Featured image: The 2022-2023 CAnD3 Fellows with staff and speakers at the 2023 CAnD3 Keynote Address event on June 12.
“We are not only living to old age, but we live longer in old age.”
This was one of the main messages Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews stressed during her Keynote Address on “Aging across the Decades”. Speaking with insight from a 45-year career in social gerontology, Dr. Martin-Matthews emphasized that population aging is and will continue to be a shared phenomenon across time and space.
However, perspectives on and approaches to aging have drastically shifted over the past half a century. She drew on the examples of caregiving and dementia to illustrate how topics that were little known in the 1970s have since become mainstream in the discussion and funding around aging research. Other examples include shifts in the discourse from “advocacy for older people” to “partnerships with them” and from portrayals of “frailty” to equity and inclusivity.
Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews speaking at at the 2023 Keynote Address Event.
Equally crucial to looking retrospectively is looking prospectively at emerging research lenses, says Dr. Martin-Matthews. These new lenses include considerations for the heterogeneity of older populations, life course approaches, patient-oriented research, and the intersectionality of aging with gender, migration, race, sexual orientation, ethnocultural diversity, and more.
The point on the emerging lenses was especially pertinent as she addressed an audience of early-career researchers who are Fellows in the CAnD3 training program. “You are doing this [research],” said Dr. Martin-Matthews, speaking directly to the Fellows and referring to their work. The sentiment was clear that the Fellows sitting in the audience today would be shaping the future of population research, discourse, and policy.
Dr. Martin-Matthews ended her Address by highlighting that the “Future is aging”. That population aging is “unprecedented, pervasive, enduring, and has profound implications for many facets of human life.” And that this is precisely why aging needs to be understood and addressed from diverse perspectives and methods.
CAnD3 fostering diverse perspectives and methods on population research
The Keynote Address was, in many ways, a celebration of the three CAnD3 Fellow cohorts who completed the year-long rigorous training in population data science and computational social sciences. Also among the audience was the fourth incoming cohort.
The training program delivers substantive (introductions to new and critical population research topics), skills (training on quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods and analysis tools and software), and professionalization (insights on career navigation) modules to researchers in Master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral programs.
One of these modules is the “CAnD3 Dragon’s Den Competition”, where the Fellows are challenged to effectively communicate a data visualization in under two minutes. It requires the Fellows to apply all they’ve learned in the program to assess their technical and data-driven storytelling acumen. The competition has three rounds — preliminary, semi-finals, and finals. You can watch the 2023 Dragon’s Den finals presentations here. The winners announced at the Keynote Address are Saman Rais-Ghasem (first place), Amber Duynisveld (second place), and Christopher Yurris, Emna Ben Jelili, and Kamila Kolpashnikova (tied for third place).
CAnD3 Director Dr. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée presents certificates and gifts to the CAnD3 Dragon's Den winners. From left to right, Saman Rais-Ghasem, Amber Duynisveld, Christopher Yurris, Kamila Kolpashnikova. Emna Ben Jelili is not pictured.
Some of the Fellows and CAnD3 staff also presented their research at the poster sessions throughout the day:
- “Early Life Disadvantage and Intersectional Inequalities in Chronic Disease” – Tyler Bruefach, 2021-2022 Fellow
- “When home is no longer the best place – the impact on the use of health and social care services and informal care” – Mari Aaltonen, 2020-2021 Fellow
- “Child fostering and School Expenditure in Rural Malawi” – Avelin Peguy Angos, 2022-2023 Fellow
- “Understanding unmet medical need in Europe: The role of individual- and macro-level determinants” – Michaela Bunakova, CAnD3 Training Program Facilitator
- “Fear of Falling: Trusting Others Makes Older People Less Fearful of Falls” – Kamila Kolpashnikova, 2022-2023 Fellow
- “Investigating the impact of immigration status on the care trajectories and health outcomes of people with diabetes in Quebec: A protocol presentation” – Divine-Favour Ofili, CAnD3 Training Coordinator
- “HIV infection risk among women in south africa: assessing the roles of women’s autonomy and intimate partner violence” – Stephen Ogbodo, 2023-2024 Fellow
CAnD3 Fellows and staff present at the poster sessions.
Interdisciplinary and intersectoral exchange for equitable and inclusive societies
The Keynote Address by Dr. Martin-Matthews was followed by a panel on the “Future of Aging Research”. Drs. Miles Taylor and Janice Keefe addressed the need for more diversity in aging research in approach and topic and the need to tackle ageist policies and practices to promote justice.
Drs. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, Miles Taylor, and Janice Keefe (left to right) speaking on the "Future of Aging Research" panel.
Embedded in the panel discussion was the crucial importance of approaching the challenges faced by aging societies from an interdisciplinary and intersectoral angle, a core mission of CAnD3 and the training program. One of the ways the program does this is by connecting Fellows to experiential learning opportunities with governmental, not-for-profit, and private sector partners. These opportunities include internships and hands-on research projects the Fellows match with throughout the program.
The partners at the Keynote Address took the opportunity to present their institution and mission to the new cohort for matching in the coming year. The partners who presented include:
- Chantier de l’économie sociale
- Environics Analytics
- Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)
- SE Health
- Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)
- Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
- Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP)
- Knowli Data Science
- Statistics Canada
Celebrating the halfway point of the SSHRC Partnership Grant
Since the beginning of the program in 2020, CAnD3 has trained 52 Fellows and welcomes 23 new Fellows for the 2023-24 Academic Year. This milestone officially marks the midway point of the $2.5M Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant that formed CAnD3.
We are happy to report that we have thus far had $1.3M in support from our 38 partners, representing 54% in matching the Partnership Grant. It is equally exciting that 45% of Fellows’ internships were extended, and 75% were offered full-time positions post-internship. You can learn more about our accomplishments in our annual reports.
All this makes us look forward to the program’s second half. And, importantly, we cannot wait to see the impact our Fellows will have in our communities and societies as the next generation of leading population researchers and professionals.
The CAnD3 Team sincerely thanks Drs. Anne Martin-Matthews, Miles Taylor, and Janice Keefe, partner representatives, the Fellows, all in-person and online participants, and the staff at the Faculty Club for making our 2023 Keynote Address a success. All photos by Owen Egan.