kingston communities, while at the same time adding a little more beauty to campus.”

Other building banners and light pole pennants around campus are highlighting a pair of celebrations – the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Education and the 125th anniversary of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

At the heart of Queen’s, building banners celebrating award-winning research don Grant Hall and Stauffer library. Pole pennants have also been installed on the light posts along University Avenue, featuring images from the Art of Research photo contest. Each year the popular photo contest provides faculty, students, alumni, and staff the opportunity to showcase their research, scholarly, and artistic work. It also provides many amazing photos.

Together, the new banners cover a wide array of research – from arts and humanities to physics to cancer and health sciences to biodiversity and climate change.

The first image, Santa Fina, was taken by Una D’Elia, a faculty member in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation, at Musei Civici in San Gimignano, Italy. The striking image shows a marble bust of a saint by sculptor Pietro Torrigiani, a competitor of Michelangelo.

The second image, Leaving Home, features a spheroid of cancer cells embedded in a 3D protein matrix as seen through a microscope. Taken by Eric  Lian, a PhD  student in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, individual cells can be seen radiating away on all sides.

The third image, Razorbill, was captured by Brody Crosby, a Master’s student in the Department of Biology during fieldwork on seabirds in Witless Bay, Nfld. Mistakenly assuming the approaching researchers were its parents, the razorbill chick is captured as it begs for a meal.

The fourth image is a rendition of the universe, and captures the work of researchers elucidating the fundamental building blocks of the universe, shedding light on things we cannot see.

The Art of Research is also being featured in a travelling, pop-up photo exhibit currently being held on the first floor of Stauffer Library. Offering a large selection of photos from the last three years of the contest, the exhibit highlights the diversity of research happening across campus.

The photo exhibit will subsequently be on display in Grant Hall for Homecoming, Oct. 19-21, and then in the Lederman Law Library, Oct. 22-Nov. 5.

The exhibit is also available to campus partners throughout the year for events and display purposes.

For more information on research at Queen’s or the Art of Research photo contest, visit the website.

A member of the prestigious U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, Queen’s has a long history of unmistakable discovery and innovation that has shaped our knowledge and helped address some of the world’s deepest mysteries and most pressing questions

The Conversation: We all put too much emphasis on test scores

[School test]
Language tests are an important factor in determining whether international students are admitted to universities (Photo by Ben Mullins/Unsplash)

We live in testing times. We also live in a time of globalization, immigration and the internationalization of schools and universities around the world. Our current obsession with school accountability and student learning outcomes has resulted in the increased use and abuse of test scores — in particular language test scores.

Language test scores are now an admission ticket for post-secondary education and for skilled immigrants trying to gain entry into new countries. Test scores serve as the key to learning opportunities and professional success, impacting millions of lives. They also play a crucial role in political, social and educational policies.

Despite the considerable consequences of language testing, what exactly do test scores indicate? What can we tell about someone and their achievement or professional capability from a single test score? What are the implications when bureaucrats and education officials misinterpret test scores when making policy decisions on immigration or attracting more international students?

[The Conversation]In my role as director of the Assessment and Evaluation Group in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University, I’ve been involved in research on how students are tested for language proficiency and the consequences of such testing.

Second language is essential

It’s an important topic because evidence shows that an ability to speak a second language can determine so many things about an immigrant’s future, including economic success, social integration and their overall ability to contribute to society. My research looks at the prevalence and impact of language testing. A key issue is how test scores are used or misused by policy makers.

We should not be using a single test score to make decisions that can have a huge impact on someone’s life. However, governments and organizations tend to do this because it is cheaper and they believe it offers a more clean-cut case on immigration, university entrance and professional certification.

According to the latest census data, Canada has more than 7.5 million foreign-born individuals who arrived as immigrants. That represents about 22 per cent of the population.

All skilled workers and professionals who wish to immigrate to Canada need to demonstrate their English or French language ability via a language test, no matter where in the world they come from. The results of their test scores determine whether they are permitted to settle and to practise as recertified professionals in Canada.

