RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort

(Version française originale ci-dessous)

Under the theme “Body and Mind”, the Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort (IRHM) takes an integrated approach to physical and mental health. The IRHM’s mission is to improve public health, especially among Francophone communities, by conducting collaborative research programs on the health care and service needs of patients and participants (families, natural helpers, health professionals, administrators, policy planners and decision-makers).

Montfort is currently conducting several research projects, with a special emphasis on health challenges created by the language barrier for Francophone minority community members.

Access to psychiatrists in Ontario’s hospitals: A challenge for Francophone patients

French-speaking Ontarians are three times less likely to have daily contact with psychiatrists in the first three days of admission to mental health facilities in Ontario than their English-speaking counterparts.

This finding is based on a study by Dr. Raymond Tempier (IRHM), El Mostafa Bouattane (Hôpital Montfort) and John P. Hirdes (University of Waterloo), published in the Healthcare Management Forum scientific journal.

The study examined close to 270,000 admission assessments concerning mental health care in Ontario between 2005 and 2013, shows that Francophones face a major language barrier when it comes to obtaining specific and highly specialized mental health care services in Ontario – a language barrier that cannot be explained by regional differences.

The article is available online at the Healthcare Management Forum website.  

Objectivation of language barrier impacts on health care quality and safety for Francophones in minority situations

Access to service, and the quality and safety of health care provided to Francophone minority communities entail major issues. While it seems obvious that a language barrier between a patient and a clinician would affect the quality and safety of health care, few scientific studies have endeavoured to prove this assumption among members of Francophone minority communities.

On March 22 and 23, 2016, the IRHM, in cooperation with the Consortium national de formation en santé, organized a meeting in Ottawa for researchers from different disciplines and professions related to the health of Francophones living in minority situations, as well as experts from the methodology field, especially literacy and communications. The purpose of their working sessions was to discuss how to develop a relevant methodology and research program. Partner patients were also invited to the event to share their experiences as health service users.

The main recommendation put forward by the participants was to continue our exploration of the factors that might influence the level of bilingualism among Franco-Ontarians in medical settings, with the objective of developing a language skills assessment tool for patients and health care professionals in clinical settings.

These are just a few examples of researches taking place at the IRHM to improve access and quality of health care for francophone communities in a minority setting. The IRHM relies on its areas of expertise in

  • information and data on the health of Francophones,
  • health innovation and technologies,
  • training and knowledge transfer,
  • collaborative research approach and
  • clinical research.

In addition, the IRHM will soon launch a research program to improve the care of multimorbidity patients, which will be connected to the development of a clinical centre of excellence in multimorbidity at Hôpital Montfort.

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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.


RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort

Sous le thème « Corps et esprit », l’Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort (IRHM) vise une approche intégrée de la santé physique et mentale. L’IRHM a pour mission d’améliorer la santé de la population, particulièrement des communautés francophones, en menant des programmes de recherche collaboratifs axés sur les besoins des patients et des participants aux soins et aux services de santé (familles, aidants, professionnels de la santé, administrateurs, planificateurs de politiques et décideurs). Plusieurs projets sont en cours à Montfort concernant les défis de la barrière linguistique sur la santé des francophones vivant en situation minoritaire.

L’accès à des psychiatres dans les hôpitaux ontariens : un défi pour les patients francophones

Un patient franco-ontarien a trois fois moins de chance qu’un patient anglophone d’avoir un contact quotidien avec un psychiatre pendant les trois premiers jours de son admission dans un service psychiatrique en Ontario.

C’est la conclusion d’une étude menée par Dr Raymond Tempier (IRHM), El Mostafa Bouattane (Hôpital Montfort) et John P. Hirdes (Université de Waterloo), publiée dans la revue scientifique Healthcare Management Forum.

L’étude, qui s’est penchée sur près de 270 000 évaluations d’admission pour des soins de santé mentale en Ontario entre 2005 et 2013, démontre qu’il existe pour les Francophones une importante barrière linguistique à l’obtention de services spécifiques et hautement spécialisés en santé mentale en Ontario – une barrière qui ne s’explique pas par des différences régionales.

L’article est disponible en ligne, sur le site de Healthcare Management Forum : http://hmf.sagepub.com/content/28/4/167.full

Objectivation des impacts de la barrière linguistique sur la qualité et la sécurité des soins de santé des francophones vivant en situation minoritaire

Il existe des enjeux importants concernant l’accès aux services, la qualité et la sécurité des soins de santé destinés aux communautés francophones vivant en situation minoritaire. Bien qu’il semble évident qu’une barrière linguistique entre le patient et son clinicien puisse affecter la qualité et la sécurité des soins de santé, peu d’études scientifiques se sont attardées à en faire la démonstration au sein des francophones vivant en situation minoritaire. Le but de la session de travail était de discuter comment on peut développer une méthodologie et un programme de recherche sur cette thématique.

