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Dalhousie University partners in new Canada‑wide initiative that will prepare trainees and early career researchers to be future leaders in digital health solutions for older adults

Posted by Terry Murray-Arnold on March 31, 2022 in Research

Dal is pleased to be co-leading a new national training program that will equip trainees and early career researchers to accelerate the delivery of digital health solutions for older adults with complex health needs and their caregivers.

The Early Professionals, Inspired Careers in AgeTech (EPIC-AT) Health Research Training Platform, powered by AGE-WELL, is a collaborative effort led by researchers from 11 universities and research hospitals across 6 Canadian provinces. EPIC-AT is hosted at the University of Toronto (U of T). It is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), with additional cash and in-kind support provided by 41 collaborating organizations.

The competency-based, experiential learning platform is an extension of AGE-WELL’s globally-leading EPIC training program and will provide one-year fellowships to at least 127 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers at Canadian institutions from 2022-2027. The focus is on digital health solutions for seniors with complex health needs.

"Students in this program have the opportunity to work at the intersection of technology and the science of healthy aging,” said Dr. Shaun Boe, Associate Dean Research Dal Faculty of Health. In addition to equipping our next generation of clinicians and scientists with cutting edge skills, the program will develop and implement solutions to promote healthy aging, allowing people to stay in their homes longer and continue to engage their communities in a meaningful way," he continued.

Participants will be equipped to develop, implement and evaluate digital technology solutions across areas such as information and communication technologies (ICT), telemedicine, artificial intelligence, sensors, smart environments and wearables. These solutions will help older Canadians age safely, independently and with dignity in the setting of their choice.

Dal Health's Dr. Grace Warner is the University's principal applicant. Dr. Warner is a professor with the schools of Occupational Therapy and Nursing with a cross appointment to Community Health and Epidemiology. She is also an Affiliate Scientist Nova Scotia Health Primary Health Care

CIHR is funding EPIC-AT at $2.4 million over six years. Funding is also being provided by the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research to empower and enable stakeholder engagement in platform programs. In addition, more than $6.1 million in cash and almost $4.5 million of in-kind support is being provided by 41 collaborating organizations from across Canada. These include public, not-for-profit and private sector organizations who are supporting participant salaries, sharing their expertise, serving as mentors, hosting interns, developing online courses and more. The total investment including in-kind contributions comes to more than $13 million over 6 years.

The 11 researchers and institutions collaborating to lead EPIC-AT are: nominated principal applicant Alex Mihailidis, U of T, and principal applicants: Nathalie Bier, Université de Montréal; Mohamed-Amine Choukou, University of Manitoba; Shannon Freeman, University of Northern British Columbia; Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, University of Regina; Karen Kobayashi, University of Victoria; Bianca Stern, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care; Heidi Sveistrup, Bruyère Research Institute; Robyn Tamblyn, McGill University; Grace Warner, Dalhousie University; Azadeh Yadollahi, The KITE Research Institute-University Health Network.

To learn more about EPIC-AT, visit: