Lakehead researchers receiving nearly $350,000 from CIHR

September 10, 2014 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University researchers are receiving nearly $350,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to improve the quality of people’s lives in Canada and abroad.  

Dr. Vicki Kristman, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences, is receiving a New Investigator Award of $300,000 over five years for a supervisor training program that could improve work disability outcomes for injured workers. 

“This research program will focus on three specific questions,” Dr. Kristman said.

  • How can stakeholders identify or develop accommodations for workers trying to return to the labour force?
  • How can workplaces and employers support the use of workplace accommodations?
  • And, what is the best way to measure and demonstrate the health and economic impacts of workplace accommodation for all stakeholders?

“Results from this research could decrease work disability and save billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs,” Dr. Kristman said. “I want to thank the CIHR for this funding. We wouldn’t have been able to undertake this research program without the CIHR’s assistance.”

The primary project will involve employers in Canada and the US. In order to test a supervisor training program, some supervisors within those companies will receive training sessions and some will not.

Two Lakehead University students will work with Dr. Kristman on this research program.

 Dr. Kristman’s award is funded by the CIHR Institutes of Health Services and Policy Research and Population and Public Health through the CIHR Roadmap Signature Initiative in Community-based Primary Health Care.

This award provides outstanding new investigators with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their independence in initiating and conducting health research through provision of a contribution to their salary. Only 40 awards are given throughout Canada per year.

Carley Pope, a Lakehead student in the Master’s Clinical Psychology program, is receiving a Canada Graduate Scholarship of $17,500 to spend one year examining if there’s a connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

“Postpartum depression is a serious and under-recognized disorder that can be extremely disruptive for the mother, infant, and family,” Pope said.

“My interest stems from a belief that there is an urgent need for better understanding into why perinatal mental health issues arise in order to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies to improve mental health outcomes for the mother and her family.”

Pope will assess if women who intend to breastfeed and do not breastfeed are at a greater risk of experiencing post-partum depression compared to women who do not intend to breastfeed and do not breastfeed.

“This funding is recognition that Lakehead’s researchers are doing incredible work to make life better for people around the world,” said Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research, Economic Development & Innovation (Interim).

The CIHR is Canada’s federal funding agency for health research. Composed of 13 Institutes, the CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,200 health researchers and trainees across Canada.


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In 2015, Lakehead University will celebrate 50 years of exceptional education.  Guided by a new Strategic Plan (2013-2018), our University is known for providing an education focused on independent thinking, unconventional scholarship, and a close sense of community.  About 9,700 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work in ten faculties at two campuses, in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s first new Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and Faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health and Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, Science and Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education and Graduate Studies. Lakehead is among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities (2014 Maclean’s University Rankings), as well as 1st in Ontario and 2nd in Canada for its innovative research (Re$earch Infosource).  Visit



New CIHR Grants awarded in 2013-2014

Total value of awards:  $340,251

Faculty Member Grants

New Investigator Award (five-year grant)

Vicki Kristman, Department of Health Sciences, Preventing work disability through accommodation, $300,000.

Planning Grant and Dissemination Grants (one-year grants)

Naana Afua Jumah, Faculty of Medicine, West Campus, and Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, Northwestern Ontario management strategies for opioid dependence in pregnancy: sharing knowledge and improving care, $8,500.

Co-applicant: Meldon Kahan, University of Toronto.

Laura Curiel, Department of Electrical Engineering and Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, Improving research activity on novel minimally invasive procedures for cancer treatment in Northwestern Ontario, $10,000 (in partnership with CIHR Institute of Cancer Research).


  • Naana Afua Jumah, Faculty of Medicine, West Campus, and Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute
  • Samuel Pichardo, Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Margaret Anthes, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Health Professional Student Research Award (three-month award)

Nicholas G. Escott, Faculty of Medicine, West Campus, Investigation of Blastomyces dermatitidis-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, $4,251. Grant supports student Daniel Dalcin.

Graduate Student Awards

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program (one-year awards worth $17,500)

Carley Pope, Psychology, Breastfeeding and postpartum depression:  A closer look at the bidirectional relationship.