3 Good Health and Well-Being
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Teaching and Learning:
- A mandatory course for physicians on safe and appropriate prescribing practices for opioids, stimulants and benzodiazepines is now offered by the Faculty of Medicine.Implementing this course is part of the Opioid Action Plan here in the province. The implementation of this course will help strengthen the prevention of substance abuse by helping physicians learn about appropriate prescribing practices.
- Students from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and kinesiology created and delivered simulation activities to highlight health careers to Grade 6-12 students in the Innu community. They were also able to meet and ask elders about Innu medicine. This was a great health-related learning experience for all involved.
- A 10-week mindfulness training session was offered for undergraduate and graduate students. The program consisted of meditation, other mindfulness practices, and a weekly theme. This mindfulness program could contribute to student well-being.
- A mindfulness program at MUN is helping to reduce stress and anxiety amongst undergraduate and graduate students. The program consists of sessions on mindfulness instruction and practice, and presentations on topics such as building respectful relationships and how to navigate stress and uncertainty. Students completed questionnaires at the beginning and end of the program; the responses were positive.
- Researchers in the School of Pharmacy research "how effective offering a POCT program through community pharmacies can be in reducing risk and optimizing access to care for those who test positive" for HIV. Results are recieved right away therefore decreasing anxiety for patients. POCT can help identify infections early and can also encourage people to get tested for HIV as they are offered in private rooms where no one knows what you are going for, besides you.
- PhD researcher at Memorial is exploring how the arts can effectively communicate information, reduce stigma and prevent HIV infection with a number of populations, including Aboriginal youth. She believes her research has "the potential to improve HIV/AIDS education and prevention programming for Aboriginal youth, which will have an impact on reducing stigma and transmission."
- A new research study in the School of Pharmacy has a goal to create drugs for infants diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). "Effective treatments at an early stage would help prevent organ damage, allowing more babies to survive."
- Two members from the Faculty of Nursing are looking to work with the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning to provide tailored dietary advice to rural diabetic seniors through a series of easy-to-access videos. These videos will help seniors with diabetes to manage their diets all while receiving advice from other seniors and dieticians. This work can help to promote well-being.
- An assistant professor in the School of Social Work with the creation of his new Research Exchange Group hopes to "identify policy-relevant research priorities related to substance use, harm reduction and addiction treatment services across Newfoundland and Labrador." The team is conducting a needs assessment of injection drug users to aid in the development of new harm reduction programs. The team is also hoping to develop a peer-training program.
- A new research study in the School of Pharmacy’s Medication Therapy Services (MTS) Clinic looks to reduce unnecessary medication usage of residents in long term care. Many seniors in the province take medication drugs they do not need. The goal is to evaluate whether the residents’ overall health and well-being is improved after unnecessary medications are removed and the doses of required medications are optimized. This will be done through the use of a controlled study.
- This article discusses the APPROACH study. This study offers rapid HIV testing in pharmacies for residents of NL. This accessible testing can help individuals overcome barriers and "may help to identify infections earlier, connect people with the care they need and reduce the spread of infection." This service is also offered in a private environment where no one would know what service you're getting.
- "A federal investment of nearly $3 million will advance important health-related studies led by Memorial researchers", including research on "cancer therapies, genetics, hepatitis B and rural health care".
- Faculty of Medicine's partnership with Janssen Inc. will help translate research into disease management strategies, therefore reducing pain of patients while also translating research into better healthcare utilization. Patients will have less appointments and hospital visits.
- Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine have linked water contaminants to type 1 diabetes in children. "The researchers analyzed the incidence rates of type 1 diabetes in 240 communities with a single public water supply." Researchers found that "the provincial incidence of type 1 diabetes was 51.7 per 100 000 (0-14 year age group) for the period studied." They suggest that water should be monitored regularly and contaminants should be removed, high-risk areas based on water quality data should be identified, disease should be surveillanced, and physicians should be made aware of of the link between water contamination and T1DM.