Increase in international students

There has been a rapid increase in the number of international students who wish to study at Canadian universities. The latest federal government data shows Canada had roughly 500,000 international students at the end of 2017. Canada’s international student population has nearly tripled over the past decade and now ranks fourth behind the United States, the United Kingdom and China. Canada retains many of these international students as skilled workers through Express Entry.

All international students are required to take a language test as part of the application process and their scores must meet the entrance requirements for Canadian universities.

It’s natural to assume anyone taking those tests would be nervous, anxious or even frustrated. That is what we call high-stakes testing, which affects the lives of millions of people, all over the world, every day.

An incomplete picture

For example, when the stakes are high, research suggests that test-takers’ motivation and anxiety are significant factors associated with their test performance. Judging someone’s test score without taking those factors into account presents an incomplete picture of the person taking the test.

Successfully evaluating someone’s English- or French-language abilities through various language tests has a direct impact on millions of lives of people who come to Canada to study and settle.

Education and government decision-makers should not rely solely on test scores when making decisions about admitting people to schools or the country. That’s why test validation — ensuring accurate uses and interpretations of the test scores — has become so important and has grown into a major field of research.

Our research at Queen’s is intended to raise public awareness of the intended and unintended consequences of how test scores are used and to make the case that policy-makers need better training on how to properly interpret scores.The Conversation


Liying Cheng is professor and director of the Assessment and Evaluation Group (AEG) at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. Her primary research interests are the impact of large-scale testing on instruction, the relationships between assessment and instruction, and the academic and professional acculturation of international and new immigrant students, workers, and professionals to Canada.

This article was originally published on The Conversation, which provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

A step in the right direction

Queen's University researcher Lauren Welte challenges the traditional thinking around the human foot.

New research from Queen’s University PhD candidate Lauren Welte is challenging traditional thinking on the function of the human foot. Her latest project could impact the way orthotics are designed and people are treated for a number of foot conditions, including plantar fasciitis.

“We investigated how modifying the shape of the arch of the human foot affects the energy absorbed and returned during a dynamic compression,” says Ms. Welte. This work is part of an international and multi-disciplinary collaboration between Ms. Welte and her mentor Dr. Michael Rainbow at Queen’s University, as well as Dr. Glen Lichtwark and Dr. Luke Kelly at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Lauren Welte's research into the human foot could change the way orthotics are designed. (University Communications)

“This collaboration took advantage of new technology that has allowed us to investigate conventional thinking around the foot.”

To change the shape of the arch, the researchers elevated the toes to engage the windlass mechanism of the plantar fascia, a flat band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. The windlass mechanism is an important part of normal foot function and causes the arch to be higher, but shorter in length.

Ms. Welte says that prior research had shown the foot became stiff during the engagement of the windlass mechanism, which was first described in 1954 after physical examination of people’s feet. Using advanced technology that allows for 3D modelling of the foot, her new research shows the foot actually becomes more pliable and that could have an impact on the design of orthotics, footwear, and even prosthetic limbs.

The research was completed in the Human Mobility Research Centre in Kingston, Ontario, and the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences at the University of Queensland in Australia. The researchers received support from NSERC and the Australian Research Council to conduct this work.

“This is the first step in our research,” says Ms. Welte. “We want to take these results and see how the windlass mechanism affects how the arch manages energy absorption and return while walking and running. The new Skeletal Observation Lab in Hotel Dieu Hospital will allow us to use x-ray and high-speed cameras to answer these questions.”

The paper is currently on the ‘top read’ list in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

The Conversation: Why life insurance companies want your Fitbit data

Fitbit data
Insurance companies have been keeping track the physical activities of customers, but previous initiatives were pilot projects. (Photo: Unsplash/John Schnobrich)

I recently predicted that health data from electronic sources could soon be compiled into a health or wellness report and shared with insurance companies to help them determine who they’ll cover.

And now John Hancock, the U.S. division of Canadian insurance giant Manulife, requires customers to use activity trackers for life insurance policies in their Vitality program if they want to get discounts on their premiums and other perks.

