News & Updates

NOAMA Grants Provide Benefits for Patient Care

May 23, 2019

Greater Sudbury – Health Sciences North and the Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI) received a boost from the Northern Ontario Academic Medical Association (NOAMA) to study new advancements in clinical care that will have lasting benefits for patients of Northeastern Ontario.

Dr. Sathish Gopalakrishnan, a Medical Oncologist with the Northeast Cancer Centre at HSN, and an Assistant Professor with Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), was awarded a grant to study how exercise could benefit patients who have been diagnosed with a hematological cancer such as lymphoma and multiple myeloma. These patients are often treated with stem cell transplants and extremely high doses of chemotherapy, leading to hospitalization for up to four weeks. During this treatment, patients report increased weakness, fatigue and sleep disturbances that can have a negative impact on their quality of life.

“Early evidence shows that aerobic and strength exercises can be beneficial to alleviating that weakness and fatigue in patients,” says Dr. Gopalakrishnan. “This study is significant for the North as we have an aging population, that’s only getting older, and we know these cancers are some of the most common in older adults and the fourth most common in Canada.”

Dr. Gopalakrishnan says while this study will improve our knowledge and understanding on the effects of exercise for cancer patients, it could also lead to significant improvements in clinical practices that will benefit hematological cancer patients locally in Northern Ontario, and also nationally.

“NOAMA grants support the development of new and innovative approaches in health care delivery, while promoting leadership in the sharing of knowledge across the health care system,” says Dr. Lacey Pitre, a Medical Oncologist and Clinical Lead for Medical Oncology with Health Sciences North. “These annual grants pay dividends to the future health of the people of our region.”

Other research projects at HSN and HSNRI to receive funding from NOAMA this year include advanced care planning for health care providers; repurposing a drug to fill an antibiotic void; a best practice diagnostic and treatment algorithm for vertigo; social accountability in the Emergency Department; association between the use of non–vitamin K oral anticoagulants with and without concurrent medications and the risk of major bleeding in atrial fibrillation; and determinants of disparities in pneumonia and influenza hospitalizations across Northern Ontario.

These projects will be supported thanks to $350,000 in NOAMA Grant money awarded this year.

These grants also connect to the organizations’ new Strategic Plan that includes a key goal to strengthen the academic and research impact of HSN and HSNRI, as well as a new purpose to provide high-quality health services, support learning, and generate research that improves health outcomes for the people of Northeastern Ontario.