Les 22 et 23 mars 2016, l’IRHM en collaboration avec le Consortium national de formation en santé ont tenu une rencontre à Ottawa regroupant des chercheurs de différentes disciplines et professions dans le domaine de la santé des francophones vivant en situation minoritaire, de même que des experts du domaine de la méthodologie, en particulier en littératie et en communication. De plus, des patients partenaires ont été invités à cet événement afin de partager leur expérience en tant qu’utilisateurs des services de santé.

La principale recommandation des participants a été de poursuivre nos travaux pour identifier les facteurs qui peuvent influencer le niveau de bilinguisme chez les Franco-ontariens dans un contexte médical avec l’objectif de développer un outil d’évaluation des compétences linguistiques du patient et des professionnels de la santé dans un contexte clinique.

Voici quelques exemples de recherches menées par l’IRHM afin d’améliorer l’accès et la qualité des soins de santé aux communautés francophones en situation minoritaire. L’IRHM s’appuie sur ses plateformes d’expertises portant sur :

  • l’information et les données sur la santé des francophones,
  • les innovations et technologies de la santé,
  • la formation et le transfert des connaissances,
  • l’approche de recherche collaborative et
  • la recherche clinique.

De plus, l’IRHM va initier sous peu un programme de recherche pour améliorer la prise en charge des patients avec multi-morbidité en lien avec le développement d’un centre d’excellence clinique en multi-morbidité à l’Hôpital Montfort.

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.

Patients + Research: Nicole Brady

Meet Nicole

Nicole Brady, a pediatric nurse at The Hospital for Sick Children, had her first baby in 2009. About six weeks after her son was born, she began to develop anxiety, insomnia and intrusive negative thoughts about herself and the baby — symptoms of postpartum depression.

Women’s College Hospital’s (WCH) family practice team referred her to the Reproductive Life Stages Program, led by Dr. Simone Vigod, a psychiatrist and scientist at WCH.

Nicole is not alone. Depression is one of the most common complications postpartum, with rates estimated from 6.5 to 12.9 per cent. Untreated postpartum depression affects the health of mothers and their families. But studies suggest the condition is underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Nicole received treatment and support through two more pregnancies at WCH. She has participated in research, including a study led by Dr. Vigod to develop a patient-decision aid to help women decide if they should take anti-depressants during pregnancy. Nicole shared her experience of treatment and recovery.

nicole-brady

Can you tell us about your health story?

I started seeing Dr. Danielle Martin with my first pregnancy. After he was born, I ended up starting to develop some symptoms of post-partum depression around the six-week mark, and Dr. Martin helped me through that. Eventually, she ended up referring me to the Reproductive Life Stages Program at WCH and I started seeing Dr. Vigod, who was really fantastic. The first year my depression was quite severe. I also attended a group program.

When things were better, I pulled back a little bit. Then I got pregnant again with my second baby, and I ended up seeing Dr. Vigod again. She followed me throughout that pregnancy and then afterward too. I did have some postpartum depression symptoms that time but it was much better. I ended up seeing Dr. Vigod for a shorter period of time, and then I had my third baby.  She followed me a little, but I was great with that pregnancy and postpartum.

Did your experience as a nurse make it easier for you to recognize symptoms and seek care?

I always wonder that. Partially, but I think it also made me a bit more resistant in a way, that I felt like I should be able to handle it on my own. That I have this knowledge base, and I am a pediatric nurse, so I know how to take care of children. But when I realized things were really going downhill, I knew we needed to take care of this right now. I also know how to access things within the healthcare system.

What made you decide to participate in research?

For one I’m a nurse myself, so I value research very much. I wanted to take a medication that was compatible with breast-feeding, and Dr. Vigod helped me decide what would work best for me. She really brought the newest research to my attention and was very respectful, knowing my background and knowing the information that I needed to feel comfortable with it. Research is constantly evolving. We have new information and that can help us make the best-informed decision possible.

Why is the patient voice important to health research?

I think the patient voice is important because every patient has different needs. Every patient is coming from their experience — from a different perspective. There isn’t a one size fits all solution to everything. For me, my patient experience was very much dictated by my healthcare background and having that knowledge. The great part of my experience with Dr. Vigod was that she could tailor what I needed based on my knowledge and my experience.

 

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Add your voice to the Patients + Research blog series. Email or call Elise Bradt at ebradt@caho-hospitals.com, 416-205-1469, or direct message or tweet at us on Twitter at @CAHOhospitals.

