IMHA On The Move! – September/October 2015

Table of contents

A Message from the Scientific Director

Welcome back from summer! I hope everyone enjoyed restful, healthy and safe vacations. Welcome also to students embarking on careers as health care providers, laboratory researchers, or a combination of both. Whatever career you choose, CIHR-IMHA is committed to investing in opportunities for Young Investigators. This fall, we will host a Young Investigators Forum for researchers within the first five years of their academic career. Our goal with this Forum is to offer young investigators in the areas of arthritis, bone, muscle, MSK rehabilitation, oral health and skin, some tools to help them prepare for and be successful in CIHR grant competitions as well as give them a home in the CIHR-IMHA research community. We have planned our Forum to coincide with the Arthritis Alliance of Canada’s 3rd Annual Meeting, which will feature a symposium entitled “New Directions in Osteoarthritis Research,” and a special Gala Tribute Dinner, “Dr. Cy Frank and the Rocky Mountain Pioneers,” in honour of the accomplishments and legacy of CIHR-IMHA’s founding Scientific Director. We felt it would be a great opportunity for our newer research community members to take part in this event, since they will be responsible for carrying Dr. Frank’s legacy forward.

One other thing we hope our Young Investigators take away from the Forum is an understanding of the importance of practicing Knowledge Translation throughout their research programs. CIHR-IMHA’s Research Ambassadors will meet in October to review and choose award-winning plain language abstracts in the areas of Biomedical, Clinical, and Health Systems and Services/ Population and Public Health. The winners will be chosen from among abstracts that CIHR-IMHA funded this past fiscal year. Our Research Ambassadors consist of patients and patient representatives living with or supporting people living with conditions that fall under our areas of research focus.

Never before has patient engagement been more important with the recent release of a report from Canada’s Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation, Unleashing Innovation: Excellent Healthcare for Canada. Launched in June, 2014, the Panel was to identify “the five most promising areas of innovation in Canada and internationally that have the potential to sustainably reduce growth in health spending while leading to improvements in the quality and accessibility of care” (Executive Summary). Several areas the Panel identified of most interest to CIHR-IMHA include:

  • Patient engagement and empowerment;
  • Technological transformation via digital health and precision (also known as personalized) medicine; and
  • Industry as an economic driver and innovation catalyst.

I encourage everyone to please read this report and take it into consideration when developing research projects and initiatives or when advocating on behalf of patients.

Finally, as we move into this next academic year, CIHR-IMHA is looking forward to launching a series of new Funding Opportunities to further our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. These new opportunities will continue to address gaps in research and forge international research networks to maximize Canada’s contributions to health research on the world stage.

I appreciate hearing from our stakeholder community members. Please send any questions or comments to, and please also follow me on Twitter @HaniElgabalawy.


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

A Message from the Institute Advisory Board Chair

Greetings on behalf of the CIHR IMHA Institute Advisory Board! Many of our colleagues and fellow stakeholders are engaged in academic institution communities and so I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back to school. I hope you enjoyed a refreshing break this summer and are ready to continue your work or studies with renewed enthusiasm.

In particular, the IMHA IAB and I would like to send greetings to those researchers currently experiencing the first five years of their academic appointments. You are what we call ‘Young Investigators’, forming the foundation of the future of health research in Canada. My colleagues and I were in your shoes, once upon a time, and commend you on choosing a difficult but much-needed career. Never before has research in our fields of arthritis, bone, muscle, musculoskeletal (MSK) rehabilitation, oral health and skin been so important with an aging population and rising health care costs.

This October, we hope those young investigators attending IMHA’s second Young Investigators Forum in Kananaskis, AB, will take advantage of the opportunity to network with colleagues, find mentors and form potential collaborations that will lead to cutting-edge innovations and raise the bar for health research in Canada. As well, we hope you will learn from the legacy of the late Dr. Cy Frank at the Arthritis Alliance of Canada’s Symposium being organized in his name. As the founding Scientific Director of IMHA, Dr. Frank brought together the myriad of seemingly disparate areas of research to make this logical cohesive field of research that we all now pursue for the improvement of MSK-related health and health care for Canadians.

Many of my fellow board members look forward to meeting you this fall and encouraging you to forge ahead with being the most creative and innovative health researchers you possibly can.

Best Regards,

Monique Gignac, PhD
Chair, Institute Advisory Board
CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis

Funding Opportunities and News

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

Funding Opportunities

Program Name: Operating Grant - Population Health Intervention Research (Fall 2015 Competition) (Population Health Intervention Research to Promote Health and Health Equity)
Application Deadline: October 15, 2015

Program Name: Catalyst Grant: Sex as a Variable in Biomedical or Translational Research (Integrating Sex as a Variable in Biomedical or Translational Research)
Application Deadline: November 12, 2015

Program Name: Healthy and Productive Work – PDG (Healthy and Productive Work – Partnership Development Grants)
Application Deadline: November 30, 2015

Program Name: Other: Personalized Medicine in Inflammation Network (Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Disease Network)
Application Deadline (Phase 1 Letter of Intent): December 15, 2015

Funding News

Announcement: Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Disease Network Funding Opportunity

Expression of Interest and Letter of Intent Deadline (Phase 1): December 15, 2015
Full Application Deadline (Phase 2): October 18, 2016

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) and the Dutch Arthritis Foundation (Reumafonds) are pleased to announce that the first phase of a two-phase call for applications has now been launched. The joint initiative: Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Disease Network, is aimed at developing personalized pharmacotherapy approaches to medicine for immune mediated inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases through the research potential of multiple population-based patient cohorts in Canada and the Netherlands.

Details of the funding opportunity and application requirements can be found on the CIHR Website.

