The EPIC-AT Health Research Training Platform has welcomed its first cohort of Fellows. Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, EPIC-AT is powered by AGE-WELL and hosted at the University of Toronto. The platform is led by researchers from 11 universities and research institutes across 6 provinces and supported by 42 collaborating organizations across the country.
23 master’s and doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers from 12 institutions across Canada have been awarded one-year Fellowships. These Fellowships are valued at over $270,000 in salary funds and will also include access to an exclusive new training and mentorship program that will prepare recipients to be the leaders in developing and implementing digital health solutions for older adults with complex health needs.
“I am just two months into my EPIC-AT Fellowship and already feel more confident that my work will decrease loneliness and social isolation of older adults. The Fellowship has allowed me to renew my work equipment, attend the EPIC-AT Annual Conference, and valuable training and mentorship sessions. It is a real boost for my skills, productivity and peace of mind,” says Dr. Armel Ayimdji, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Information Studies at McGill University. This EPIC-AT Fellowship is partially supported by Perley Health.
Thanks to a Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Supplement, EPIC-AT was also able to support four early career researchers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario to pursue projects that will better enable older adult engagement in research, solution development and knowledge translation.
For Dr. Natasha Gallant, an early career researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Regina, the platform has provided both opportunities to grow her career and to support the next generation of AgeTech innovators. “The EPIC-AT platform has been wonderful in supporting my career at an early stage. As a recipient of an ECR SPOR Supplement, I have been able to work with a number of long-term care residents, caregivers and staff to produce more meaningful research than if I was doing this work without these partners.”
Dr. Gallant is one of the 25 researchers and stakeholders from across Canada who have dedicated their time to provide close mentorship and guidance to EPIC-AT Fellows throughout their one-year program. Dr. Gallant hopes to share her knowledge of AgeTech development and her own insights as an early career researcher in academia.
To mark the beginning of the platform, EPIC-AT held its first annual meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan on October 18-19. Centred on the theme “Innovating a Better Future,” the meeting brought together 41 EPIC-AT Fellows, researchers, older adults and caregivers, as well as industry, government and community stakeholders, for a full day of innovative workshops and talks before joining the AGE-WELL Annual Conference on October 19.
“The EPIC-AT Annual Meeting was an incredible experience!” says Dr. Bryan Hong, an entrepreneur and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. “The workshops provided me with a wide range of perspectives, ideas and resources, emphasizing the importance of taking a transdisciplinary approach when developing AgeTech. I had the opportunity to form meaningful connections with researchers, older adults and community advocates with a shared vision of driving innovation that benefits older adults and caregivers.”
EPIC-AT Fellows are currently being matched with multi-sectoral mentors and completing individual development plans. They have enrolled in the first of four online courses that will train them to develop and implement digital health solutions to help older Canadians age safely, independently and with dignity in the setting of their choice.
|Ali Abedi||KITE-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network|
|Aline Aboujaoudé||Université de Montréal|
|Mir Nabila Ashraf||University of Regina|
|Atousa Assadi||University of Toronto|
|Armel Ayimdji||McGill University|
|Louise Castillo||University of Regina|
|Kelsey Haczkewicz||University of Regina|
|Bjorn Herrmann||Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest|
|Bryan Hong||University of Toronto|
|Andrew Kouri||University of Toronto|
|Lindsay Kuramoto||University of Toronto|
|Cari McIlduff||University of Saskatchewan|
|Ava Mehdipour||McMaster University|
|Osnat Melamed||Centre for Addiction and Mental Health|
|Amarzish Qadeer||University of Manitoba|
|Isabelle Rash||University of British Columbia|
|Elise Roger||Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal|
|Raheleh Saryazdi||KITE-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network|
|Stephanie Simpson||Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest|
|Guillaume Spalla||Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal|
|Rhonda Stopyn||University of Regina|
|Jonathan Wu||University of Toronto|
|Karen Young||University of Toronto|
Read the EPIC-AT platform funding announcement here.