Government of Canada supports innovation to improve aging and brain health

Health care innovators will be able to translate their ideas into prototypes to help Canadians living with dementia

OTTAWA, Feb. 3, 2017 /CNW/ - Two out of three Canadians have a friend or family member affected by dementia. Quality of life for those living with dementia and their caregivers can be improved greatly through innovative approaches to support.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health and William E. Reichman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baycrest Health Sciences, announced the recipients of funding from the Spark program at the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation. Thirty-one point-of-care innovators from the healthcare system, such as nurses and clinicians, have been selected to turn ideas that support Canadians affected by dementia into prototypes. 

The Spark program supports the advancement of innovative ideas from concept to practice in the field of aging and brain health. Specific target areas include reducing emergency department visits, preventing falls, and supporting aging at home.

The Minister of Health also announced funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for four new projects to study and identify effective ways to promote social inclusion for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

The Government of Canada continues to support research and engage partners from a range of sectors to harness technological and social innovations to accelerate early detection, enhance quality of life, and support greater independence for those affected.

Quick facts

  • The National Population Health Study of Neurological Conditions, conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, estimates that 395,000 Canadians over the age of 40 were living with some form of dementia in 2016. That number is expected to grow to 674,000 by 2031.
  • Similarly, direct health sector costs are projected to double to $16.6 billion by 2031.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is providing $42 million over five years to Baycrest Health Sciences to establish the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation and support its activities.
  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is providing $1,221,310 in funding for four projects led by researchers at Trent University, McMaster University, McGill University and the University of Toronto. The Alzheimer Society of Canada is providing an additional $750,000 for these research projects.

"Our Government is committed to supporting research in health so that we can help improve the quality of life of Canadians affected by dementia. The work of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, and the Spark innovators, will lead to improved support for Canadians with dementia."
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

"I congratulate the recipients of Spark funding and I look forward to seeing their innovative concepts scaled-up so that the prototypes may benefit and improve the lives of Canadians living with dementia."
Dr. Theresa Tam
Interim Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

"The Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, spearheaded by Baycrest, is funding innovative solutions by point-of-care workers who are directly involved in providing care to the aging population. We look forward to seeing the impact these funding recipients will make with their innovative ideas."
 Dr. William E. Reichman
 President & CEO of Baycrest Health Sciences

"As a priority of CIHR's Dementia Research Strategy, we aim to improve the quality of life of Canadians living with dementia and their caregivers. We are pleased to be partnering with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to support these research projects that will help identify effective ways of improving how our society can better include people living with dementia and their caregivers as one way of enhancing their quality of life."
Dr. Yves Joanette
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Aging

"The Alzheimer Society looks forward to collaborating with our partners in supporting new and novel research that will help remove social barriers that individuals with dementia and their carers often face in their daily lives. We also congratulate the Spark recipients as they apply innovation and technology in identifying new ways to improve brain health and care delivery and enhance the quality of life for all those impacted by dementia."
Debbie Benczkowski
Chief Operating Officer, Alzheimer Society of Canada

Related Links
Spark program 
Vision for a Healthy Canada 
CIHR investment of four research projects  

Associated Links
Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health 
Baycrest Health Sciences
Canadian Institutes of Health Research 
Alzheimer Society of Canada


SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 957-2983

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