Customers can withhold their fitness data, but that will result in higher premiums, which may put life insurance out of reach for low-income earners. This in turn could have an impact on whether would-be homeowners can take out mortgages, some of which can require a life insurance policy on the principle borrower.

The fact that insurance companies track the physical activities of customers has been making headlines for years, but previous initiatives were pilot projects.

Now, customers who don’t want to offer up their health data to John Hancock have two choices: Don’t report it and pay higher premiums, or go somewhere else for their insurance.

But what’s going to happen if other companies follow suit?

Figuring out when you’re having sex?

Your privacy will be infringed upon by apps that pass on to your insurer all of the activities you do while wearing your smartwatch.

That could include steps walked, heart rate, blood pressure – your insurer may even be able to figure out when you’re having sex.

This is nothing new. We’ve long known that wearable technology records “data about you and your condition, activities and day-to-day choices.”

And we know that that data collected by these devices and through our internet activities “continually leak.” In fact, researchers have discovered that 70 per cent of third-party apps collect data that can then be used to create a profile of buying and spending habits.

So is it really a problem that customers use wearable technology like Fitbit and report their healthy activities, such as workouts and healthy eating, to their insurer?

Well, yes. One problem is that this information is not always correct. Fitbit itself acknowledges that “the algorithm is designed to look for intensity and motion patterns that are most indicative of people walking and running” and that it may not always be accurate in reporting other activities, such as riding a bike or working.

Then there’s the question of what happens with your premiums if you stop engaging in these activities. How much time will insurance companies allow women to recover from childbirth before they have to get back to their insurance plan’s requirements for physical activity?

What about people recovering from joint replacements or heart surgery? How long will these people have before their premiums go up?

Active Seniors
Older adults’ exercise activities may not be accurately detected by wearable technology. (Photo: Unsplash/Lucie Hosova)

Older adults at risk

Older adults are especially vulnerable to this sort of data-based gatekeeping. The glitches in wearable technology’s data collection may be amplified with older people, whose exercise behaviour might not be as strenuous as that of younger adults, and therefore subject to more recording errors.

In addition to the potential under-recording of their fitness activities, many people over 65 years old have at least one illness, which, when combined with data errors, may make them ineligible for discounted insurance programs. This could change the retirement opportunities for many older adults.

And what about the healthy lifestyles that insurance companies reward their customers for living?

Diet, fitness and medication regimes go in and out of favour. Taking “baby aspirin,” for example, to prevent heart attacks and stroke has recently been shown to be ineffective for healthy adults.

Another example of the fickleness of health trends involves healthy eating guru Brian Wansink, who’s had some academic articles retracted, including those that told us not to go grocery shopping when we’re hungry and not to use large bowls when we’re eating.

This all suggests that the food and activity choices of insurance companies are linked to scholarly research.

Conflict of interest?

But what happens if a multinational business owns both insurance and manufacturing companies? Is it possible that insurance perks and discounts could be linked to purchases from their subsidiaries, disguised as “health initiatives?”

In other words, the insurer could reward customers for adhering to a health regimen that might be helpful, but could also be bogus or, in the worst-case scenario, harmful or exploitative while financially benefiting the insurance company.

If legislators don’t get involved, Big Business could end up literally dictating to us what we can and can’t do, or eat, if we want or need insurance.

For those who can’t afford healthy food or recreational fitness, and those who refuse to allow their data to be harvested, life insurance premiums, and other products like mortgages, may drift out of reach.The Conversation


Lisa F. Carver is and adjunct professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Post Doctoral Fellow, SSHRC-funded ACTproject at Queen’s University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation, which provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

The Conversation: Terrorism at the Taj – Hotel Mumbai pulls no punches at TIFF

The new film highlights the things ordinary people can do in extraordinary circumstances.

