UWI professor secures million-dollar grant for ground-breaking research on chronic diseases

by June 16, 2024

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have awarded Professor Simon Anderson, Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre of CAIHR and Co-Director of the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development and Research at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) a major research grant to continue his work on chronic diseases.

Professor Anderson is one of the grant recipients from the organisations as part of the 8th Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases funding competition. Professor Sonia Anand, AVP of Global Health at McMaster University is a co-recipient of the grant, that provisions for up to CAD2 million over five years to support their research aimed at preventing chronic diseases while simultaneously promoting environmental sustainability.

Professors Anderson and Anand will receive funding from IDRC expressly to undertake their work on building healthy communities with the dual goals of chronic disease prevention and promoting environmental sustainability through the Sustainability Healthy Active Living project.

Commenting on the announcement of the award, Professor Anderson said, “On behalf of CAIHR, I am delighted and honoured to receive IDRC/GACD funding with my esteemed colleagues from McMaster University. Our community-centred collaborative project seeks to reduce the burden of non-communicable disease (NCD) in Kingston, Jamaica, Hamilton, and Calgary, Canada, by promoting environmental sustainability via our Sustainability Healthy Active Living project. My colleagues Dr Georgiana Gordon-Strachan, Dr Thera Edwards, and Dr Joanne Smith-Burke at The UWI and I look forward to co-designing and implementing this project with Dr Sonia Anand and her excellent team. This is undoubtedly the start of many opportunities to collaborate with colleagues at McMaster and, importantly, to partner with communities at risk in these cities to create a sustainable lifestyle.”

“We are excited to work within Hamilton neighbourhoods on sustainable healthy active living (SHAL) for newcomer youth and their families; and to create new knowledge with our partners in Jamaica and Calgary,” said Professor Anand.

There are numerous esteemed partners and collaborators involved in the project, including Dr Juliet Daniel, Co-Chair of the McMaster Canada-Caribbean Institute Working Group. Dr Sujane Kandasamy and Dr Russell De Souza from McMaster will co-lead the Hamilton site, and Dr Matthew Kwan from Brock University will lead the Calgary site. According to Dr Kwan, “The Infant Child and Youth Health (INCH) Research Group at Brock University along with our community partners in Calgary are very pleased to be a part of this CIHR/GACD grant. The proposed work that involves community stakeholders throughout the research process is vitally important, as we aim to fully understand how we can better promote healthy active living and environmental stewardship as preventative medicine among youth in marginalized communities within Canada and Jamaica.”