History of ARC-NL
Newfoundland and Labrador currently has a rapidly aging population and one of the highest proportions of older adults in Canada.
The government of NL has placed high priority on health and social issues related to later life and recognizes research as being critical to effective policy making. As the last Canadian province without a research centre dedicated to the study of aging, it was clear that such a centre was needed to address the unique circumstances facing our older adults and aging population.
In 2011, a Memorial University research team funded by the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research (NLCAHR) and led by Dr. Leslie Cake (psychology, Grenfell Campus) produced a report based on visits and extensive interviews at centres for research on aging across Canada. The report provided a powerful set of arguments in favour of creating a similar research centre in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since the release of the 2011 report, a major national conference on aging was held in Corner Brook, NL in 2012 and the consensus was that a dedicated centre would help to attract and manage funding from both the public sector and private donors, recruit and retain a growing corps of qualified and experienced researchers, and develop specialized expertise among graduate students and clinicians. An aging research centre would also link researchers in this province and encourage partnerships with teams and programs in other jurisdictions. A centre would encourage and support collaborations and partnerships linking the university, government, and community stakeholders, and channel research into areas of priority concern for this province's public policy and administration.
In order to support such an Aging Research Centre, initiatives such as NLCAHR's Research Exchange Group on Aging, which was formed in 2007, have been instrumental in developing a research network related to aging and seniors in the province. Moreover, in an effort to further develop a centre and raise the profile of aging research conducted within the province, the division of community health and humanities in Memorial University's faculty of medicine in partnership with Grenfell Campus hired Dr. Benjamin Zendel, Canada Research Chair in aging and auditory neuroscience in 2015.
With funding from Memorial University and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development's Healthy Aging Research Program, the proposal for a pilot centre for the study of aging was approved by Memorial University's Board of Regents in 2018. The Aging Research Centre-Newfoundland and Labrador (ARC-NL) is based at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, NL with a satellite office in St. John's, NL.
ARC-NL will foster collaboration between Grenfell and St. John's campuses of Memorial University and create a provincial network of researchers studying late life issues in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, ARC-NL will prioritize knowledge mobilization and engagement with older adults.