[Dev Patel in Hotel Mumbai]
Dev Patel stars in in Hotel Mumbai, a movie that depicts the Mumbai terror attacks that took place Nov.26-29, 2008. (Photo: Arclight Films)

Director Anthony Maras’ new film Hotel Mumbai had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film stars Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Jason Issacs (Harry Potter) and Anupam Kher (The Big Sick). All of these actors attended the premiere and participated in a compelling Q&A conversation with the audience after the film.

The movie depicts the Mumbai terror attacks that took place Nov. 26-29, 2008, when 10 gunmen belonging to the Pakistan-based militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba staged a series of co-ordinated attacks across the city, ending with a multi-day siege of the luxurious Taj Mahal Hotel that left 164 dead and hundreds wounded.

Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with survivors and witnesses and told from the perspective of hotel guests, staff and to some extent the gunmen, the film sets out to recreate the attacks faithfully and authentically.

The film expertly ratchets up tension and confusion, drawing the viewer into a harrowing experience that is not broken up by lengthy plot digressions or exposition.

Hotel Mumbai provides a raw and rare look behind the curtain of a terrorist attack, inviting the audience to experience its unrelenting and gut-wrenching reality. The film doesn’t concern itself with the contextual details that emerge in the aftermath of a terror plot; instead it replicates the confusion, panic and genuine fear one would feel at the time.

For almost the entire two hour run-time, the viewer is left to struggle with the intensity of that confusion, not knowing when or if safety will materialize.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, popular media in North America has moved from amorphous representations of political violence to a plot format that explicitly uses terrorism, invokes real militant groups and focuses almost exclusively on the United States and Islamic extremism as their bread and butter. Few films actually take the viewer inside the experience of terror plots as they happen; this is where Hotel Mumbai ushers in a new complex path with audiences.

The only potential drawback of this narrative style is that for viewers unfamiliar with the broader political context of terrorism in India — and in Western audiences they may be the majority — there is little information about where the attack comes from or how it fits into the larger story of the Indian subcontinent.

Terrorism in India

The Mumbai gunmen were trained in Pakistan and, as depicted in the film, carried out their attack with direction via mobile phones from planners in Pakistan’s metropolis port, Karachi. The gunmen were found to be members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based militant group that was also responsible for a 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi.

The existence of groups like LeT is a significant sore spot in India-Pakistan relations. India accuses Pakistan of enabling or even encouraging such groups and Pakistan consistently denies these allegations.

LeT emerged out of the radicalization of the Kashmir conflict — a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over which country has the right to govern the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. This conflict began with the 1947 partition of British colonial India into the two sovereign nations of India and Pakistan and has gone through numerous phases of escalation and détente.

India’s continued military presence and the human rights abuses carried out by security forces in Kashmir provide a major source of grievance to some Indian and Pakistani Muslims. Although India is home to the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia, Muslims in India are heavily disadvantaged in comparison to the Hindu majority. They also experience higher rates of poverty and lower literacy levels.

Despite this, the vast majority of Muslims — whether in India or elsewhere — consistently reject religious extremism.

Everyday heroism

As a suspenseful and emotional snapshot of the events of November 2008, the film certainly succeeds. The audience’s applause felt genuine and visceral, not polite or obligatory. The cast themselves were visibly emotional on stage, notably when Maras revealed that one of the real-life survivors of the attack portrayed in the film was present in the audience. This survivor (unnamed here to avoid spoilers) received an immediate and emotional standing ovation.

The film is full of heroes, but not the kind that audiences are accustomed to seeing in movies about terror attacks. In Hotel Mumbai, heroes can die with the casual and unceremonious pulling of a trigger, just like anyone else. Though the film uses character archetypes, it does so in a way that disrupts common film tropes associated with the genre.

For example, the local police are brave but are hopelessly outgunned and out of their depth when faced by trained insurgents with automatic weapons. Armie Hammer’s character, the white American male that so often saves the day in Hollywood blockbusters, spends most of the film wanting to protect his family but having no real idea how to do so.

