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Research Projects & Programs

Research Enterprise at the McMaster University Department of Family Medicine is among the most innovative and prolific in Canada. Our faculty members are leading a diverse range of research interests including health system transformation, healthy aging, polypharmacy, community paramedicine, eHealth, advance care planning, and child health and development.

The projects listed below represent some of our major research areas.

Expandable List

Health TAPESTRY is a community-based program, led by primary care teams, that creates connections between trained health care volunteers, interprofessional health care teams, novel technology and community engagement through improved system navigation. Based on the needs and goals of individual clients, the program works to enhance the timeliness and quality of care people receive — to help them stay healthier for longer in the places where they live. Right now, the Health TAPESTRY team is working with partners across Canada to bring this approach to more communities and evaluate the effectiveness of the programs in different environments.

Learn more about Health TAPESTRY, led by David Price, Dee Mangin  and Doug Oliver

For many older adults, taking multiple medications is part of daily life. While first prescribed with a purpose, some of these drugs may nevertheless have been continued past their effectiveness or to the point that their negative effects outweigh their benefit. This program of study is evaluating the TAPER approach to helping people who are on more than five medications. TAPER pulls on the strengths of pharmacists, family doctors and patients to safely reduce the number of medications a person is taking based on the priorities that patients set for their own health.

Learn more about TAPER, led by Dee Mangin

Older adults are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and experiencing falls. This can lead to potentially unnecessary 911 calls and expensive visits to the emergency department. The Community Paramedicine program is evaluating an intervention, that has community paramedics assess individuals from populations with high-911 calls, provide them with information on healthy living and communicate data back to that person’s primary care team.

Learn more about McMaster Community Paramedicine, led by Gina Agarwal

The INCH Lab is working on projects to benefit children’s mental and physical health. Some of the team’s major studies focus on assessing development, physical activity, cognitive function and other related topics that impact the lives of children. INCH researchers are active in the community, clinics and at the INCH Lab located in Hamilton at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre.

Learn more CATCH at the INCH Lab, Led by John Cairney and Matt Kwan

Advance Care Planning (ACP) means thinking about and sharing what you would like to happen, if you are unable to make important decisions about your own health. The role health professionals have in the lives of their clients creates a strong opportunity to get people planning for what they would like their care to look like in the future. Our ACP researchers are working to improve the approaches and resources available to help health professionals and their clients plan for the future, based on the client’s wishes and health.

Learn more about iGAP (Improving General practice Advance care Planning) and iCAN-ACP, led by Michelle Howard.

The Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP) is a community-wide intervention focused on cardiovascular and chronic disease health promotion and prevention. CHAP uses free drop-in blood pressure, risk assessment and health education sessions to reach whole communities. We are working to make CHAP available to all Canadians to significantly improve community and population-based prevention and management of cardiovascular disease.

Learn more about the Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP) led by Gina Agarwal.

Diabetes is increasing dramatically in low- to middle-income countries. The Community Health Assessment Program in the Philippines (CHAP-P) intervention is a drop-in diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention program. Through a mixed methods design we are testing whether the CHAP model is effective in decreasing the number of people with a high risk of diabetes in the Zamboanga Peninsula of the Philippines.

Learn more about the Community Health Assessment Program in the Philippines (CHAP-P) led by Gina Agarwal.

Long-term care (LTC) residents are at risk of receiving unwanted and non-beneficial treatment because of errors related to consent. The PoET Southwest Spread Project aims to reduce these consent-related errors and provide care that is in line with the resident’s values and wishes. In partnership with William Osler Health System, PSSP is being implemented and evaluated in LTC homes across Southwestern Ontario.

Learn more about the PoET Southwest Spread Project, led by Henry Siu.

How we train and continue to support the growth of our health professionals has a direct and obvious impact on the care that people receive. Research on topics such as trainer/trainee power dynamics or how universities select medical students and residents is helping inform how we prepare health professionals to provide the best care possible.

Learn more about Longitudinal appraisal of medical educational metrics: Developing big education data platforms, led by Lawrence Grierson or Health Professional Training researcher Meredith Vanstone.

People who experience imprisonment are at a higher risk for illness and death. Our research work in prison health is aimed at preventing imprisonment, improving health care in prisons and supporting the continuity of health care on release. To address at these areas, we are using correctional and health administrative data to describe health status and health care utilization for people that experience imprisonment.

Learn more about Prison Health research, Led by Fiona Kouyoumdjian.

Compassion and empathy are crucial parts of working in health care; healthy self-care practices are part of maintaining those skills. We are studying how these aspects can be fostered through formal art analysis and visual literacy learning. The Art of Seeing is a program developed in partnership with the McMaster Museum of Art to help participants develop these skill sets.

Learn more about The Art of Seeing, Led by Joyce Zazulak (DFM) and Nicole Knibb (McMaster Museum of Art).

Through the interdisciplinary field of medical humanities, we learn about the wider historical and cultural content that health care operates in. The History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Portal was developed to help gather resources for researchers, health professionals and the general public.

Learn more about the History of Medicine & Medical Humanities Research Web Portal, led by Ellen Amster.

Electronic Medical Records contain a great deal of data about the health of the populations that primary care teams serve. MUSIC makes this data (with any identifying information removed) available to research projects that will benefit McMaster Family Health Team patients, the Hamilton community and primary care systems in general. MUSIC also contributes data the larger Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network, which is a partnership between MUSIC and eight other practice-based research networks.

Learn more about MUSIC, led by Dee Mangin

Infective endocarditis (IE) is a severe and highly prevalent infection among people who inject drugs (PWID). While short-term outcomes are similar between PWID and non-PWID, the long-term outcomes among PWID after IE are poor, likely due to gaps in care for PWID both in hospital and after discharge. The Second Heart Program connects PWID with a multidisciplinary team designed to address their unique medical, psychosocial, and health system challenges.

Learn more about the Second Heart Program, led by Robin Lennox.