For questions on CIHR funding guidelines, how to apply, and the peer review process contact:

Telephone: 613-954-1968
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178

For questions on ZonMw eligibility, funding and procedural guidelines contact:

Ackbar Ketwaru
Programme Officer

For questions on rheumatology in The Netherlands contact:

Ingrid Lether
Manager Research en Innovatie

CIHR Fellowship Program – Deadline change

The CIHR Fellowship awards competition deadline has moved to November 2, 2015 (rather than November 15). The anticipated notice of decision will remain as it was in previous years, on April 30, 2016. Please consult the CIHR website for details or contact the program delivery team at

Update to the 2015 Foundation Grant competition

Based on the results of the first Foundation Grants competition and other consultations, CIHR has made a number of refinements to Stage 1 of the 2015 competition. Read more.

Research News

In keeping with CIHR-IMHA’s mandate of supporting ethical and impactful research to enhance active living, mobility and oral health and to address the wide range of conditions related to bones, joints, muscles, connective tissue, skin and teeth, IMHA On the Move! strives to connect its community of stakeholders by sharing news. Please send your community’s research news to the Institute Communications Project Officer.

Bone density and ovulation – evidence for the egg

Researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have just published evidence of the importance of ovulation in contributing to bone density in women. The August 20 edition of the multidisciplinary Open Access journal, PLOS ONE, published the article Negative Spinal Bone Mineral Density Changes and Subclinical Ovulatory Disturbances – Prospective Data in Healthy Premenopausal Women With Regular Menstrual Cycles by co-authors Danni Li, Christine L. Hitchcock, Susan I. Barr, Tricia Yu, and Jerilynn C. Prior. The research was funded by a grant from the CIHR and by various public health institutions in Norway.

The international research team conducted a meta-analysis of literature including studies of women living in Vancouver, Canada; Toronto, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; and Santa Clara, California. The data in all the studies showed that regularly menstruating women who did not necessarily ovulate with every cycle, experienced more negative changes in their bone density than women who ovulated regularly.


Spread the word. Effective strategies do exist to reduce pain in children with shots and needles. “It Doesn’t Have to Hurt” is an initiative led by the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research to get research evidence about children’s pain directly into the hands of parents who can use it. Read about how you can join the social media campaign.

Is it “just” clumsiness?

Children with Development Coordination Disorder may appear to be "clumsy" or "awkward", and their difficulties with motor skills can get in the way of both school and play. Although the causes are unknown, the disorder affects 5-6% of school-aged children. Dr. John Cairney at McMaster University is currently conducting a CIHR-funded study, called the Coordination and Activity Tracking in Children (CATCH) study, to track the motor coordination and physical fitness of children over time. Read more.

Employer supports improve function and productivity of workers with arthritis

A new study about workplace supports for people with arthritis suggests that many affected workers don’t feel they need frequent help. The study, conducted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), also finds that the benefits and accommodations needed—ranging from extended health benefits to flexible working hours—are often already being offered by employers and that people who are able to access them often report better outcomes at work.

“Our study suggests that providing benefits and accommodations to workers improves work participation,” says Dr. Monique Gignac, an IWH senior scientist and lead author of the study. “It also suggests that providing such support is unlikely to drain company resources.”

The study, entitled “Availability, need and use of work accommodation and policies,” has been accepted for publication in the journal Arthritis Care and Research.

New Chair in Statistics for Arthritis and MSK Diseases Announced

Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Arthritis Research Canada (ARC) have announced Dr. Hui Xie as the new Maureen and Milan Ilich/ Merck Chair in Statistics for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. Co-located at ARC and the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU, Dr. Xie, a biostatistician, will work closely with arthritis researchers to develop statistical methods that improve the evaluation of arthritis treatments and programs. Studies on arthritis and other musculoskeletal disease require large-scale clinical trials and the analysis of large data sets.

October 19-25 is Open Access Week!

CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC funded researchers must make their publications accessible for free within 12 months of publication. Please read about the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy and the two ways to comply.

Cognition data available from CLSA

Cognition data collected from the 21,241 participants who completed the baseline assessments through telephone interviews in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) are now available to researchers. Read more.

Top 20 Pioneers recognized by the College of Family Physicians

In honour of the 20th anniversary of its section of researchers, the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) recently recognized the Top 20 Pioneers of Family Medicine Research in Canada. The recipients have been dedicated to community connections, doctor-patient relationships and sharing knowledge. The majority of them have been funded by CIHR, and their work is closely aligned with the CIHR Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research and the Community-Based Primary Health Care initiative.

Partner News

CIHR-IMHA Partner organizations are invited to share their news with our research community. Please send your organization news to the Institute Communications Project Officer.

Meetings of Interest

Arthritis Alliance of Canada 3rd Annual Meeting
October 22-23, 2015 Kananaskis, AB

4th International Conference on Orthopedics & Rheumatology
October 26-28, 2015 Baltimore, Maryland, USA

American College of Rheumatologists (ACR) Annual Meeting
November 6-11, 2015 San Francisco, CA

6th Annual Military and Veteran Health Research Forum
November 23-25, 2015 Quebec City, QC

2016 CRA Annual Scientific Meeting and AHPA Annual Meeting
February 17-20, 2016 Lake Louise, AB

Pacific Dental Conference
March 17-19, 2016 Vancouver, BC

Sparking Population Health Solutions: Research for a Healthier Future – An International Summit
April 25-28, 2016 Ottawa, Canada

10th World Biomaterials Congress 2016
May 17-22, 2016 Montreal, QC

9th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS2016)
June 20-23, 2016 Toronto, Canada

Keep Up With The 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 CIHR-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 the Communications Project Officer.

Contact Us

Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis
University of Manitoba
290 Brodie Centre, 727 McDermot Avenue
Winnipeg, MB  R3E 3P5

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