By Amanda Boundris and Thana Dharmarajah
Associate Professor Maureen Markle-Reid has been awarded the first Canada Research Chair (CRC) in the history of the McMaster School of Nursing (SON).
As holder of the Tier 2 CRC in Aging, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion Interventions, Markle-Reid’s research will focus on promoting optimal aging at home for older adults with multiple (three or more) chronic conditions (MCC) and to support their family caregivers. To achieve this, Markle-Reid will design, evaluate and translate new and innovative community-based interventions to improve access to health care, quality of life, and health outcomes in this population, while reducing the demand for expensive health services, like hospital admissions.
"It is a real honour to be chosen to receive this prestigious award to undertake this important research program," said Markle-Reid. "Community nurses are in an ideal position to lead interprofessional health promotion interventions to address the complex needs of this vulnerable subgroup of the population."
Her five-year term officially started in October 2012. It was one of 120 newly awarded and renewed CRC’s across Canada, announced by Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear on Mar. 15 at the University of Western Ontario.
For each Tier 2 chair, the University receives $100,000 annually for five years. The SON will match this funding to support Markle-Reid’s research program.
The population is aging at an unprecedented rate, so identifying effective ways to improve quality of life for older adults is a public health priority, said Markle-Reid. One third of older adults in Canada have three or more chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis and dementia. These adults report poorer health status, take five or more prescription medications, have higher rates of health care use and costs, and are at particularly high risk for falls, hospitalization and death.
Through her program Markle-Reid will develop and evaluate the effectiveness of four interprofessional nurse-led health promotion interventions intended to reduce the burden of chronic conditions among community-living older adults with MCC.
These studies will focus on frail older home-care clients, stroke survivors who use home care, and older adults with Type 2 diabetes—all of whom have MCC. She is also developing strategies to enhance the uptake and spread of evidence-driven fall prevention for older adults by community-based providers.
"Maureen was obviously acknowledged by the CRC Program as someone who has the potential to make a difference in understanding what it means to be aging in our society," said Catherine Tompkins, associate dean of Health Sciences and director of the SON. "Having her take on this role will hopefully draw other scholars – graduate students and post-doctoral fellows – to McMaster to work with her because she’ll be recognized across the country as someone holding expertise around aging, chronic disease and health promotion."
Markle-Reid has over 10 years of home care and hospital experience in front line provider and managerial positions. She said her clinical background provides the foundation for her research.
"I work in the trenches as a community researcher," she added. "My 'lab' is the home and community settings within which I conduct my research."
Markle-Reid has been with McMaster since 1987. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McMaster; a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Toronto; and a PhD in Clinical Health Sciences (Nursing) from McMaster.She is also an associate member in McMaster’s Department of Clinical Epidemiology.
In addition, Maureen was the recipient of a five-year Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (2004-2009).