Read more Patients + Research posts and share your own insights on Twitter with the hashtag #onHWS. To learn more about how health research makes Ontario healthier, wealthier and smarter, visit our impact page, and check out our other blog posts and videos.

Health & Community Leaders Talk: Dr. Tom Mikkelsen

How Brain-CODE Contributes to a Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Ontario
By Dr. Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Brain Institute

Dr. Tom Mikkelsen OBI

At OBI, it’s our aim to maximize Ontario’s existing research assets and establish our province as a world leader in neuroscience. To help realize this goal, we developed five Integrated Discovery Programs that gather together researchers and clinical sites across the province dealing with specific diseases: epilepsy, cerebral palsy, neurodegenerative disorders, depression, and neurodevelopmental disorders. By connecting some of the best and brightest minds across the province, these programs allow us to address disorders that represent a significant burden to Ontarians, their families and Ontario’s society and economy.

The creation of these programs also resulted in an unprecedented opportunity for Ontario’s neuroscience community—an opportunity to share and maximize the value of neuroscience data in a way that was never-before-possible.

We developed Brain-CODE, an innovative data sharing platform that unites researchers by pooling their expertise and resources to achieve greater impact than they could have achieved in isolation. Brain-CODE manages the collection, sharing, processing and analytics of multidimensional data collected from patients with a variety of brain disorders. By standardizing the data, Brain-CODE maximizes the value of each individual’s participation in research. With the right security and privacy protocols, one person’s data can contribute to insights in an infinite number of studies.

This standardization also enables unprecedented data sharing so that, for example, Alzheimer’s researchers doing clinical studies can share their data with researchers focused on Parkinson’s Disease at a different site on the other side of the province. Here’s an illustration of how Brain-CODE can fuel collaboration:

At Providence Care in Kingston, Dr. Dallas Seitz is conducting a study on Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment as part of OBI’s Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI). Participants of the study undergo a variety of physical and cognitive evaluations and the data is processed, analyzed and stored through Brain-CODE. As soon as Dr. Seitz’s uploads his data, it’s made available to other researchers with access to Brain-CODE.  Down in London at the Lawson Health Research Institute, Dr. Mandar Jog is able to review Dr. Seitz’s data to inform his own research on Parkinson’s disease, potentially giving him new clues, insights or approaches on how to advance his work.

By bringing data together on one easily accessible plain, Brain-CODE shrinks the distance between scientists and provides fertile ground to advance research and accelerate discovery.

Brain-CODE enhances OBI’s initiatives to transform Ontario’s neuroscience research environment, improve brain health, and support Ontario’s economy – in essence, to contribute to a healthier, wealthier, smarter Ontario. The integration of data across disorders will lead to the generation of new hypotheses and open the door to discovering new treatments for patients. In addition, Brain-CODE could produce significant long-term gains by attracting clinical trials, reducing replicated research, and improving patient care. And by encouraging data sharing, Brain-CODE also helps to cultivate a culture of scientific collaboration and discovery in Ontario, helping us to attract the brightest neuroscientists from around the world. In doing all this, it’s our hope that Brain-CODE will help amplify the potential for discovery and make Ontario a world-leader in neuroscience.

Learn more about the Ontario Brain Institute and Brain-CODE at www.braininstitute.ca 

 

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Read more Health and Community Leaders Talk blog posts on our Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter site and share your insights on Twitter with the hashtag, #onHWS. To learn more about how health research makes Ontario healthier, wealthier, and smarter, check out our website and our other blog posts and videos.

 

Research Spotlight: The Royal

Similar early risk factors found for sexual and violent non-sexual offenders

Feature Photo: Kelly Babchishin, lead author of the ground-breaking new study

Sex offenders and violent non-sexual offenders’ birth and parent risk factors are more alike than they are different, according to a ground-breaking new study from The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR) and the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden).

The study, “Parental and Perinatal Risk Factors for Sexual Offending in Men: A Nationwide Case-Control Study,” was recently published in Psychological Medicine, a prestigious and frequently cited scientific journal.

“A breadth of evidence suggests the factors around our birth and the characteristics of our parents are important predictors of a wide range of later life outcomes,” says the paper’s main author, Dr. Kelly Babchishin of The Royal’s IMHR, affiliated with the University of Ottawa. “We found that birth factors and parental characteristics similarly predict both sexual and violent non-sexual offenders.

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Dr. Kelly Babchishin recently received a prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as well as the John Charles Polanyi Prize for young researchers.

Gathering the evidence: collaborating with international partners

Through collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet, this research used Sweden’s detailed national registries giving Babchishin and her five fellow researchers, including Dr. Michael Seto, IMHR’s Director of Forensic Mental Health Research, access to a huge volume of accurate data for this study. The researchers looked at birth factors (such as birth weight and size) and parental factors (such as parents’ age, education level, past history of mental illness, and criminal history) for 13,773 male sexual offenders, 135,953 male violent non-sexual offenders, and a control group of more than 740,000 men.

