The Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit is a bi-university health research unit based at the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan. Since 1999, SPHERU has established itself as a leader in cutting edge population health research that not only looks at what and the why of health inequities -– but also how to address these and take action.
Whats Happening at SPHERU
SPHERU was well represented at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Sparking Solutions conference in Ottawa in April, with two posters and a podium presentation. The purpose of the summit was to facilitate a solutions-oriented dialogue that responded to one or more of six key questions, aimed at 'sparking solutions' for population health.
A group poster entitled "Engaged Research as a Catalyst for Population Health Change: SPHERU's transformative work in Saskatchewan 1999-2015" was presented by Tom McIntosh. It highlighted the population health intervention model developed by SPHERU, providing examples from individual projects to answer questions of scalability, context, history and solutions outside the health sector.
Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine also presented "If obesity is a post-modern scourge, don't we need to move beyond outdated solutions? along with a poster entltled "Changing inner-city food environments: From food desert/swamp to Good Food Junction Co-operative and beyond'
In a recent study funded by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), University of Saskatchewan researchers with the Dept. of Community Health and Epidemiology and SPHERU examined the impact of poverty and other social determinants of health on addressing health inequities within the province of Saskatchewan.
Findings from the study, released in the report 'Changes in Social Inequalities in Health Over Time in Saskatchewan' suggest that poverty continues to negatively impact the health of the poorest among us. In an interview with the Saskatoon Star Phoenix lead author Dr. Cory Neudorf explained that in times of economic boom the effect can be amplified as housing and other costs rise.
An article highlighting SPHERU’s work has been published in Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation’s (SHRF) Research for health magazine (Issue 3, December 2015).
The article focuses on the unit’s 15 year history of research and its connections – across research disciplines, with communities and policy makers, and to broad audiences through its knowledge translation strategies. By exploring how these multiple connections work together to produce new policy and program relevant knowledge for addressing health inequities among populations, the purpose and strength of the unit is revealed.
The full article is available at www.shrf.ca/publications.
SPHERU research assistant and PhD candidate Hazel Williams-Roberts is lead author on “The Effectiveness of Healthy Community Approaches on Positive Health Outcomes in Canada and the United States”, recently published in the journal Social Sciences.
The article, co-authored by SPHERU researchers Bonnie Jeffery, Shanthi Johnson and Nazeem Muhajarine, is based on a research project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The project reviewed a number of studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions using a healthy community approach, which aims to create supportive environments to improve health outcomes.
Findings from the review indicate that these approaches have been relatively unexplored and more study needs to be done on specific projects to demonstrate their effectiveness. The article is available for open access download at http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0760/5/1/3.
In an opinion piece published in the January 9, 2016 issue of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix SPHERU director and professor of community health & epidemiology Nazeem Muhajarine highlights the importance of addressing the mental health needs of child refugees early on in their settlement process.
Childhood trauma can 'significantly harm children's ability to grow into healthy, well-functioning adults' and interventions to address the effects of trauma are critical to ensure their successful integration into society. The full article is available at http://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/letters/0108-edit-muhajarine.
Kylee Wilyman took home the People's Choice Award for Best Poster at the Canadian Rural Health Research Conference in Edmonton in September. Her poster focused on a framework examining rural seniors' access to information. Wilyman is a Master's of Science student in Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, and a research assistant with the Healthy Aging in Place research project. Her poster can be viewed here.