IMHA On The Move! - January 2015

Table of Contents

A Message from the Scientific Director

Happy New Year! On behalf of CIHR-IMHA I would like to wish everyone all the best for the New Year. IMHA is starting the year with an announcement of funding for an important Signature Initiative.

Inflammation in Choronic Disease

A December 22 Federal Government announcement of $21.9 million in funding for Inflammation in Chronic Disease Signature Initiative was a wonderful way for nine research teams to start the holiday. Spread over five years, the funding will support the work of nine projects with research goals of understanding inflammatory response to chronic infection, tissue injury, and autoimmune diseases. In this newsletter, we bring you the details of the successful projects.

Institute Modernization

The CIHR is undergoing changes.

Cash Report

Dr. Paul Allison, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at McGill University, has been busy telling Canadians about the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences report on “Improving access to oral health care for vulnerable people living in Canada.” Released in September 2014, this report has made some very important recommendations designed to address the core problems it identified. Included in this newsletter are links to some of Dr. Allison’s published comments on the report.

James Lind Alliance (JLA)

Members of the IMHA community will be interested to hear that the Institute has begun work on a new initiative, the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership (PSP).  Priority Setting Partnerships bring patients, care givers and clinicians together to identify and prioritize treatment uncertainties in a particular area of focus.  IMHA is engaging in this process to address the top 10 uncertainties or ‘unanswered questions’ with regards to the management of fibromyalgia and widespread chronic pain. Updates on this initiative will appear regularly in this newsletter.

As always, I encourage you to continue to submit any questions or comments to Please also follow me on Twitter @HaniElgabalawy.


Hani El-Gabalawy MD FRCPC
Scientific Director
CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis

Funding Opportunities

For a full listing of CIHR funding opportunities, please visit the ResearchNet website.

IMHA Funding Opportunities

The Summer Program in Aging (SPA) 2015 partners have identified "Health, wellness and participation of older adults in the world of work" as the key theme for this year’s SPA Training Program. The CIHR Institutes of Aging (IA), Gender and Health (IGH), and Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) have partnered with the Institute for Work and Health to host this event.

Application Deadline: January 26, 2015

CIHR Funding Opportunities

Program Name: Other: Planning and Dissemination Grants – Institute Community Support (Winter 2015 Competition
Sponsor(s): CIHR’s Institutes and Initiatives
Application Deadline: February 17, 2015

Program Name: Knowledge Synthesis Grant: Spring 2015 Competition
Sponsor(s): CIHR Science, Knowledge Translation and Ethics Branch
Application Deadline: May 15, 2015

Program Name: Chair: GlaxoSmithKline Partnered 2014-2015 (GlaxoSmithKline-CIHR Partnered Chair Program)
Sponsor(s): CIHR in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Inc. (GSK)
Application Deadline: March 31, 2015

Program Name: Master’s Award: Dr. James Rossiter MPH Practicum Awards Program (Winter 2015 Competition)
Sponsor(s): The CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) in partnership with the Health Security Infrastructure Branch of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
Deadline: February 17, 2015

Program Name: Operating Grant: Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research
Sponsor(s): Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE)
Deadline: Application Phase 1 Letters of Intent – March 6, 2015

Program Name: Operating Grant: Industry-Partnered Collaborative Research (Winter 2015 Competition)
Sponsor(s): CIHR’s Science, Knowledge Translation and Ethics Branch
Deadline for registration: February 2, 2015
Deadline for application: March 2, 2015

Program Name: Operating Grant: eHealth Innovation Partnership Program (eHIPP)
Sponsor(s): Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR), Institute of Aging (IA), Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) and the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) in collaboration with the National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
Deadline to Register: April 1, 2015
Application Deadline: June 3, 2015

Program Name: Other: Science to Business (2015)
Sponsor(s): CIHR’s Science, Knowledge Translation and Ethics Branch
Deadline: February 20, 2015

Program Name: Proof of Principle: Phase I and II (Winter 2015 Competition)
Sponsor(s): CIHR’s Science, Knowledge Translation and Ethics Branch
Deadline: February 17, 2015

Featured Research: Inflammation in Chronic Disease

Inflammation in Chronic Disease: Government of Canada Invests in Innovative Health Research

On December 22, 2014, the Government of Canada announced the funding of nine new research projects that will investigate the relationship between inflammation and chronic disease. These projects will guide the development of new ways to diagnose, treat, and manage chronic diseases in which inflammation is a key feature, including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and cardiovascular disease – ultimately improving the care of Canadians affected by these diseases.

