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New grants will fund research into diabetes

Jun 27, 2019
Guylaine Spencer

Diana Sherifali speaking at conference

Photo above: Dr. Diana Sherifali speaking at the American Diabetes Association on June 8th about diabetes in long term care. Photo taken by Dr. Alice Cheng

Dr. Diana Sherifali, associate professor in the School of Nursing, has recently been awarded six grants to continue her research into technology-enabled diabetes coaching support for adults living with type 2 diabetes mellitus, and to develop guidelines for preventing and managing frailty.  

“Diabetes is a serious, chronic condition that is primarily managed by individuals outside of the health care system,” says Sherifali. “Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus often struggle with managing their disease. Typically, adults receive some support in the form of group information sessions, and perhaps checkups every three to six months. However, what happens between those visits, when patients need advice? Could more frequent support from health care providers help these patients get better control of their condition?  Moreover, we are learning more about the complex relationship between diabetes and frailty?”

The first grant is for a CIHR-funded workshop entitled “Transforming Diabetes Education: Where Are We 30 Years Later & Where Do We Need to Go?” This workshop aims to bring together diverse subject matter experts to discuss the current evidence and data (or lack thereof), and to develop priority areas that must be addressed for diabetes education and support to reach optimal impact. The award is for $14,900 for December 2018 - December 2019.

The second grant is from Population Health Research Institute, for a research project entitled “Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of diabetes technology enabled coaching (D-TEC) as part of an intensive metabolic intervention for remission in individuals with type 2 diabetes.”  As Sherifali explains, “This pilot study will bring together engineers and experts in diabetes coaching to design the diabetes technology-enabled coaching intervention and test the feasibility of the intervention for adults living with type 2 diabetes.” She was awarded $47,938 for the period January 1, 2019 - March 31, 2020.

The third grant, “Scaling Health Coaching for Diabetes Through Precision Digital Health”  is from Hamilton Health Sciences. “It brings together experts in diabetes, engineering and computer sciences to use AI to identify individual-level patterns in health coaching delivered to patients living with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and develop and evaluate an AI powered algorithm that is able to deliver personalized health coaching, at scale.  By bringing healthcare for T2DM closer to home through outpatient services, precision digital health, specifically precision health coaching, may prevent the consequences of T2DM, including hospitalizations,” Sherifali says. This award is for $300,000. April 1, 2019 - March 2022.

Her grants pertaining to frailty comprise a joint venture between McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) and Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) to fund the McMaster Evidence Review and Synthesis Team ( to complete the following initiatives:

CFN - Nutrition. Nutrition Clinical Practice Guidelines for Older Adults with Frailty. The purpose is to develop guidelines pertaining to the prevention, assessment and treatment of nutrition and frailty. $48,000, Period: June 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020.

CFN – Physical  activity. Physical Activity Clinical Practice Guidelines for Older Adults with Frailty. The purpose is to develop a guideline specific to the prevention, assessment and treatment of frailty with physical activity. $48,000, Period: June 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020.

MIRA/ CFN - post doctoral award. The post-doctoral fellow (yet to be hired) will support the development of two guidelines pertaining to frailty and physical activity, and frailty and nutrition.  $25,000, Period: June 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020.



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