2019 in Review: Research and Achievement

year_in_review.jpgGuided by the four Signature Research Areas of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), researchers in FHS made a tremendous impact on defining health and on the health outcomes of people around the world over the past 12 months. Revisit the stories that made 2019 a year to remember and showcased how the Faculty of Health Sciences is pursuing its vision and achieving its mission.

Our Vision

To be a world leader in research and education in health.

Our Mission

Through transformative research and education, we will unleash innovative ideas and opportunities that enable living in health throughout the lifespan.

The Stories of 2019


Study: Social media sways exercise motivation

A new study, led by Western PhD graduate Alison Divine and Physical Therapy professor Susan Hunter, showed that providing supportive physical activity environments within Facebook may be a successful avenue to get students exercising. READ MORE.

Learning more about how Syrian refugees are faring in Canada

A four-year study led by Nursing professor Abe Oudshoorn is underway to learn more about how Syrian refugees are settling in Canada. The research, which began in 2017, has now received federal funding for several more years and includes London, Fredericton and Calgary. READ MORE.

Initiative builds academic, personal resilience

The Smart Healthy Campus initiative, led by Kinesiology professor Kevin Shoemaker, aims to help students feel more connected, more accepted and better equipped to deal with academic and personal change. READ MORE.

Professor's work looks to celebrate difference

David Howe, a four-time Paralympian, joined the Faculty of Health Sciences’ School of Kinesiology as a professor in November. His love of sport led him on a path to athletics, academia and advocacy. READ MORE.

Words don't let math add up for some students

Health Sciences graduate student Alexandra Cross is the lead author of a new paper that suggests kids who have issues with some math problems may in fact have language delays. READ MORE.

February – March

New journal gets young scholars 'through the door'

Started by Western Kinesiology PhD candidates Taylor KcKee, Andrew Pettit and Jared Walters, The Journal of Emerging Sport Studies launched last fall for both emerging scholars and emerging perspectives in the field of sport scholarship. READ MORE.

All exercise intensities benefit older brains

Older adults who engage in short bursts of physical activity can experience a boost in brain health even if the activity is carried out at a reasonably low intensity, according to a new study led by Kinesiology professor Matthew Heath. READ MORE.

New study aims to understand team-based care for chronic disease management

Shannon Sibbald, an assistant professor in the School of Health Studies and associate scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute, is leading a study to better understand integrated health care teams for chronic disease management and factors that help successful implementation. READ MORE.

Recognizing excellence in the classroom

A trio of faculty members from the Faculty of Health Sciences have been awarded Western’s highest honours for inspiring active and deep learning in their students. READ MORE.

Change allows for fuller picture of Nursing applicants

Applicants to the Labatt Family School of Nursing will be able to present a fuller picture of themselves to reviewers thanks to the addition of a cutting-edged personality assessment to standard entry criteria. READ MORE.

Health Sciences faculty members earn prestigious Western recognition

Nursing professor Marilyn Ford Gilboe, and Communication Sciences and Disorders professor David Purcell were recently the recipients of two of Western's most prestigious awards, recognizing their contributions to the academy. READ MORE.

Funding backs unique shelter-to-housing plan

Nursing professor Abe Oudshoorn is leading a 14-month demonstration project with the Salvation Army Centre of Hope, looking to transform emergency shelter space into affordable housing with supports. READ MORE.

Collaborative event builds bridges between health sectors

Nursing professor Abe Oudshoorn is leading a 14-month demonstration project with the Salvation Army Centre of Hope, looking to transform emergency shelter space into affordable housing with supports. READ MORE.


Laura Misener named Kinesiology director at 'exciting time'

After two years in an acting role, Laura Misener has been named Director of Western’s School of Kinesiology, effective July 1. She will be the first woman to occupy the role. READ MORE.

Celebrating Teaching Excellence: Barbara Sinclair

In a series of stories highlighting teaching excellence at Western, Nursing professor Barbara Sinclair's work with technology in the classroom showcases how innovation is helping students learn more effectively. READ MORE.

