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Examining potential development of provincial centre for aging research

A research and planning conference hosted by Grenfell Campus and partners late last month allowed researchers to further discuss plans for a centre for aging research in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"We had about 85 conference delegates representing the research, education and health care sectors," said Carla Wells, conference chair. "We also had seniors from the community. We are excited to have had such a diverse group. Newfoundland and Labrador is going to have the oldest population in the country. Aging is something that affects us all, no matter where we live or what profession we work in."

The research conference, held Sept. 24, was followed by a planning symposium for a proposed provincial centre on aging. Sponsors for the events were Memorial University (Grenfell and St. John's campuses), the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research, the Western Regional School of Nursing, Western Health and the City of Corner Brook.

Day one featured 22 oral presentations and nine poster sessions primarily focused on research on aging conducted in the province. Also featured were four keynote addresses by nationally renowned researchers.

Dr. Janice Keefe (Mount St. Vincent), director of the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging, described aging research in Atlantic Canada. Dr. Howard Bergman (McGill) spoke on the Quebec Alzheimer Plan: The Never-ending Cycle from Practice to Policy to Research and Back. Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews (UBC), former scientific director of CIHR's Institute on Aging, talked about community engagement in aging research. Finally, Dr. Neena Chappell (University of Victoria Centre on Aging), described an appropriate and cost-effective health care system for an aging society.

The keynotes also served on several panels on the second day of the conference, regarding the planning symposium for a proposed provincial centre. Panellists in the six sessions also included representatives from Memorial, Western Health and the community. Panel topics included a summary of a study of 10 Canadian centres on aging as well as advice from these centres regarding the development, structure and function of a similar centre in this province.