DLSPH Researchers Earn Connaught Awards for Cancer Care Projects
by Françoise Makanda, Communications Officer, DLSPH
DLSPH’s Olli Saarela and Jennifer Brooks have received U of T’s prestigious Connaught New Researcher Award for their projects on improving care and screening for cancer.
They join 50 winners who are receiving funding as part of U of T’s commitment to fostering excellence in research and innovation by supporting faculty members who are launching their academic careers. Up to $1 million will be distributed among this year’s winners.
“I am honoured to be selected as a recipient of this award with a long history behind it, and happy that the committee appreciates the importance of developing statistical methods for analyzing health administrative data,” says Saarela.
His project seeks to develop statistical methods to identify quality improvement initiatives that can eventually also improve patient outcomes. Saarela hopes that the methods applied will produce actionable evidence of the impact of potential interventions in care pathways for urological cancers in Ontario.
Saarela will analyze data from hospitals that provide care for urological cancers and study quality variations.
Brooks will determine if risk prediction models can identify women who are most likely to get breast cancer through the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program.
“This work has the potential to directly impact how women in Canada are screened for breast cancer and will position Ontario as a global leader in the area of risk-informed screening recommendations and policy,” she says.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Canadian women but not all women have the same risk of developing the disease. Most breast cancer screening recommendations are based on age. Brooks aims to determine if current risk prediction models can identify women who are most likely to get breast cancer and the occurrence of the subtype regardless of age.
Earlier this year, a group led by Dean Adalsteinn Brown received $248,789 through the Connaught Award to help build a new interdisciplinary collaboration at U of T focused on the immunization of seniors, particularly pneumococcal vaccinations.