Celebrating Teaching Excellence: Aleksandra Zecevic

In a series of stories highlighting teaching excellence at Western, Health Studies professor Aleksandra Zecevic is featured for approach to bring students together from around the world. READ MORE.

Health Sciences students shine in Three-Minute Thesis Competition

Graduate students from the Faculty of Health Sciences claimed two of the top three spots in Western's Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, including Kinesiology PhD candidate Yoah Sui, who took home first-place honours. READ MORE.

Expert sounds warning about child hearing in Canada

As chairperson of the Canadian Infant Hearing Task Force, Communication Sciences and Disorders professor Marlene Bagatto said Canada receives a failing grade when it comes to prioritizing child hearing health. READ MORE.

Study seeks to fireproof workers against PTSD

Physical Therapy professor Joy MacDermid is exploring the effectiveness of a mental health and resiliency program called Resilient Minds on the well-being of firefighters in both Vancouver and Prince Edward Island. READ MORE.

The opioid crisis is not about pain

According to Physical Therapy professor Dave Walton, the opiod crisis gripping much of North America is not about pain, but more about under-managed mental illness and unresolved emotional trauma. READ MORE.

Ingrid Johnsrude named Director of Brain and Mind Institute

Ingrid Johnsrude, a professor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, is the new Director of Western's Brain and Mind Institute. Her research aims to understand human behaviour through speech, language and hearing. READ MORE.


Study shows that opioid crisis is burning out doctors

As the opioid crisis take a deadly toll in human lives, the complex needs of patients in chronic pain are also leaving their doctors increasingly exhausted and overwhelmed, a new study led by Western Nursing professor Fiona Webster says. READ MORE.

Offering insight into speech, stuttering

With May being Speech and Hearing Month, graduate student Marika Robillard offers her thoughts on stuttering and its impact on lives. READ MORE.

Study: Cents make sense for physical activity

It may take only a handful of change to make a lifetime of positive changes in the lives of many when it comes to sustaining physical activity, according to a study led by Western Kinesiology professor Marc Mitchell. READ MORE.

Nursing student awarded Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

Amanda Houston, a graduate student in Nursing, is one of four PhD candidates from Western to be awarded 2019-2020 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships. READ MORE.

3MT champ stands up to sitting down

Health Sciences PhD student Yoah Sui’s presentation, Sofa, so good? Maybe not, took top spot at Western’s 3MT competition, moved through the Ontario regional finals at McMaster University, and now will compete at the 3MT National Competition June 3. READ MORE.

Drones support remote village medical treatment

An international team of health-care investigators, including Health Studies professor Elysée Nouvet, is piloting a new medical-delivery system that uses a ‘surgical strike’ approach to solve pandemic problems. READ MORE.

Constant headphone use can cause hearing damage – here's how to prevent it

Susan Scollie, Director of Western's National Centre for Audiology, spoke with Global News to discuss about the dangers of headphone use and strategies for avoiding hearing loss. READ MORE.

Tech brings home insight into mental health

An international team of health-care investigators, including Health Studies professor Elysée Nouvet, is piloting a new medical-delivery system that uses a ‘surgical strike’ approach to solve pandemic problems. READ MORE.


Paying people to get healthy...it works!

In an op-ed for The Conversation Canada, Kinesiology professor Marc Mitchell discusses new research that shows paying people for increasing their daily physical activity can increase long-term activity levels. READ MORE.

Weese lands International, Leader Academy roles

Kinesiology professor Jim Weese was named to a pair of posts – Acting Associate Vice-President (International) and Executive Director of the Western Leader Academy – and will help lead Western into the future. READ MORE.

Homelessness stemmed by transition 'helping hand'

Tackling homelessness following a hospitalization is possible, but it will take a concerted community effort to lessen the ongoing burden to the health-care system and local emergency shelters, according to the findings of a Western-led study. READ MORE.

Kinesiology professor appointed inaugural Hayden Chair in Sport and Social Impact

The quest to develop a better understanding of how sports and physical activity benefit people with intellectual and developmental disabilities got a major boost with the appointment of a Kinesiology professor David Howe to a new research position at Western. READ MORE.

