By Leslie Shepherd
Dr. Andrea Tricco, a scientist with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital, has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Synthesis, federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced today.
The five-year chair worth $100,000 a year will allow Dr. Tricco to continue her work in knowledge synthesis – combining information from large numbers of research studies in a way that helps governments, policy-makers, physicians, patients and others make evidence-based decisions around health care.
“I am thrilled to receive a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair,” said Dr. Tricco, who is also an assistant professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. “This award will allow me to continue my work advancing the science of knowledge synthesis. By improving our methods, researchers will be able to provide timely, relevant and high-quality information to decision-makers, including patients, health-care providers and the government. My dream is to improve the health of all Canadians by providing decision-makers with the specific information that they need just in time for them to make a decision.”
The Canada Research Chair program, established in 2000, is aimed at helping the country attract and retain research leaders in engineering and natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is an initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Dr. Tricco, who has a PhD in population health and MSc in epidemiology, is a scientist in the Knowledge Translation Program of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute where she directs the Knowledge Synthesis Team. She has published more than 115 peer-reviewed articles. She previously held a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award (2012-17) and currently holds the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science Early Researcher Award (2015-2020). She is an associate editor for three international journals, the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, BMC Medical Research Methodology, and Systematic Reviews, and is a member of the BMC Medicine editorial board.
“Dr. Tricco is a world expert on meta-analysis, the study of evidence from multiple studies that can lead to real impact on patient care,” said Dr. Arthur S. Slutsky, vice-president of research at St. Michael’s. “At a time when it can be challenging to support researchers in the earlier stages of their careers, this Canada Research Chair is very helpful to help retain superb researchers like Dr. Tricco.”
Dr. Tricco and her team are frequently commissioned by the federal and provincial governments in Canada to provide evidence to support decision making, as well as foreign governments and international agencies such as the World Health Organizations.
They recently helped the Canadian Institutes of Health Research create modules to make peer reviewers aware of gender bias and to promote gender equity when reviewing grant applications. They helped the WHO and the South African government implement policies to prevent bankrupting the country’s health-care system. Their work on the benefits of insulin for people with Type 1 diabetes is being used by the WHO essential medicines guidelines group to help make recommendations on the use of these drugs internationally.
Clinicians and patients are making decisions based on a 2013 paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that found cognitive enhancers—drugs taken to enhance concentration, memory, alertness and moods—do not improve cognition or function in people with mild cognitive impairment in the long term, and in fact cause side effects.
Seven other scientists at St. Michael’s also hold Canada Research Chairs: Dr. Andreas Laupacis (health policy and citizen engagement), Dr. Teodor Grantcharov (simulation and surgical safety), Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis (perinatal community health), Dr. Richard Gilbert (diabetes complications), Dr. Subodh Verma (atherosclerosis), Dr. Sharon Straus (knowledge translation and quality of care), and Dr. David Jenkins (nutrition and metabolism).
About St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
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