More than 250 people from the Windsor-Essex health research community came together to learn from experts, and to present, share, and discuss health research projects.
Held over two days on Friday and Saturday, the WE-SPARK Health Institute held it’s first-of-its-kind in-person conference which featured guest speakers and presentations from a group of local, regional and international experts.
A rapid-fire session was also held where students and trainees were able to present their current and completed research projects.
Neelu Sehgal, Director of Community Outreach with Erie Shores Healthcare, was one of many in attendance.
She says it was important for Erie Shores to take part.
“Erie Shores Healthcare is part of this research conference to really look at what the best practices are and bringing practice to the bedside. So, research drives patient outcomes.”
Sehgal says during the COVID-19 pandemic they were faced with a different way of accessing and delivering healthcare.
“Patient outcomes and mental health of clients deteriorated during that time,” she continued. “So now to be able to say this is what we’ve experienced, this is what best practice shows, this is what we need to do to move the health of our community forward, this is what this conference is about.”
Photo Credit: Aaron Mahoney, AM800
Dr. Lisa Porter, Executive Director of WE-SPARK Health Institute, says that WE-SPARK has a very wide range of different types of researchers.
“One of the things we aim to do is to do professional development for all of our researchers. So, this is letting them sort of tell their stories which is an important piece of research. It’s also training students to talk to people, get questions from other groups. Also, letting people know what’s going on here, everybody talking to each other knowing how they can connect their research.”
Dr. Porter says despite how horrible the COVID-19 pandemic was, it was a learning tool for all those in healthcare and research.
“COVID was a success story for science. It showed us the power of research, the power of making things happen quickly by bringing big teams together and making sure that we’re translating them out to practice as rapidly as possible. And that stresses the need for this type of conference,” she said.
The WE-SPARK Health Institute is looking to hold these conferences yearly after seeing the successes it has produced.
WE-SPARK Health Institute is a partnership supported by Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, St. Clair College, the University of Windsor, and Windsor Regional Hospital designed to take healthcare to the next level through research.