By contrast, Anupam Kher’s Chef Oberoi displays a quiet dignity by relinquishing his opportunity for escape in favour of protecting the hotel guests by calmly hosting them in one of the hotel’s hidden lounges. Dev Patel, as always, gives a memorable performance as a hotel staff member who just wants to get back to his family but displays remarkable courage and compassion along the way.

Just as there is no Hollywood action hero ready to jump in and save the day, Hotel Mumbai also steers clear of depicting the kind of one-dimensional villains that dominate most films in the spy or terrorism genres. The attacks in the film (as in real-life) are brutal, shocking and almost casual in their indifferent disregard for human life.

But the gunmen themselves remain undeniably human. In one scene, we see the terrorists coldly gunning down unarmed civilians and in the next we see them teasing each other about whether there is pork in the canapés. Later, we see the inner conflict of one of the gunmen, who seems to be in over his head as he oscillates between crippling self-doubt and brutal determination.

It is the dissonance between these two dimensions that make this depiction of terrorism so compelling. We also see how the attack impacts each of the attackers in subtly different ways, reinforcing that each has been drawn into this act of horrific violence through their own distinct motivations, whether religious, political or socio-economic.

It is not necessarily that the gunmen in this movie are relatable or sympathetic in the traditional sense (for the most part they are not), but they are resolutely human and that is part of what makes their violence so disturbing. The viewer is asked to face the uncomfortable truth that the people who carry out these attacks might not be the monsters hiding in the shadows that we so often see depicted on screen, but are simply ordinary people carrying out extraordinary acts of brutality.

Despite the horror that this film paints with such gritty and meticulous attention to detail, Hotel Mumbai is ultimately not about violence as an act that is carried out upon passive victims. Instead, it is about the resistance, resilience and quiet heroism of people confronted by chaotic scenarios filled with impossible choices.

Rising terrorism on ‘soft targets’

The film asks us to challenge easy assumptions and to rethink any sensationalist preconceptions we may hold about how we would, or would not, react in such a crisis.

Hotel Mumbai feels every bit as relevant today as if it had been released back in 2008 when the attacks occurred. If anything, the passage of a decade has perhaps made the tragedy of the Mumbai attacks resonate even more strongly with international audiences.

Massacres carried out by armed gunmen in “soft targets” such as hotels, train stations and shopping malls have become depressingly common in recent years.

Historically most of al-Qaida’s most well-known attacks have used explosives, making them devastating in their death tolls but also relatively difficult to plan and execute.

Since 2014, ISIS has popularized the strategy of using any and all weapons available to attack public spaces, making attacks carried out by their sympathizers incredibly challenging to prevent. This style of attack is widespread across the ideological spectrum with notable examples including the Norway massacre of 2011 and the Las Vegas shootings of 2017.

Hotel Mumbai is ultimately intended as an “anthem of resistance” for those who survive such attacks, a quiet memorial of those who don’t and a sobering snapshot of the chaos of terrorism for those who, fortunately, have never found themselves inside its brutal plot.The Conversation


Emily LeDuc is a Doctoral Candidate and Teaching Fellow in the History Department at Queen's University. Joseph McQuade is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for South Asian Studies, a branch of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

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

The Conversation  provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors. The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Miller Medal winner moved mountains

Queen's University Professor Emeritus Raymond Price honoured by the Royal Society of Canada for a lifetime of work.

A lifetime of research contributions to academia and industry by Queen’s University Professor Emeritus Raymond Price has been recognized by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Dr. Price has been honoured with the RSC’s Willet G. Miller Medal in Earth Sciences.

Dr. Price (Geological Science and Engineering) has been acclaimed nationally and internationally for his exploration and graphic descriptions of the geology, geophysical setting, origin, and tectonic evolution of the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains, and also for his conceptual models of tectonic processes at various scales.

Dr. Price will be awarded with a national honour named for Willet G. Miller, who was appointed to the Department of Geology, School of Mines in 1893, and the first person to teach geology at Queen’s. The university later honoured Willet G. Miller by bestowing his name on Miller Hall in 1931.