The projects will be supported with funding of $21.9M over five years from the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and its partners – The Arthritis Society of Canada and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. The projects were funded under CIHR’s Roadmap Signature Initiative on Inflammation in Chronic Disease. IMHA and the Institute of Infection and Immunity (III) are co-leading this initiative in partnership with the Institute of Aging (IA), Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH), Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD), and Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA).

IMHA and III will host a networking meeting for the research teams in Winnipeg in February. Gairdner award-winner for research in inflammation, Sir Marc Feldmann, will attend and give a keynote address to the participants.

Quick Facts

Inflammation is part of the body’s normal process to fight infection and repair tissues. However, evidence suggests that chronic inflammation contributes to the development and progression of several chronic diseases, including arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. It is also a factor in chronic infections such as Hepatitis C and transplant rejection.

It is estimated that over 4.6 million Canadian adults are living with arthritis, an inflammation-related disorder. By 2036, the number of Canadian adults with arthritis is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million (one in five). The impact of arthritis on the Canadian economy in health-care costs and lost productivity is estimated to be $33 billion each year. By 2031, this number is expected to more than double to over $67 billion. (Source: The Arthritis Society)

The nine projects are:

Title Lead Funding
Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease and juvenile idiopathic arthritis Dr. John Brumell
The Hospital for Sick Kids (Toronto, Ontario)
Chronic Inflammation of the gut, liver and joints Dr. Johannes Eksteen
University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)
Preventing complications from Inflammatory skin, joint and bowel conditions Dr. John Esdaile
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
Chronic inflammatory lung diseases Dr. Paul Kubes
University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)
Critical illness in inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis project Dr. Ruth Ann Marie
University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB)
Arthritis and chronic heart disease Dr. Jean Marshall
Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS)
Immunity and inflammation Dr. Dana Philpott
University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
Brain dysfunction in chronic inflammatory disease Dr. Mark Swain
University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)
Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease and juvenile idiopathic arthritis Dr. John Brumell
The Hospital for Sick Kids (Toronto, Ontario)

Research News

2014 Applied Public Health Chair Recipients Announced

CIHR is pleased to announce the 2014 Applied Public Health Chair (APHC) recipients. The program supports innovative population health research that improves health equity for citizens in Canada and around the world. This can be achieved through interdisciplinary collaborations and mentorship of researchers and decision makers in health and other sectors. Please see the announcement.

Arthritis Research Centre of Canada receives CIHR Partnership Award for arthritis screening program

The Arthritis Research Centre of Canada and its Scientific Director, Dr. John Esdaile, have received the 2014 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Partnership Award for developing, in collaboration with Arthritis Consumer Experts and Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, an innovative screening program to help Canadians better prevent and manage arthritis. Through the Shoppers Drug Mart Arthritis Screening Program, these partners have shown how researchers, patients and the private sector can work together to provide health solutions to Canadians.

As part of the program, pharmacists at more than 1,200 Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada have provided arthritis screening and information to Canadians. To help detect the disease at an early stage, the program includes a self-administered joint exam and questionnaire. It also enables Canadians with arthritis to work with a pharmacist to monitor their symptoms and medication over time to prevent the disease from worsening. The Shoppers Drug Mart Arthritis Screening Program is the first and only program in Canada designed especially for women afflicted with arthritis. The disease affects two out of three or 2.8 million Canadian women.

The three partners developed the arthritis screening program following research undertaken at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada that showed that an early intervention improved the quality of care and life for people who had osteoarthritis.

