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medical equipment over background of banknotesWE-Spark Health Institute announced $287,000 in grants to 14 innovative research projects in Windsor-Essex.

Health research projects earn local funding

A total of $287,000 in grants from WE-Spark Health Institute and its funding partners announced this week will promote the development of 14 early-stage, innovative health research and health education projects in Windsor-Essex.

“Grants are the fuel that allows researchers to put together a team, to move their idea forward and tackle the biggest health problems that impact society,” said biomedical sciences professor Lisa Porter, the institute’s executive director. “Our grants program depends on the generosity of our donors: individuals that give directly to WE-Spark and local organizations that make supporting research a part of their mandate. These funders recognize the importance of supporting research ideas right here in Windsor-Essex.”

The funded projects involve more than 100 researchers and trainees and thousands of participants across WE-Spark’s four partner institutions — the University of Windsor, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, St. Clair College, and Windsor Regional Hospital.

Among those with a UWindsor connection are:

  • professors Kathryn Pfaff, Jamie Crawley, Edward Cruz, Jody Ralph, Shelley Evans of nursing, Michael Boroughs of psychology and Suzanne McMurphy of sociology seeking to improve the health and social support of LGBTQ+ people experiencing cancer;
  • psychology professors Rosanne Menna, Lance Rappaport, and Kimberley Babb exploring how technology has impacted children’s experience of the pandemic;
  • kinesiologist Francesco Biondi and Balakumar Balasingam of electrical and computer engineering developing a machine vision eye-blink detection application for monitoring Zoom fatigue;
  • computer science professors Pooya Moradian Zadeh, Ziad Kobti, and Saeed Samet working with Dr. Pfaff to create an AI-based platform to address social isolation and improve health for seniors and other vulnerable groups.

Details of all projects can be found here: https://www.wesparkhealth.com/projects.

Since the launch of the WE-Spark Health Institute grants program in April 2020, it has awarded a total of $776,725 to local projects.