RNS New Health Investigator Grants go to Acadia Researchers

Research Nova Scotia announced this week that two Acadia researchers have received prestigious New Health Investigator Grants. Dr. Emily Bremer and Dr. Carley O’Neill, both in the School of Kinesiology, received research grants of $100,000 for their work focusing on the health and well-being of Nova Scotians. The New Health Investigator Grant supports early-career health researchers who are engaged in work that aligns with the province’s health research priorities.  The funding not only supports the establishment of independent programs of research but supports and expands the research productivity necessary for obtaining long term funding from national and external agencies.

Dr. Emily Bremer, a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Healthy Inclusive Communities works with children and youth with disabilities to encourage physical activity and physical literacy. Her research demonstrates that young people with disabilities engage in less physical activity than their peers without disabilities, placing them at an increased risk of adverse physical, mental, and social health outcomes. Physical literacy includes the physical, psychological, cognitive, and social elements necessary for sustained participation in physical activity. Over the next two years, Dr. Bremer’s research will seek to increase physical literacy through Acadia’s Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program and measure the ensuing impact on physical, mental, and social health outcomes.

Dr. Carley O’Neill’s work will begin to address the gender gap in pulmonary disease research and rehabilitation programs in the province of Nova Scotia. Across Canada, rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a leading cause of death, are the highest in Nova Scotia. Currently, COPD appears to affect men and women equally in Canada; however, research shows that women are under-diagnosed and under-represented or completely excluded from pulmonary rehabilitation research. Exercise-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms, improving disease management and quality of life but these programs lack sufficient representation of women.  Over the next two years, O’Neill will determine the feasibility of women-specific virtual and in-person pulmonary rehabilitation programs.


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