Promoting public health and preventing chronic disease

As a guest on Western's new podcast, Health Studies professor Jacob Shelley discusses the proper limits and role of law in promoting public health and preventing chronic disease. READ MORE.

Rowing inspires Kinesiology grad's business idea

Nicole Baranowski is graduating with a degree in Kinesiology and Sport Management, an invitation to national rowing tryouts and a business start-up for a novel, customizable hair tie. READ MORE.

PhD student leading study to understand attitudes toward cycling

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD student Rebecca Henderson is leading a research project to understand what residents of the City of London think about cycling. READ MORE.

Guideline serves as model for researchers and health care providers

Kinesiology professor Michelle Mottola was the co-lead on a three-and-a-half year project that led to the development of the 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy. READ MORE.


Writing the ABCs of language disorder

A pair of researchers in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders recently targeted a much younger audience for their work on Developmental Language Disorder. READ MORE.

Study finds keys to exercise in music

Music can be that key to getting people moving – and selecting the proper style of music for people to move to can lead to a more beneficial and fulfilling workout. READ MORE.

Training gives control back to the caregivers

Delivering proper care to thousands living with dementia means personal-support workers must understand more than patients’ medical histories. READ MORE.

How 'smart homes' could help Ontarians with mental illness

A pilot project underway in London and led by Nursing professor Cheryl Forchuk is setting patients up with a suite of smart devices and paving the way for high-tech mental-health treatment. READ MORE.

Graduate student's work helping to build a nation

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD student Lisbeth Pino hopes her research, focusing on rural communities and nutrition, will help broaden the knowledge base for single mothers trying to raise healthy children with limited resources. READ MORE.


Love, lust and digital dating

Health Studies professor Treena Orchard uses her background researching sexuality, gender and health to examine what online dating says about feminism and gender in contemporary dating culture. READ MORE.

Weighing in on the benefits of fascia treatments

Jackie Sadi, Acting Director of the School of Physical Therapy, spoke with Global News to provide a scientific look at the evidence supporting treatments for fascia. READ MORE.

Player safety at the heart of PhD student's research

Health Sciences doctoral candidate Alexandra Harriss looks to build on work first in 2016 when she teamed up with the Ontario Player Development League and Burlington Youth Soccer Club on the largest and most comprehensive study assessing repetitive head injury in female adolescents. READ MORE.

Car/cyclist crash stats support speed drop: study

A Western-led analysis of 12 years of car/bicycle crash data in London points to one clear conclusion about the most important variable in whether a cyclist is seriously injured or not – motorist speed. READ MORE.


Study turns attention to rural homelessness

Occupational Therapy professor Carrie Anne Marshall, whose research focuses on social determinants of mental health, has explored the idea of an integrated supported living model for those facing homelessness in rural communities. READ MORE.

Physical Therapy professor named to Royal Society of Canada

Physical Therapy professor Joy MacDermid is one of three Western scholars who have been named among the new Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). READ MORE.

Alumna finding happiness by degrees on campus, in life

Gillian Mandich, BHSc’07 (Health Promotion), MSc’12 (Rehab Sciences), PhD’19 (Rehab Sciences), has a message for nervous, over-worked students slogging through their degrees right now: Make time for gratitude, regardless of circumstances on any given day. READ MORE.

Passion for nursing furthered by honour

Nursing student Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere was recently selected as one of 17 students to receive a Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) scholarship, offered to deaf and hard-of-hearing postsecondary students. READ MORE.

Garland named to Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Health Sciences Dean Jayne Garland has been recognized for her advances in the neural control of movement – particularly relevant to muscle fatigue and the recovery of standing balance and mobility after stroke – with a fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. READ MORE.

Study targets graduate student stress

A new study lead by Health and Rehabilitation Sciences doctoral candidate Rebecca Fried, BHSc’12, MSc’14, says the stresses graduate students face could be managed in part through a peer coaching and mentorship program. READ MORE.

BRAINSTORM: Straight Talk on Concussion Part 1

In the first episode of a four-part video series featuring outstanding Western University researchers, Lisa Fischer, the Director of Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic debunks three common myths related to concussions. READ MORE.


