Lisa Porter, Ryan Palazzolo, Karen MetcalfeRyan Palazzolo, WE-Spark Health Institute student network co-ordinator (centre), accepts an award for dedication to advancing its vision from executive director Lisa Porter and assistant director Karen Metcalfe.

Awards recognize collaboration in health research

WE-Spark Health Institute awarded 18 students for their poster presentations during its International Research Conference in November.

The undergraduate, graduate, PhD, and medical students were awarded $1,400. The innovative projects were wide-ranging across a variety of disciplines and included addressing child literacy gaps in vulnerable populations, preventing the spread of COVID-19 through education, exploring barriers to young adults seeking mental health supports, cancer research projects, and more.

For the complete list of projects and names of the students and their collaborators, click here.

“It’s so important that students are given local opportunities to present their work,” said biomedical sciences professor Lisa Porter, executive director of WE-Spark. “Telling their stories and explaining their methodology and results are an important piece of the research process. It trains students to talk to people from diverse backgrounds and expertise and respond to questions. This type of professional development is a valuable learning experience for all involved.”

During the conference, the first round of WE-Spark Leadership Awards was presented to five recipients. Dora Cavallo-Medved, acting dean of science at the University of Windsor; medical oncologist Caroline Hamm of Windsor Regional Hospital; the institute’s student network co-ordinator Ryan Palazzolo; Jennifer Voth, manager of research and project management for Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare; and Peter Wawrow, director of applied research and development at St. Clair College were recognized for their leadership, dedication, and commitment to advancing WE-Spark’s vision.

“These amazing and passionate individuals have dedicated their time and talents since the beginning of WE-Spark four years ago, and have been committed to advancing our vision,” Dr. Porter said. “They are true WE-Spark champions.”

The conference was held Nov 11 and 12 at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts and featured two keynote speakers, 63 posters, 34 oral presentations, and 250 attendees.

Porter said that the institute is considering making the conference an annual event.

“Bringing together researchers allows everyone to find out what’s going on across our region and sparks collaboration,” she said.

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