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The Canada Research Chair program has just publicized an investment of $195 million for 259 new and renewed Chairs to attract global talent and increases diversity. Acadia University is pleased to announce that Professor Lesley Frank (Sociology) is our newest Tier II chair in “Food, Health, and Social Justice.” An outstanding scholar, Dr. Frank’s research has established family and early childhood food insecurity as an urgent nutrition, health, and social equity problem in Canada requiring enhanced monitoring, further research, and national action.

Published in both Canadian and leading international food studies journals, Dr. Frank is also a leader in disseminating research and policy analysis among the general public and has authored the Nova Scotia Child and Family Poverty Report Card for twenty years (the most downloaded report of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative – NS). Recently, Dr. Frank’s book Out of Milk:  Infant Food Insecurity in a Rich Nation, was published by the University of British Columbia Press and is now available in paperback.

Honoured to be awarded a Tier II Canada Research Chair, Dr. Frank notes that it is “an exciting opportunity to build on the excellent work already happening at Acadia across faculties related for food and health inequalities.” Importantly, she is now positioned to “work collaboratively with new and longstanding partners on transformative solutions to families and childhood food insecurity.” Acadia’s Dean of Research, Dr. Anna Redden, was equally excited, noting that the Canada Research Chair program “helps universities like Acadia build research capacity and retain exceptional internationally recognized scholars like Professor Frank.”

Acadia’s Dr. Tanya Surette (Counsellor Education) has been awarded a prestigious New Health Investigator Grant from Research Nova Scotia (RNS) for her project “Resilience and impairment: A study of factors supporting counsellor development and career longevity”. Valued at $99, 906 over two years, the funding will help Surette investigate the important problem of compassion fatigue among Nova Scotia’s counselling professionals.

While compassion fatigue can affect counsellors in different ways (e.g. depression & anxiety), it can also hinder their ability to provide the most effective and therapeutic services possible to their clients, resulting in potentially negative social, psychological and economic outcomes for individual service users. Yet, while compassion fatigue is a serious problem affecting many mental health practitioners, it is not an inevitable outcome of professional counselling and, in fact, many demonstrate a high level of resilience in this demanding but rewarding field.

Despite the way it develops over time, compassion fatigue and resilience are typically studied in single moments of time, capturing present levels of distress or wellness. Dr. Surette’s study will take a developmental approach to better understand the progression of compassion fatigue and resilience amongst counselling practitioners. Tools such as video journal diaries, narrative interviews, artistic exploration, and mental health screening assessments will be employed to follow counselling graduate students from preservice, through their education, internship, and into their early careers. The results of this study will add to the existing literature as well as inform counsellor educators, supervisors, managers, and individual practitioners on ways to support the development of sustainable counselling practices.

Research Nova scotia has provided over 2 million dollars in research funding to early career researchers who are working in areas that align with the province’s health research priorities. You can read about all the recipients on the RNS website.

Dr. Mark Malloy, Acadia University’s Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Coastal Wetland Ecosystems has contributed to an important study that was recently published in one of the world’s leading scholarly journals, Science. The study notes the tremendous effect that climate change is having on Arctic animal behavior as some species are changing everything from spring migration to reproduction times.

Read about the team and their fascinating study on the website of the CBC or in the Globe & Mail.

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