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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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), led by Michelle Howard or ACP researcher Henry Siu.
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.
Right now, the Community Health Assessment Program in the Philippines (CHAP-P) is using a mixed methods design to test 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.
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.
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.
Our work studying the contexts physical activity is helping develop healthy and active communities across the lifespan. One population we are looking at has been youth making the transition from high school to postsecondary education — a time when physical activity can be beneficial but many young people become less active.
Technology plays an important role in many of the research projects at the Department of Family Medicine. This includes developing new technology to help provide better, more efficient and more responsive care. Our researchers are working on the development of the eDosette, a WiFi connected device that can help track when a person takes their medications and drug side effects.