Patients + Research: Mike Gardner

Patients + Research is a platform for patients to discuss their relationship and experience with the research that leads to new cures, cares and treatments.

Patients + Research: Mike Gardner


Meet Mike

Mike Gardner has received rehabilitative therapy from St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital after suffering a stroke in 2014. He shares his progress and why he feels research is important to Stroke Medicine.

Mike Gardner at Providence Care


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your health story?

I am 53-years-old and married with one adult child. I was raised in Montreal and moved to Ontario to pursue a career in Electronics. I have a Bachelor of Science in Electronics/Computers from Concordia and I have been working intros industry for 30 Years.  I work in Electronics Manufacturing for a Global manufacturer, managing customers like Siemens, GE, Avnet, etc. I travel the Globe in this position to places like China, Europe, USA – regularly.
On a personal medical side, I had a Quad Bypass eight years ago at Ottawa General Hospital. I resumed active life after two and a half months of recovery.  Late November 2014, I suffered a Stroke that affected my left side – primarily my arm and leg movement (full paralysis). I was admitted to KGH for the first 3 weeks and moved to St. Mary’s around Mid December 2014 under the care of Dr. Bagg and Dr. Porter. I was released home at end of Feb 2015.

At the time of release, I was using a wheelchair for mobility.  I had home therapy for about six to seven weeks and then went back to St. Mary’s for an additional four weeks, using patient therapy.

I now walk with the use of a cane (I continue to have some balance issues). I have use of my lefty hand, yet strength is an issue and some mobility issues. Some issues continue with shoulder mobility and movement. I have some issues with left ankle, toes and knee movement.  All that said – the therapy at St. Mary’s brought me back to an acceptable level of independence. And I continue to see some improvement!

The adage “use it or lose it” has been my mantra and has worked for me!


Why does health research matter to you?

Research helps to better identify what the cause of stroke is, the possible prevention of stroke and the recovery of stroke!  The more we can address these areas, doctors and healthcare workers in this field can better assist patients to recover back to a normal life pattern.  Investing in research can help reduce the costs eventually associated to all aspects of stroke survival and recovery. Hopefully research may help to find a real cure, real full prevention, etc.

Imagine that if we can find a way to help prevent stroke, or recover faster and get the patient back to a normal life, we can consider how to use these funds with other kinds of health issues like cancer, Parkinson’s, ALS, etc.

Mike Gardner at Providence Care
“The therapy at St. Mary’s restored my independence,” said Mike Gardner, pictured here with Physiotherapy Practice Leader, Mary-Jo Demers. 


How does health research contribute to a healthier Ontario?

Research helps with prevention, education and recovery. Research today helps Ontario reduce cost in the future. It helps Ontarians live longer more productive lives!


How can the patient voice support, improve or empower health research?

Patient involvement helps move theory to real life!  The more a patient is involved to help with training, prevention, cure in all aspects of Stroke Medicine – the more it will help with the future of this affliction in a positive way!

Mike Gardner with students at Providence Care
Mike with student volunteers at Providence Care



If you would like to participate in the Patients + Research blog series, please email or call Elise Bradt at, 416-205-1469, or tweet us at @CAHOhospitals.

Stay tuned on our blog for more Patients + Research posts and share your own insights on Twitter with the hashtag #onHWS. To learn more about why health research matters for Ontario and how you can support it, download the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform and check out our other blog posts and videos.


HWS Field Trips: Kingston

HWS Field Trips: Kingston

Research hospitals play a leading role in making Ontario healthier, wealthier, and smarter. To demonstrate the world-class research happening across our province, we took a field trip to historic Kingston, home to a highly innovative, interdisciplinary health research community.

We went behind-the-scenes at Kingston General Hospital, Hotel Dieu Hospital, Providence Care, and Queens University, and were delighted to be joined by patients, research teams, hospital CEOs and local politicians MPP Sophie Kiwala and Mayor Bryan Paterson along the way.

This blog post highlights only a fraction of the research we learned about on our field trip. To take the full live-tweeted tour, scroll through our Storify story here.

Continue reading “HWS Field Trips: Kingston”

Health & Community Leaders Talk: Dr. Roger Deeley

Health and Community Leaders Talk: A Co-Authored Blog Series on Why Health Research Matters

Health & Community Leaders Talk: Dr. Roger Deeley

End-of-life issues: How does research enhance these conversations?

By Dr. Roger Deeley, Vice President, Health Sciences Research, KGH, and President, KGH Research Institute (KGHRI)

Dr. Roger Deeley

Palliative care and end-of-life issues have been headline news recently. Our aging population and the resulting strain on our health care system are raising questions about how and where we provide care.  The proposed medically assisted dying bill has provoked a national conversation around what’s important to us and how we want to face the end of our lives.

Many of us are living with these issues, caring for ailing or aging family members or friends, or dealing with our own frailties, be they lingering injuries or life-limiting illnesses. The journey can be long, lonely and painful, both for patients and their caregivers.