- A researcher at Memorial, through the use of a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, is exploring the failure of health-care providers to follow clinical practice guidelines when prescribing opioids for long-term use. Dr. Rash states in the article, "The ultimate goal of this work is to optimize prescribing practices in order to prevent opioid-related morbidity and mortality without restricting a health-care provider’s ability to select the most appropriate treatment for an individual patient."
- The Faculty of Medicine’s Global Health division has partnered with Worec Nepal to develop a peer-to-peer sexual health education program for schools in Nepal. The program aims "to improve adolescent access and uptake of reproductive health services". The program will roll out in 10 intervention schools in earthquake-affected areas outside the Kathmandu Valley with four male and female peer educators, ranging from Grades 7-10.
- Federal funding will contribute to three health-related research projects:
- A project aimed at identifying national family practice nursing competencies to support the integration and optimization of registered nurses working in primary care. These competencies include the knowledge, skills, judgment and attributes required by family practice nurses to work safely and ethically.
- Hepatitis C research - Analysis of Virus-Induced Mechanisms of Programmed Cell Death
- Mental health focus - a project focused on mental health and addictions in communities comprising the NunatuKavut Community Council in Labrador.
- Dr. Shea, an assistant professor of Aboriginal health, previously worked on a project to de-stigmatize mental health within the NunatuKavut Community Council and to enhance access to mental health and addictions programming. This promotes the initiative of "well-being for all".
- Dr. Kimberly Jarvis, a Faculty of Nursing professor, travelled to Ghana to work on two projects, one on women's reproductive health and one on the eradication of a condition called obstetric fistula. Two goals of the trip include providing safe spaces for youth to talk about sexual and reproductive health and well-being and create an action plan towards the prevention and care of obstetric fistula.
- Researchers at Memorial receive funding for their study on antibodies in individuals who had COVID-19 or suspected they had COVID-19. Their hope is that these antibodies will tell them more about immune responses.
- A new project, Courage, Compassion, and Connection, The Journey to Healing: Exploring Cancer Pre-diagnosis for Indigenous Peoples in Labrador, hopes to bring light to "the challenges and opportunities in the pre-diagnosis journey for Labrador’s Indigenous communities and identify tools and resources to make the journey more seamless."
- Wastewater surveillance: monitoring campus for virus that causes COVID-19
- A new program, which takes place in the great outdoors, is aimed at promoting mental health among boys and young men in rural northern communities. The aim of the program is to target influences that encourage mental wellness and combat against suicide risks. By combining mental-health services that are tailored to suit a community’s culture... there is hope that a connection between the affected Indigenous men and boys and their land and communities will be reformed.
- Mental health and wellness sessions are being offered to both faculty and students which will help them to learn about the supports and services available.
- Researchers in the School of Pharmacy are leading the APPROACH study. This study aims to develop and implement an effective, community-pharmacy based, HIV point-of-care testing program. This kind of testing will break down the barriers that prevent people from learning their HIV status, including limited access to health-care resources. This provides access to quality healthcare as well as followup care.
- Choosing Wisely NL, an initiative at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine, is raising awareness about the true signs of stroke so patients... can get the treatment they need as soon as possible. Choose Wisely NL is an educational initiative seeking to more efficiently match a patient’s medical needs with the most appropriate type of care that is safest for the patient.
- A partnership between Memorial and Her Majesty's Penitentiary (HMP) is providing the opportunity for inmates to use gardening and meditation to help support their mental and emotional well-being while serving time. The group of participants in the program consisted of men ranging from 19 to a senior citizen. The program greatly contributed to inmate well-being and provided a sense of hope for them.
- Smoking Cessation Program at Memorial helps a man with a smoking addiction, amongst other diagnoses, quit smoking. This man received a fatal diagnosis and was told he had to quit smoking. This program at Memorial and a combination of medications and counselling, has this man on the path to fighting his addiction.
