Pre-announcement – Addressing the health effects of the Alberta wildfires through research

August 4, 2016

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Alberta Health – in partnership with Alberta Innovates Health Solutions – are pleased to announce the development of a funding opportunity to support research on the health effects of the Alberta wildfires.

Anticipated Timelines

Program Launch: 2016-08

Application Deadline: 2016-09-20

Application Decision: 2016-10-30

Funding Start Date: 2016-10-01

Natural disasters such as the wildfires that swept through Fort McMurray and Northern Alberta in May 2016 can have significant impacts on health, including exacerbating respiratory and cardiac conditions linked to poor air quality; mental health challenges like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder; and long-term health impacts from the exposure to ash and environmental contaminants. To protect and improve health, safety and resiliency in the short and long term, accessible evidence is needed to deliver the appropriate health and social actions to the right people at the right time.  

The primary goal of this funding opportunity is to mitigate the harms and impact of the Alberta wildfires and evacuation by building on Canada’s emerging expertise in disaster medicine and health research responses. It addresses issues that are directly applicable to health challenges Albertans are facing as a result of the wildfires, with emphasis on:

  1. Resiliency related to mental health and addictions in (a) child or (b) adult populations.
  2. Occupational health and safety for those living and working in the fire zone, including first responders and emergency clean-up crews.

Research proposals in other areas will also be considered and supported, including but not limited to: health services strategies during a time of disaster; sex and gender-specific resiliency and effects of the wildfires; post-fire environmental issues and the long-term health consequences of wildfires; and responding to the health and wellness needs of Indigenous communities living in the fire zone.

The total amount available for this opportunity is currently $2 million over two years and is expected to grow with partners.

Full program details will be available in the coming weeks. For questions about this strategic initiative and research objectives, please contact:

Asimina Saikaley
Associate, Major Initiatives
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Jennifer Raven
Project Lead, Major Initiatives
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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