Quick Facts

  • Every year, the CIHR Partnership Award recognizes partnerships between organizations that exemplify excellence by bringing health research communities together to create innovative approaches to research, to develop research agendas that are responsive to the health needs of Canadians and to accelerate the sharing of knowledge for the benefit of Canadians.
  • An estimated one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older live with arthritis. The main symptoms of arthritis are chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling, which can result in significant disability and poor quality of life. (Source: The Arthritis Society)
  • The tremendous impact of arthritis on the economy translates into lost productivity, absenteeism and increased health care spending – costing an estimated $33 billion annually. (Source: The Arthritis Society)

The Arthritis Alliance of Canada (AAC) has developed an Alliance Models of Care (MOC) Measurement Framework to define system-level performance measures for Inflammatory Arthritis (IA) care in Canada. The Measurement Framework is intended to serve as a toolkit for healthcare decision-makers to evaluate health systems and inform health system changes to develop better care for IA patients. Please visit the AAC website to review a description of the candidate performance measures. 

Paul Allison, Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University and expert advisor of the Evidence Network, has been busy writing editorials for Canada’s major media outlets including The Globe and Mail and The Huffington Post to get the word out about the Canadian Academy of Health Science’s (CAHS) report, “Improving access to oral health care for vulnerable people living in Canada.” The report includes very important findings and recommendations that address the core problems identified in the report. Please read the report or one of Dr. Allison’s editorials for more information.

CDA – Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR)

In this short video, Dr. John P. O’Keefe, Director of Knowledge Networks at the Canadian Dental Association, interviews Nastaran Sharifian of the University of Montreal about her research work, which could have a profound impact on the access to dental care for rural Canadians

Dr. O’Keefe also interviewed Dr. Michael Glogauer at the University of Toronto, who explains his CIHR-funded lab’s research on how to better understand the innate immune system.

Dr. O’Keefe invites graduate students and their mentors to contact him to explain their research to non-researchers in the dental community and to the public at large through the CDA’s communications channels. Please share this information with colleagues in Canada’s dental schools.

The Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) offers researchers access to an array of social, economic and health microdata that are collected and administered by Statistics Canada. Researchers who have approved projects and security clearance have access to the data in secure computer laboratories (Research Data Centres or RDCs) located on 26 university campuses across Canada and in one research institute in Yellowknife. Visit the CRDCN web site for a complete list of the data sets that are available and for information on how to access RDC Data.

Strategic Plan 2014 - 2018: Enhancing Musculoskeletal Skin and Oral Health

Read the CIHR IMHA 2014 - 2018 Strategic Plan in full online at the CIHR official website or watch our video for a brief overview. Learn about our strategic priorities from our Science In Motion Symposium summarised in this special edition newsetter.

Cochrane Corner

Cochrane Reviews are an important part of knowledge translation. The Cochrane Collaboration works to disseminate knowledge to health research communities so as to benefit patients and the health care system as a whole.

Besides the Reviews, the Canadian Cochrane Centre has an enewsletter, Relay Cochrane! published three times a year, and a Training and Events enewsletter published twice a year (subscribe here).

The Cochrane website also features a list of all its resources in the Full Menu of Knowledge Translation Activities.

Research News

In this age of social media, it is important for researchers, health policy decision makers, academics, patient advocates, and patients to stay knowledgeable about their health topics in the news. At IMHA, we have been collecting news bytes relevant to our areas of research focus. If you would like to receive a bi-monthly mail-out of these “Google Alerts”, please email

Meetings of Interest

The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2015 Conference on Musculoskeletal Development and Regeneration
February 6-9, 2015 
Cancun, Mexico

Pacific Dental Conference
March 5-7, 2015  
Vancouver, BC

World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases
March 26-29, 2015
Milan, Italy

3rd World Congress on Controversies, Debates & Consensus in Bone, Muscle & Joint Diseases
April 23-26, 2015  
Montreal, QC (Abstracts due: January 20, 2015)

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT/ACE) Congress 2015
May 27-30, 2015  
Winnipeg, MB

21st Canadian Connective Tissue Conference 2015
May 28-30, 2015  
Université Laval, Québec City, QC

28th Annual Canadian Student Health Research Forum
June 2 – 4, 2015 
Winnipeg, MB

23rd World Congress of Dermatology
June 8-13, 2015  
Vancouver, BC

EULAR Rome 2015
June 10-13, 2015  
Rome, Italy

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