In the emerging field of health science there exists a gap between advances in laboratory medical research and health care in clinical practice – the Faculty of Science wants to bridge that gap.
UWindsor is bringing together a network of health professionals to create its new Master of Science in Translational Health Science (MSTHS) program in the Department of Biomedical Science.
“Building this local network will put a spotlight on Windsor as a centre for developing health scientists in Windsor, for Windsor,” says Martin Crozier, MSTHS program co-ordinator.
The program will foster partnerships between the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Nursing, Windsor Regional Hospital, Windsor Cancer Research Group, WE Spark Health Institute, Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital, and St. Clair College.
“There can emerge silos of specialized knowledge in health science and you can see that when you look at the gap between basic science taking place in a laboratory and clinical research,” says Dr. Crozier.
“In a modern-day approach to health care, successful research programs use a multidisciplinary team of scientists, health professionals, economists, and statisticians working together to solve complex health and social problems — like what we’re going through with the pandemic.”
Crozier says it is important to understand the real-world implications of closing this distance.
“I could be in a lab researching a gene that has great implications for human disease and meanwhile there’s a clinician out there treating someone with that disease,” he says. “There is data being collected separately in these two fields, in the benchside and bedside research fields, and we need trained individuals to help translate and bridge that gap between the two.
“The role here is to educate a cohort of individuals who can help in the process of bridging or translating between these different fields at whatever level.”
Crozier says there is a second valley of information dealing with public health that needs to be addressed by individuals trained in translational health science.
“There is a question of how laboratory or clinical research can inform decisions made for the health of the community at large,” says Crozier.
“There is a lack of students with these skill sets so that is why we are offering this program so we can offer a training path that incorporates clinical science, public health and basic biomedical research to accelerate application of biological breakthroughs to human health.”
Graduates of the program will be able to focus on laboratory, clinical, or public heath fields to find careers implementing clinical trials in industry, clinical, and academic settings, as well as work for government agencies and community organizations that engage in disease prevention and health promotion.
In the year-long course-based program, each student will be offered three terms of experiential learning placements with local clinicians or UWindsor researchers.
“We will leverage our research strengths here at the University as well as the growing network of clinical research that is being done for example at Windsor Regional Hospital, WE-Spark, and the cancer research group,” says Crozier.
“Our students will spend more than 200 hours working with local clinicians such as oncologists, cardiologists, and neonatologists, on real-world clinical research projects.”
The first cohort of the program will begin studies in May 2022 and Andrew Hubberstey, head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, says he looks forward to the inaugural class.
“The Department of Biomedical Sciences is excited about this novel MSc program which will link our graduate students with local clinical health research partners,” says Dr. Hubberstey.
“Students will gain experience in relating basic and clinical research and learn how to analyze health related data and as a one-year MSc degree, this program will appeal to students with interests in health related careers or future health professional degrees.”
Prospective students are encouraged to visit the Translational Health Science program website to learn more about the program and how to apply.