Manulife, CIFAR awarding grants to COVID researchers
May 27, 2020
TORONTO – Manulife and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) are working together to promote research collaborations focused on population health and well-being related to COVID-19, to spark, innovative, high-risk/high-reward ideas and projects.
The Manulife CIFAR Population Health and Well-being Grant Program aims to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations that push research boundaries or which address emerging themes within CIFAR’s research programs.
Sample topics may include short term and long-term consequences of COVID-19 with focused on:
- community-based screening tools
- mental health impact on populations like employees, children or seniors
- public attitudes and engagement
- effects of social distancing on mental health
- socio-economic stress during the pandemic
- community health (urban vs rural or cross-cultural comparison)
- use of virtual care
- situation of healthcare providers (hospitals vs long-term care), misinformation and equitable access to information.
- ethical issues.
Proposals are due June 5. See https://www.cifar.ca/manulife-cifar-population-health-well-being-grant-program.
Manulife and CIFAR have the more than three decades long continuous sponsoring relationship. In 1987 with the joint efforts of CIFAR’s then-President Fraser Mustard and Manulife’s then-CEO E. Sydney Jackson, Manulife funded the creation of CIFAR’s program in Population Health with a gift of $500,000 in honour of Manulife’s 100th anniversary.
The research program has led to fundamental changes to the conceptual framework of public health. The publication of the influential book, “Why Are Some People Healthy and Others Not? The Determinants of Health of Populations” had been credited as a milestone that signalled a reframing of public health into a “population health” perspective, informed by social determinants of health.
The program also gave rise to two of CIFAR’s ongoing programs, Successful Societies, and Child & Brain. Manulife has continued its support to CIFAR ever since.
The current COVID-19 crisis is a population health challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact reaches much beyond physical health. It has created substantial challenges on mental health, equity, community and social interactions. All segments of population have been affected, seniors facing high risk of mortality, healthcare workers under constant stress and risk of infection, employees facing business closing and unemployment, students experiencing school closing, children missing their fun time in the park with friends, and parents struggling with work-at-home and childcare.
The social distancing and lockdown have further deteriorated the social isolation and mental stress. All these challenges need to be studied and addressed through the Population Health perspective to achieve full recovery and reopening from the crisis and sustained health and well-being for the future.
The Manulife CIFAR collaboration continues and now is focusing on COVID-19 and its impact to communities: This grant program will enable CIFAR’s world leading research programs to study the impact of COVID-19 on community and identify opportunities to address them.