Ground-breaking findings challenge current theories

“There’s considerable overlap in the factors that increase one’s chance of committing sexual offences or violent non-sexual offences. Surprisingly, we did not find risk factors that were unique to sexual offending in this particular study,” says Babchishin, noting that Canadian and Swedish demographics, crime rates and other indicators are similar enough to expect the results to be applicable in Canada.

“The results were very surprising because most theories, public policies and treatments for sexual offending assume this is a unique form of crime and that unique factors must be involved,” says Seto.

The main predictors of future violent criminality, sexual or otherwise, are having young parents with criminal records, psychiatric issues, or lower education; and indicators of poor maternal health, such as low birth weight.

This means interventions tackling maternal health and parent resources could result in fewer offences of both kinds.

Towards a path for prevention

“The purpose of the research is not to stigmatize, but to know what to focus on when it comes to preventing sexual violence from occurring in the first place,” Babchishin says. “These findings suggest prevention efforts aimed at increasing parental education and helping parents cope with mental health problems, as well as maternal health initiatives, could not only reduce sexual offending, but violent offending as well.”

Babchishin is a joint post-doctoral fellow with IMHR and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Last year, she received a prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as well as the John Charles Polanyi Prize for young researchers. The study team included researchers from The Royal’s IMHR, the Karolinska Institutet, and the University of Oxford.

Seto says there are more studies in the works to better understand what causes people to commit sexual offences. “This study is the first of a number of planned collaborations that will look at risk factors for sexual offending, across the lifespan, in order to better understand its causes,” he says.
“We hope the results will make important contributions to how we respond to sexual offending.”

 

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The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group 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 or join the conversation about why health research matters for Ontario on Twitter, using the hashtag #onHWS.

Turnstone Biologics: Highlighting how Health Research Makes Ontario Wealthier

An Ontario biotech start-up, Turnstone Biologics Inc. (Turnstone), has secured $41.4 million in new private investments to continue advancing cancer immunotherapy.

Turnstone was founded in 2015 to advance the development of novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies for cancer. The company’s technology is based on research led by Dr. John Bell (from The Ottawa Hospital and uOttawa – pictured middle), Dr. Brian Lichty (from McMaster University – pictured right) and Dr. David Stojdl (from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario [CHEO] and uOttawa – pictured left).

The company’s series B financing is led by new investor OrbiMed, the largest investment firm dedicated to the healthcare sector globally, with participation from new investor F-Prime Capital Partners – both private investors from outside of Ontario.

Turnstone’s financing success highlights the capacity of Ontario’s health research enterprise to draw significant investment into our province, helping to drive Ontario’s knowledge and innovation economy by creating new jobs and bringing new products to market. Turnstone continues to receive support from existing investors FACIT and Versant Ventures, which led the company’s series A financing.

Turnstone’s most advanced product is an oncolytic Maraba virus that is engineered to express melanoma-associated antigen A3 (MAGEA3). This is currently being tested in a clinical trial led by The Ottawa Hospital, sponsored by the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, and funded by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Full results are expected to be released in 2017. Read more about it in this CAHO Catalyst story.

“This financing is incredible validation that we’re on the right track. We all want to be part of a scientific narrative that changes lives, and I believe that our immunotherapy approach is it.” – David Stojdl, senior scientists from CHEO and associate professor at the University of Ottawa.

“We have had tremendous success with our technology so far, but this financial support as a commercial venture is essential in enhancing our ability to bring it to the bedside. We know there is so much potential.” – Brian Lichty, associate professor at McMaster University

“Community support has been and will continue to be crucial for our research. However developing new therapies is extremely costly, so we also need to engage the private sector to take our research to the next level. I want to express my deep gratitude to all the people who have helped get us to this exciting place.” – John Bell, senior scientist, The Ottawa Hospital; professor, University of Ottawa

A Few Facts

  • This is believed to be the largest venture capital (VC) deal in Ottawa since 2013, and the second largest biotech VC deal in Canada in 2016 (data obtained from Invest Ottawa).
  • The top journal Science called cancer immunotherapy the “breakthrough of the year” in 2013.
  • Numerous organizations have supported the research team, including the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Angels of Hope, BioCanRx, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, CHEO Foundation, Hair Donation Ottawa, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and the Terry Fox Research Institute.

Read more about Turnstone’s financing success:

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Ontario’s 24 research hospitals contribute to a healthier, wealthier, smarter province. Look for other examples on our Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter website and blog, and join the conversation about why health research matters for Ontario on Twitter, using the hashtag #onHWS.