The Government of Canada has announced new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients. This award is Canada’s most prestigious awards for doctoral students.
The Vanier program is funded through the three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), exemplifying world-class research capacity at an internationally competitive level of funding.
Impact of provincial primary care reforms on the management of persons with Alzheimer's disease and on associated health care use and cost
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating illness for patients and their families. It robs those affected of their memory and independence and eventually leads to death. As the population in Canada is aging, the number suffering from Alzheimer’s will double to 1.4 million with a projected health care cost of $300 billion in the next 20 years. To address this crisis, Canadian provincial governments have implemented reforms to provide better care to patients with Alzheimer’s by increasing the role of family doctors. By doing so, governments hope to also reduce the burden of this disease on our health care system. While these publicly-financed reforms have been ongoing for several years, there has been no systematic study to assess whether they have been effective.
My study, part of a Canada-wide research program on Alzheimer’s disease, will be the first to provide this information. I will examine the impact of these reforms by analyzing government data on all patients with Alzheimer’s disease in Ontario and Quebec over the last two decades. These datasets will allow me to access almost 2/3 of the Canadian population with Alzheimer’s disease and study the trends in care and health service use before and after the reforms. Using innovative statistical models, I will examine whether more people with Alzheimer’s are being diagnosed and regularly followed by family doctors. I will also determine whether the reforms have decreased the number of emergency visits, hospital stays and nursing home care needed for patients with Alzheimer’s. My analysis will give provincial health officials, researchers and Alzheimer’s patient groups much needed data on what parts of the reforms are working and what needs to be improved. Overall, my study will help provinces achieve a sustainable and effective health care system capable of meeting the needs of patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease, ultimately leading to a better quality of life for this vulnerable population.
It is with great pride that we congratulate the recipients of this year's Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.