Latest News

2019 Staff Award of Excellence: Saagar Walia

Lawson research coordinator recognized for contribution to spinal cord and acquired brain injury research

Off­site - 

At the 2019 Lawson Impact Awards, Saagar Walia was awarded the Staff Award of Excellence for his contributions in his role as research coordinator and manager for the Research 2 Practice (R2P) team at Parkwood Institute Research (PIR), a program of Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson).

Walia is highly respected by all staff and partners. His dedication and leadership skills have had a significant impact on several programs at Parkwood Institute, a part of St. Joseph’s Health Care London, through his coordinative role in joint clinical and research initiatives.

The R2P team focuses on enhancing care and improving outcomes by integrating research with clinical practice. As manager of this team, Walia was responsible for a multitude of administrative duties. He has become widely known for his ability to provide trusted counsel and facilitate groups and individuals in addressing challenging decisions. His knowledge of rehabilitation at PIR has helped the team communicate effectively and link research activities to clinical programs.

“Saagar bring the traits of empathy, compassion, respect and positivity to all the research committees in which he participates,” says Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, Walia’s nominator. “He has always been someone that PIR groups can rely on.”

In addition to his role with the R2P team, Walia was the manager of the Spinal Cord Injury Knowledge Mobilization Network.  This nation-wide initiative comprised of seven different rehabilitation centres, used implementation science methods to standardize and implement best practices across spinal cord injury rehabilitation programs. Walia has also facilitated planning for the establishment of a new provincial network of academic health centres.

“Ultimately we’re all motivated to improve care and achieve better outcomes.  To accomplish that, it’s important for various stakeholders including researchers, clinicians, leaders, and policy makers to work collaboratively. Bringing these different lenses and sets of expertise together will help us develop solutions to the complex issues we all face.”

He is well known as an individual who recognizes opportunities, builds connections, and helps others come to the solutions they need.

“It is really important for me to see others succeed,” says Walia. 

Recently, Walia has taken on a leadership role as a coordinator in the Rehabilitation Program at Parkwood Institute. Although he is no longer in a formal research position, Walia continues to be an ambassador for clinical research and is able to leverage this opportunity to further connect research to practice.