ICE Research

Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) for Vulnerable Population Research

NELS was awarded $820,000 over five years by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) through a strategic initiative grant “Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Reducing Health Disparities and Promoting Equity for Vulnerable Populations.”

ICE was an interdisciplinary team of researchers including clinicians from the Capital Health District Authority and the IWK Health Centre and collaborators who investigate factors associated with vulnerability at end of life and inequities in end of life care. The purpose of ICE was to build capacity to conduct research that will engage decision-makers and assist in overcoming inadequacies in end of life care for individuals and families living with terminal disease.


Between April 2006 and March 2011, we aimed to:

  • develop conceptual frameworks to define vulnerable populations at end of life;
  • identify and carry out qualitative studies of vulnerable populations at end-of-life;
  • design and conduct pilot studies for full research proposal development on care at end of life for vulnerable populations;
  • support the training of graduate students, post doctoral fellows and others to conduct research to address issues of vulnerability at end of life with terminal disease; and
  • partner in knowledge translation with decision-makers, health professionals and researchers on the provision of quality end of life care for all.


Our methods encompass data base development, identification of population disparities in service access, equity metrics, statistical analyses, qualitative methods to inform dialogue on justice for marginalized groups and to understand caregiving in various settings, quality care indicators, supportive interventions at end of life, interdisciplinary education, and knowledge exchange. Our disciplinary strengths include ethics, epidemiology, and clinical care including palliative medicine, family medicine, oncology, respirology, pharmacy, and nursing.