At the Kingston General Hospital Research Institute, our clinician-scientists have been studying aspects of end-of-life care for over 20 years. Their findings are being translated into vital policies, tools and best practices for guiding how, when, and where we die.

Dr. Daren Heyland, Director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at KGH, has dedicated much of the past two decades to understanding and documenting the quality of care given to the critically ill, and the need for families and medical practitioners to talk about end-of-life care. As Director of the Canadian Researchers at the End of Life Network (CARENET), he has, with others, conducted several studies that have revealed important information about end-of-life-care and our health care system: For example:

  • The CANHELP study surveyed patients and families about aspects of care that were important to them at the end of life, and how satisfied they were with how this care was delivered. Researchers found that the location of care was very important, as was communication, and avoidance of unnecessary treatments such as life support;
  • The ACCEPT study, which looked at how wishes for care were communicated, found that patient preferences for care were reflected in their care charts only 30% of the time; and
  • The DECIDE study, which examined end-of-life discussions from the health professionals’ perspective, found that health professionals felt that patients and families had difficulty understanding and accepting their love one’s prognosis.

Dr. Heyland was also involved in developing a national framework for advance care planning, a process for reflecting on and communicating one’s wishes for care, and he was part of the creation of the national Speak Up campaign for advance care planning (

Research and Palliative Care

A related and often overlooked topic is palliative care. Inside our hospital, a project to improve palliative care for patients with life-limiting illnesses has led to a unique research study on palliative care that engaged former hospital patients or their family members in both developing the study and conducting interviews with patients and their caregivers on their needs and wishes for care. While results are pending, an important lesson has already been learned: that patients’ perspectives are important, not just as research subjects, but as active participants throughout the research process, including study development.

In tandem with this study, KGH, Providence Care and the South East Community Care Access Centre have received funding from Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvements (CFHI) to develop systems and practices to improve access to palliative care.

Nationally, The Canadian Frailty Network, led by KGH critical care physician John Muscedere and headquartered here in Kingston, supports research and knowledge translation leading to better care practices for the frail elderly. For example, a recent study into lifelong medications for chronic conditions showed that elderly patients and their families support stopping non-comfort medications that have no clear benefit to the patient. This is but one of a broad sweep of studies being carried on across more than 200 institutions and organizations across Canada, offering solutions, policies and best practices leading to better quality of care for the frail elderly.

Aging, ailing, and death are uncomfortable topics to contemplate. But thanks to the efforts of our researchers, caregivers and patients, we’re learning new and better ways to respect and protect the well-being of those who are approaching the inevitable. As we all are.


Stay tuned on our blog for more Health and Community Leaders Talk posts and share your insights about the value of health research on Twitter with #onHWS. To learn more about why health research matters for Ontario and how you can support it, download the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform and check out our other blog posts and videos.

Patients + Research: Rachel Scott-Mignon

Patients + Research is a platform for patients to discuss their relationship and experience with the research that leads to new cures, cares and treatments.

Patients + Research: Rachel Scott-Mignon


I wish for the day when my mental illness goes into remission for good
By Rachel Scott-Mignon

Rachel Scott-Mignon, The Royal

It has been 10 years now since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Getting the diagnosis, after having suffered with symptoms for most of my life, was a relief. But, even so, it has remained a struggle. There’s no denying it; treatment has been rough.

And I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.  I have had the good fortune to have had the support of my family and of multiple skilled and compassionate psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, dieticians, and nurses.

My journey has been immense. I have been prescribed more than 30 medications over the years. It remains a system of trial-and-error. I have travelled to the United States to obtain the latest medications. On top of battling the symptoms of my illness (anxiety, depression, mania, an eating disorder and episodes of self harm) I have suffered from numerous side effects caused by the medications, ranging from nausea to a frightening seizure. I have undergone electro-convulsive therapy several times. I’ve been hospitalized more times than I can count, most often at The Royal and, most recently, for 3 weeks this past winter.

But there is hope. The Royal is a special place. The wonderful staff, the progressive culture, and the constant drive to break new ground through research, all serve to give patients like me hope for a brighter future. I know what a difference it could make in my life to have improved diagnostic tools and new treatments to help me get better faster. The acquisition of The Royal’s new brain-imaging machine and the research that it will enable at the Institute of Mental Health Research is such exciting news for me and many of the patients who rely on treatment to get and stay well. I can’t tell you how much I wish for the day when my mental illness goes into remission for good! This could well be another step toward that day.

I’m aware that this new opportunity for insight into the mind that the PET/fMRI machine brings to The Royal was made possible through support from the Ottawa community and for that I am grateful. Because of the compassion and the dedication of the team at The Royal, I have hope. I know I am not alone in this struggle.


If you would like to participate in the Patients + Research blog series, please email or call Elise Bradt at, 416-205-1469, or tweet us at @CAHOhospitals.