The rise of a far-right feminist backlash

In a piece written for The Conversation, Treena Orchard, an associate professor in Western's School of Health Studies, discusses the connection between angry, anti-#MeToo comments - that came as a response to an earlier article about her experiences with the dating app, Bumble - and other far-right ideologies. READ MORE.

Revolutionizing audiology education

Western's National Centre for Audiology has partnered with AHead Simulations in the development of a new patient simulator that has quickly become an invaluable tool for students and professionals in training, research and product demonstrations. READ MORE.

Health Studies professor earns provincial teaching award

After 22 years of working with thousands of students, Health Studies professor Jennifer Irwin has been named one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. READ MORE.

Health Studies member named winner of 2019 Western Award of Excellence

Andrea Legato, Senior Academic Counsellor in the School of Health Studies, has been named as a winner of the 2019 Western Award of Excellence, which recognize staff members for the exemplary service to the campus community. READ MORE.


Study debunks hormonal misconception of exercise

Despite the majority of exercise neuroscience studies not including female participants due to concerns over hormonal fluctuations, a new Western University study shows that exercise-related benefits to brain health and cognition are realized independently of a woman’s menstrual cycle. READ MORE.

Physical Therapy professor earns lifetime honour for research

Physical Therapy professor Michele Crites Battié, the Western Research Chair in Musculoskeletal Exercise, Mobility and Health, was recently recognized with the 2019 ORS PSRS (Orthopaedic Research Society / Philadelphia Spine Research Society) Lifetime Research Achievement Award for her contribution in the area of spine research. READ MORE.

Opioid solutions found beyond the headlines

Every day, the headlines offer yet another example of how the ongoing opioid epidemic is devastating communities and individual lives. But given the significant role popular media plays in shaping public perceptions, where is this non-stop coverage taking us? READ MORE.

BRAINSTORM: Straight Talk on Concussion Part 2

In the second episode of a four-part video series featuring outstanding Western University researchers, Laura Graham, an assistant professor in the School of Physical Therapy, explores how we can translate what we've learned from sport and apply it more broadly to enhance patient care. READ MORE.

Children in childcare are not getting enough physical activity

In an article for The Conversation, Occupational Therapy professor Trish Tucker, and Health & Rehabilitation Sciences alumna Leigh Vanderloo examine the role that early childhood educators play in helping children get active. READ MORE.

Health Studies alumnae named among Canada's Most Powerful

School of Health Studies graduate Melissa Kargiannakis, BHSc'12, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SKRITSWAP, was recently honoured with the KPMG Future Leaders Award as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women. READ MORE.


New audio dome paints research soundscape

When exploring virtual reality, most consider the simulation as a visual experience. New technology at Western University will allow members of the School of Communication Science and Disorders and the National Centre for Audiology to investigate simulated spaces through sound. READ MORE.

Research looks to get kids up and running

Rethinking how kids go about their day care days, as well as empowering those charged with caring and educating them, may go a long way toward getting kids much-needed physical activity, according to a researcher in Western's School of Occupational Therapy. READ MORE.

Research explores state of migrant worker protections

Federal protections lacking in clarity, accessibility and enforcement are leaving thousands of migrant workers across Canada open to exploitation, and in some cases putting their health and lives at risk to maintain employment, according to a Western Nursing professor Susan Caxaj. READ MORE.

Here’s how to get active as a senior

Only 16 per cent of Canadians meet the government’s physical activity guidelines, which require 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every week. Experts say that as we get older, staying active becomes even more important. READ MORE.

Bolstered mother-child bonds at heart of research

Postpartum depression (PPD) not only obstructs a mother’s capacity for understanding and enjoying her baby, but puts children at risk for behavioural and cognitive problems. Nursing professor Panagiota Tryphonopoulos looks to reconnect mothers with their young children, counteracting the critical parental bond lost due to the effects of postpartum depression. READ MORE.

Why are female test subjects still being excluded from exercise research?

In a study published last month, Western Kinesiology researchers Matthew Heath, Kennedy Dirk and Glen Belfry tested the effects of exercise on cognition in women at different stages of their menstrual cycles. They found no differences linked to hormonal fluctuations. READ MORE.