“The RSC’s Miller Medal is a prestigious recognition of Dr. Price’s distinguished research career and his influence on resource, environmental and geoscience policy in Canada,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). 

Beginning in the 1950s, Dr. Price’s work for the Geological Survey of Canada and in academia has explored the geodynamics of mountain building. He has greatly influenced fundamental thinking on the dynamics of plate tectonics and mountain building while also ensuring the economic implications of his ideas were well known in the petroleum industry.

Dr. Price first joined Queen’s in 1968, was invited back to the Geological Survey to become director general and later assistant deputy minister, and rejoined Queen’s in 1990 where he accepted the chair of a scientific working group looking at the engineering, geological, and environmental merits of deep geological disposal of high level nuclear fuel waste.

“I certainly can’t think of a more deserving geoscientist than Dr. Price for this award,” says colleague Laurent Godin. “Dr. Price has been influential in so many ways. His work and dedication to geosciences has had profound influence on our understanding of how mountain belts form and evolve. Beyond his world-class scientific research, Dr. Price has done exemplary service to science and society, serving and often chairing countless international scientific committees. Most importantly, he has shared his knowledge and wisdom through mentorship of hundreds of students and colleagues - and continues to this day. His dedication to science, policy-making, and generous mentorship deserves to be known and recognized.”

The impact of Dr. Price’s work has been recognized by numerous honours. Dr. Price became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1972, Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Science in 1988, Foreign Fellow of the European Union of Geosciences in 1989, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1997 and Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003. In addition, he has received honorary doctorates from four Canadian universities and many other awards.

For more information visit the RSC website.

Research radio and podcast returns

CFRC 101.9 FM’s fall season features the return of Blind Date with Knowledge and Grad Chat, programs that showcase research happening across campus. 

Blind Date with Knowldege]
Dr. Shamel Addas (Smith School of Business) and Dr. Janet Dancey (Canadian Cancer Trials Group) will be featured on Blind Date with Knowledge on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Big questions and answers, shots in the dark, eureka moments, and unexpected results are all part of the research journey for faculty and students at Queen’s. These enlightening stories form the premise of Blind Date with Knowledge and Grad Chat, two research-focused radio programs and podcasts featured as part of CFRC 101.9 FM’s fall lineup.

[Blind date with knowledge logo]Blind Date with Knowledge

Returning for a second season, Blind Date with Knowledge is one way the university is increasing its efforts to promote the importance and impact of research happening at Queen’s. The quirky name Blind Date with Knowledge is based on the premise that research isn’t predictable. Like a blind date, research is about taking risks and being prepared for failure and success.

A collaboration between the Office of the Vice-Principal (University Relations), CFRC, and host and Kingston community member, Barry Kaplan, the show’s 30-minute episodes provide an accessible and digestible glimpse into research happening across campus and the positive impact that research – in areas from cancer research to surveillance studies – has on our everyday lives.   

“Knowledge mobilization and translation is an increasingly important aspect of the research process,” says Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiative. “It’s not always easy to explain one’s research to non-specialists, but the show provides an interactive, fun and engaging platform to do this successfully.”

Blind Date with Knowledge airs on CFRC 101.9 FM bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm, and all episodes are available for download via Apple iTunes. The first episode, airing Wednesday, Sept. 19, features Shamel Addas (Smith School of Business) and Janet Dancey (Canadian Cancer Trials Group).

[Grad Chat logo]Grad Chat

Grad Chat highlights graduate student and post-doctoral research at Queen’s. Airing since January 2016, the show has featured over 130 guests and is a collaboration between the School of Graduate Studies and CFRC.

The interviews not only provide insight into the wide variety of research conducted by students at Queen’s, it highlights other academic and non-academic engagements – from knowledge mobilization programs to academic events. Grad Chat checks in with many aspects of the graduate student experience, including special episodes on the Lake Shift writing retreat and the New Graduate Student Welcome and Resource Fair.

