A new research centre for the study of aging was announced this week Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, in Corner Brook.
The facility, titled the Aging Research Centre (ARC), will have an auxiliary site in St. John's. It will be led by a core leadership team directed by Dr. Veronica Hutchings, a clinical psychologist at Grenfell whose area of expertise is in aging. The centre will bring together researchers like Dr. Les Cake, honorary research professor at Grenfell Campus, as well as experts from around the province and beyond to facilitate partnerships and catalyze new research initiatives in the area of aging in the province and in small-town, rural and remote communities more broadly.
On Tuesday, the Honourable Lisa Dempster, minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, announced an investment of $200,000 to support ARC. Memorial University is contributing approximately $300,000.
"We're thrilled to receive this support from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the provincial Aging Research Centre," said Dr. Jeff Keshen, vice-president (Grenfell Campus) Memorial University. "The centre will play a critical role in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a rapidly aging population is one of the highest proportions of individuals over the age of 65 in its population in all of Canada. ARC's researchers and knowledge mobilizers will be positioned to inform decision-making and service provision by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and other health-related organizations."
The Office of the Seniors' Advocate is also applauding the creation of the centre. Seniors' advocate Dr. Suzanne Brake said the research conducted by the centre will provide her office with "the evidence we need to make recommendations regarding legislation, policies, programs and services that best meet the needs of the aging population in Newfoundland and Labrador."
Minister Dempster, who took time out Tuesday to tour the spaces that will be used for the research centre, said ARC's sound research will be key to helping the government create policies and programs that support healthy aging.
"Having a dedicated centre for research focused specifically on aging has great potential for evidence-informed decision making that will help address potential impacts on our seniors and our province," she said. "We are pleased to support Memorial University with the opening of the new Aging Research Centre at Grenfell Campus."
Photo caption: Dr. Ben Zendel, Canada Research Chair, (aging and auditory neuroscience), left, gave a tour of a soundproof chamber that will be used in his research to ADM Rick Healy and Minister Lisa Dempster.