Researchers Undertaking Prevention, Treatment Of Preterm Birth

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Preterm Birth

Alberta has the highest rate of premature birth in the country, a condition associated with more than 75% of infant death and long-term disability. Dr. David Olson and Dr. Suzanne Tough lead a team of 20 researchers who hope to find ways to prevent and treat preterm birth.

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The Preterm Birth and Healthy Outcomes team is one of four teams who were successful in the first Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Interdisciplinary Team Grants competition. This multimillion dollar initiative provides opportunities for collaborative teams of researchers from different research disciplines and institutions to address important research questions or health problems in areas of priority for Alberta.

"This program represents a bold, new way of supporting research," says AHFMR interim president and CEO Dr. Jacques Magnan. "The varied disciplines of the investigators on these teams will allow them to address issues from all angles-the basic science behind the problem, the problem's effects across a population, all the way to real solutions to be used in the clinic, and policy recommendations to be implemented by decision makers.'

The Interdisciplinary Team Grants program was made possible, in part, by the Alberta government's addition of $500 million to the AHFMR endowment. That injection allowed AHFMR to increase its basic support for health research while also initiating new and pioneering programs such as the interdisciplinary team grants. Alberta Health and Wellness is also contributing more than $15 million over the next 5 years to the support of the program.

"AHFMR's Interdisciplinary Grants program brings together some of the brightest and best minds in medical research, fostering Alberta's leading-edge knowledge-based economy and the vast economic opportunities that affords" said Dave Hancock, Health and Wellness Minister. "The value added to the health system from new knowledge in such research areas as child health and vaccine development will have an immediate benefit to Albertans and to people across the country and around the world."

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