“The show is one of the ways in which our graduate students and post-docs can hone their research communication skills in a fun and engaging way,” says Colette Steer, Manager, Recruitment and Events at the School of Graduate Studies, who plans and conducts all Grad Chat interviews. “Interviewees are encouraged to develop some of the interview questions, which helps them get a new perspective on their work. I am always amazed at the diversity of new knowledge created by our researchers.”

The new season kicked off with a series of three nursing students looking at issues of childbirth in remote and rural areas, virtual simulation in resuscitation science, and quality assurance in organ donation programs. Grad Chat airs Tuesdays at 4 pm.

“These research-focused radio shows and podcasts are a creative and accessible way for non-specialists to learn about the breadth and depth of the research being conducted by both faculty and grad students at Queen’s,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “I encourage you to tune in and subscribe.”

For more information on both shows, visit the CFRC website

[Evan Keys]
Evan Keys (MNSc) will appear on Grad Chat on Tuesday, Sept. 25.


Building momentum: It’s time to join The Conversation

Since becoming a founding member of The Conversation Canada, Queen's researchers have used the platform to reach audiences around the world.

Conversation Collage
Since Queen’s became a founding member of The Conversation Canada in 2017, 65 Queen’s researchers have published 86 articles that have attracted 1.2 million reads.

What do road salt, hospital wait times, and Rod Stewart have in common? They are all topics of widely-shared articles authored by Queen’s University researchers for The Conversation Canada. The online news platform’s unique model, articles written by academic experts paired with experienced journalists, has captured the attention of researchers and a public (38.2 million readers) worldwide searching for evidence-based, informed news on issues of importance.

[The Conversation]Since Queen’s became a founding member of The Conversation Canada in 2017, Queen’s scholars have embraced the model: 65 Queen’s researchers (faculty and students) have published 86 articles that have attracted 1.2 million reads. Many pieces have been republished by international news outlets, including Scientific American, The National Post, CNN, TIME, The Washington Post, The Sydney Herald, and Maclean’s.

Examining timely issues such as Canada’s health-care system and its wait time problem, Chris Simpson (Medicine) appreciates the platform’s real-time readership metrics and analysis.

“My experience with The Conversation has been stellar: professional and timely editing, great practical advice, and a very user-friendly electronic interface. Watching the engagement stats in the hours and days after publication gave me a real sense of the reach and power of this knowledge transfer tool,” Dr. Simpson says.

For Robert Morrison (English Language and Literature) The Conversation has allowed him to marry his expertise of language and his love of music. His popular pieces (e.g. Maclean’s) entitled “Remembering Gord Downie through his lyrics” and “Why Rod Stewart’s gay ballad ‘Georgie’ was ahead of its time”  recognized the cultural significance musicians and their lyrics carry.

Founded in Australia in 2011, the online news platform has nine editions with 30,000+ academics from 2,065 institutions as registered authors whose articles attract 38.2 million readers worldwide. The Conversation’s Creative Commons Licensing has meant that over 22,000 news outlets around the world have shared and repurposed content.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed writing for The Conversation Canada,” says Dr. Morrison. “It has given me the chance to talk about contemporary issues such as immigration, gay rights, gun violence, and the opioid crisis, and to do so in a way that is, I hope, substantial and engaging.”

Graduate students have also leveraged the benefits of The Conversation. Jamie Summers (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Biology) and Robin Valleau (MSc Biology) saw their article “Road salt is bad for the environment, so why do we keep using it?” reach almost viral status at over 100,000 reads. It was republished by The National Post, TIME, The Weather Network, CNN, and Popular Science. For Dr. Summers, “writing for The Conversation provided further media opportunities that are not typically available to graduate students. Upon completion of my degree, I felt that my media experience, largely provided by The Conversation, was a valuable transferable skill that would help me throughout my career.” While Vallaeu said that “The Conversation gave me the opportunity to share my research with the public in a timely and constructive manner. It also led to many exciting opportunities, including television and radio interviews.”

The university's success with The Conversation Canada highlights the importance and impact of disseminating leading-edge research and scholarship beyond the academy.

