Summer 2015 (Volume 25, Number 2)

The Realities of Research Support, In My Experience

By Cheryl Barnabe, MD, FRCPC, MSc

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In 2013 I was awarded the CRA-Canadian Initiative for Outcomes in Rheumatology Care (CIORA) and The Arthritis Society (TAS) Clinician Investigator Award. This salary award was designed to support investigation in inflammatory arthritis (IA) aligned with the research pillars of the CIORA grant program—getting more patients with IA diagnosed, utilizing multidisciplinary care teams to deliver high-quality arthritis services, and advancing educational initiatives.

During my award tenure, I have focused on how we might improve systems of access and care delivery for indigenous patients with arthritis. Indigenous populations in Canada have the highest prevalence of both osteoarthritis (OA) and most types of IA. They have severe disease outcomes, and our current healthcare system fails, for the most part, to provide an environment where optimal treatment outcomes could occur. The salary award has given me the opportunity to explore these issues, helping develop the networks and interventions to resolve the situation that exists. I am incredibly fortunate that my CRA(CIORA)/TAS salary award will now be followed by tenure of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) salary award, as a New Investigator in Community-Based Primary Healthcare, to make interventions based in the primary-care setting and which strengthen the primary-care provider-specialist relationship to improve outcomes.

What does a salary award give an academic? These awards afford protected time to write grants and papers, develop a research program, and supervise research students. Without this protected time, it is incredibly difficult to pursue research endeavours and achieve high-impact work. I am most grateful to the CRA and TAS for their contributions to supporting my research program over the past two years.

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To learn more about CIORA and available support opportunities, please visit

Cheryl Barnabe, MD, FRCPC, MSc
Assistant Professor,
Division of Rheumatology
Department of Medicine,
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta

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