- Two doctoral residents at Memorial’s Student Wellness and Counselling Centre are introducing a new mindfulness program this summer, a mindfulness walk. The program is free for all making it easily accessible. The hope is that the program will help to reduce stress and improve mental and physical wellness.
- Memorial students converge on the Confederation Building to advocate for coverage of Mifegymiso — a combination of two orally administered drugs that induce early abortion. Many women in rural parts of NL do not have access to surgical abortion as the only place to receive the procedure is in St. John's, possibly many hours from their home. This creates emotional, physical and financial burden on patients who would have to travel for the procedure. Ironically, Mifegymiso costs $350, which is less than what the surgical procedure costs. The article states, "Accessible Mifegymiso will improve reproductive care and reduce risk and harm to our vulnerable persons." The gathering at the Confederation Building was trying to make this possible.
- A conference co-chaired by two members of the Faculty of Medicine in St. John's will explain challenges and topics surrounding building and maintaining surgical services in rural hospitals, using physicians with expanded skill sets, and supporting rural specialists. Newfoundland is doing well in the area of telehealth. Telehealth provides access to emergency and speciality services, as well as primary care.
- 5th year Doctor of Pharmacy students and 4th year Bachelor of Nursing students step in to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Grenfell Campus works to expand their health and wellness services for students, faculty, and staff, and for both physical and mental health. Mental health first aid classes are also being offered regularly to students, faculty, and staff. A family practice physician will also start an on-campus clinic for students.
- The Student Wellness and Counselling Centre (SWCC) makes access to healthcare a priority by offering evening appointments. This allows for students who juggle academics, employment, and other aspects of life to receive healthcare when needed. The SWCC is also restructuring to "provide expanded and rapid access to innovative, more empowering, health and mental health programming".
- Memorial is launching two free online mental health support programs, MUN Listeners: Online Peer Support (also known as 7 Cups) and the Mindwell 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge, for the university community.The peer support program allows individuals to connect with a supportive person to have a conversation. Supporters do not provide therapy but rather a person to have a chat with. The challenge consists of a 5-10 minute mindfulness training session a day for 30 days.
- Memorial introduces a new healthcare model, Stepped Care 2.0. This model extends to "health and mental health promotion and illness prevention activities. Programs can be selected and arranged based on intensity, cost and level of engagement". "Stepped care provides rapid, same day, flexible access to wellness and mental health resources" as well as walk-in clinics, resulting in a reduced wait time. This provides accessible care to all in a short period of time, therefore preventing more serious mental health crises.
- A third-year doctor of medicine (MD) student at Memorial developed a mobile phone-based, remote management system for heart failure patients living in Uganda, Africa. "Patients can respond to yes-or-no questions pertaining to their heart-failure related symptoms". “Upon finishing the symptom questionnaire, the patient receives an SMS (i.e. text) message containing tailored self-care advice based on their reported symptoms and an inbuilt algorithm.” This system greatly helps the individuals in Uganda, a low-income country.
- The Office of the Associate Vice-President Academic (Students) has created Memorial’s guide to Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress. The online resource is a step-by-step guide to assist faculty and staff when helping students who may be struggling with mental health concerns. The guide identifies the steps of recognizing a student in distress, responding to a student in distress and properly referring a student.
- Fourth year nursing students from MUN's Faculty of Nursing and the Centre for Nursing Studies step up to help on the front lines amidst COVID pandemic. Students were provided with some physically distanced swab training in preparation for pitching in at the drive-thru sites.
- Faculty of Pharmacy offers flu shot clinics to anyone with a valid MCP.
- Faculty of Engineering student Brett Vokey wants to help people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) improve their lives and take control of inhaler effectiveness. BreatheSuite pairs a small, inhaler-mounted device with an app that shows the patient how well they’re adhering to their medication plan, provides feedback on inhaler technique, and ensures they receive optimal dosages of their medication. The technology has immediate benefit for patients and is also beneficial for doctors who can monitor their patients’ inhaler usage remotely.