“Queen’s has been a supporter of The Conversation Canada since our inception. I have been extremely impressed of how Queen’s has leveraged The Conversation platform to its maximum ability,” says Scott White, Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada. “Authors from Queen's have been integral to our mission of presenting to the public expert-based analyses and explanatory journalism. On a personal level, my newsroom staff and I thoroughly enjoy working with Queen’s academics and the communications staff. The feeling of teamwork is real and has resulted in some excellent articles.”

Queen’s relationship with The Conversation Canada is managed through University Relations with support from Vice-Principal (Research). Researchers interested in writing for The Conversation should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

For more information on The Conversation Canada please visit the website

Scholarship promotes maternal and child health equity research

Queen's health equality collaborative group wins Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Scholars – Advanced Scholars program funding.

A Queen’s University program focused on maternal and child health equity is one of 20 Canadian university programs that received funding from the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships – Advanced Scholars (QES-AS) program.

[QES-AS program members]
QES-AS program members from left to right: Enkh-Oyun Tsogzolbaatar, Supaporn Trongsakul, Colleen Davison, Katemanee Moonpanane, Heather Aldersey, Susan Thanabalasingam, Eva Purkey, Ariuntuya Sakhiya, and Dédé Watchiba. Not pictured: Luc Kalisya Malemo and Susan Bartels. (Photo: University Communications)

A Research Collaborative for Global Health Equity (ARCH) received $449,000 in funding to support research projects among the visiting scholars and associated faculty.

The QES-AS focuses on institutional capacity to strengthen partner institutions from the Global South. It is expected to engage approximately 420 researchers in international research projects, contributing to improved global talent exchange between Canada and other nations..

This year, the six advanced scholars that visited Queen’s came from a range of backgrounds, from a practicing general surgeon to a government health official to PhDs of political science, biostatistics, and nursing. The scholars include Dédé Watchiba and Luc Kalisya Malemo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ariuntuya Sakhiya and Enkh-Oyun Tsogzolbaatar from Mongolia, and Katemanee Moonpanane and Supaporn Trongsakul from Thailand. Their common cause is equity in maternal and child health research and services.

“I’m currently focused on a literature review, because one of the aims of the scholarship is to improve the capacity of the researchers. I have never done a literature review, so I get to work with a mentor to conduct it,” says Dr. Moonpanane, Postdoctoral Scholar (Nursing) with Mea Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand. “The experiences that I gain here, I can teach to those in my faculty.”

Dr. Moonpanane is also working on a research project to raise the accessibility and quality of maternal and child health in Thailand, with the hopes of translating her findings to other countries as well.

The three months that the scholars spend at Queen’s are full of research, projects, and collaboration. A third of the scholars’ time is spent on each individual research, collaborative research and a community-based research placement.

“I have my own research project, which I try to share with the team for their points of view and feedback, and there is also a group project between all of us on parenting in adversity,” says Dr. Watchiba, professor of political science and administrative science with the University of Kinshasa. “On top of these projects, we’re also each involved in projects to support a local community organization. I’m working with HARS, the HIV/AIDS Regional Service, to review their strategic plan, determine if they match international standards, and help them create a monitoring design framework.”

The ARCH faculty involved in the QES-AS program include Heather Aldersey (School of Rehabilitation Therapy), Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine), Colleen Davison (Public Health Sciences) and Eva Purkey (Family Medicine).

“Hopefully the 90 days that these Advanced Scholars have spent at Queen’s will spark continued collaborations with both the colleagues who came to Canada and with their other colleagues and students at  their home institutions,” says Dr. Aldersey, Interim Director of International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR).

Queen’s researchers also participated in an outgoing exchange. As an outgoing QES-AS scholar, Dr. Bartels spent 3 months working in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the summer splitting her time between l'Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs (ULPGL) de Goma and a community research partner, HEAL Africa Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This research placement fostered inter-institutional collaboration through grant writing, co-hosting research workshops, co-writing manuscripts, and planning for future joint research projects.

To find out more about the ARCH, check out their website.


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