Stay tuned on our blog for more Patients + Research posts and share your own insights on Twitter with the hashtag #onHWS. To learn more about why health research matters for Ontario and how you can support it, download the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform and check out our other blog posts and videos.



Dr. Koszycki is conducting a study at Hopital Montfort funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation.


Version française originale ci-dessous.

Research into an innovative way of treating social anxiety disorder: The experience of mindfulness meditation.

Good mental health and a positive feeling of emotional and spiritual well-being help a person to appreciate life and to deal with the many challenges of daily living. In contrast, mental health problems can significantly impair an individual’s daily routine. Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses. According to a 2015 Statistics Canada report, nearly one out of 10 Canadians is affected by social anxiety disorder each year.

The intensity of the fear and the avoidance behaviour that result from social anxiety can cause significant psychological distress and have a great impact on the individual’s quality of life. While several studies have shown the effectiveness of certain therapies, there are fewer studies that look at new treatments that could also help persons with social anxiety to deal with their situations.

Dr. Diana Koszycki, holder of a mental health research chair from the Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort and the University of Ottawa, is a pioneer in treating social anxiety with an approach integrating mindfulness meditation and spiritual practices. Meditation based on full awareness (mindfulness) is a long-standing practice that teaches a person how to calm mind and body, to be more mindful of his or her experiences, to deal with unpleasant situations and to be more compassionate toward self and others.

With her research team, Dr. Koszycki is now conducting a study funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation. The main goal of the study is to compare the effectiveness of two therapies for people affected by Social Anxiety Disorder – a mindfulness-based intervention versus cognitive behaviour therapy.

The project, which already involves 60 participants, has the potential to better document the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation as an innovative treatment for social anxiety disorder, and to create greater awareness of this treatment among socially anxious individuals.


Vers une façon novatrice de traiter l’anxiété sociale : l’expérience de la méditation axée sur la pleine conscience (« mindfulness »)

Une bonne santé mentale et un sentiment positif de bien-être émotionnel et spirituel permettent d’apprécier la vie et de composer avec les défis qui peuvent surgir au quotidien. D’un autre côté, des problèmes de santé mentale peuvent nuire de façon significative au fonctionnement d’un individu. L’anxiété sociale compte parmi les maladies psychiatriques les plus courantes. Selon Statistique Canada (2015), près d’une personne sur 10 est affectée par l’anxiété sociale chaque année.

L’intensité de la peur et les comportements d’évitement qui découlent de l’anxiété sociale peuvent engendrer une détresse psychologique importante et avoir un impact considérable sur la qualité de vie d’un individu. Bien que plusieurs études aient démontré l’efficacité de certaines thérapies, moins nombreuses sont celles qui se sont penchées sur de nouveaux traitements qui pourraient aussi aider les personnes atteintes d’anxiété sociale à faire face à ces situations.

Dre Diana Koszycki, détentrice d’une chaire de recherche en santé mentale de l’Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort et de l’Université d’Ottawa, est pionnière dans l’intégration de la méditation axée sur la pleine conscience et des pratiques spirituelles dans le traitement de l’anxiété sociale. La méditation basée sur la pleine conscience est une pratique ancienne qui enseigne à calmer l’esprit et le corps, à être plus conscient de ses expériences, à mieux faire face à des expériences déplaisantes et à être plus compatissant envers soi-même et envers les autres.

Avec son équipe de recherche, Dre Koszycki réalise actuellement une étude financée par la Fondation ontarienne de la santé mentale, qui a pour objectif d’évaluer l’efficacité d’une intervention fondée sur la méditation axée sur la pleine conscience. L’objectif principal de cette étude est de comparer l’efficacité de deux thérapies – une intervention basée sur la pleine conscience et une thérapie de groupe cognitivo-comportementale – auprès de personnes qui souffrent d’un trouble d’anxiété sociale.

Ce projet, qui a déjà recruté 60 participants, a le potentiel de mieux documenter l’efficacité d’un traitement novateur pour l’anxiété sociale, soit la méditation axée sur la pleine conscience et de mieux faire connaître ce type de thérapie aux individus avec un trouble d’anxiété sociale.



Hôpital Montfort is one of Ontario’s 24 research hospitals that contribute to a healthier, wealthier, smarter province. Look for other RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT posts on our Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter blog. To learn more about what’s needed to support Ontario’s health research enterprise, download our Policy Platform.

Hôpital Montfort est l’un des 24 hôpitaux de recherche qui contribuent à faire de l’Ontario une province plus saine, plus riche et plus informée. Vous pouvez lire d’autres articles (en anglais) sur la recherche dans notre blogue Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter. Pour en savoir plus sur ce qui est nécessaire pour appuyer l’entreprise ontarienne de recherche en santé, téléchargez notre plate-forme stratégique (en anglais).