CIHR awards $2.9 million in funding to Lawson researchers

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) recently awarded nearly $2.9 million in funding to four projects at Lawson Health Research Institute, the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

One project led by Dr. Emil Schemitsch, Lawson Scientist and Physician Department Head for the Department of Surgery at LHSC, will focus on the impact of wait times on patients waiting for total hip and knee replacements.

“Wait times for osteoarthritis patients scheduled for total joint replacement have an effect on outcomes and the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed thousands of these life-changing surgeries,” explains Dr. Schemitsch, who is also the Richard Ivey Professor of Surgery at Western University. 

Earlier studies have found with longer wait times, up to 80 per cent of patients used opioids for pain management, while some groups who face racial, socioeconomic, and sex disparities may have worse pre-operative symptoms, both of which have been linked to poor recovery.

The ‘WHERE Study: Waiting for Hip and Knee Replacement: A Prospective Study’ will look at how wait times for common orthopaedic surgeries impact post-surgical outcomes. It is expected to follow over 2,500 patients from the time they are put on a waitlist until two years after surgery.

“A study of this magnitude requires a significant amount of personnel to ensure patients are recruited and followed according to the protocol,” Dr. Schemitsch says. “With the support of this CIHR Project Grant, we will be able to include nine additional sites across Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia.”

This study, being led out of LHSC, aims to gather evidence on the connection between wait times, non-surgical treatments, patient background (race, sex and socioeconomic) and osteoarthritis symptoms to identify patients most impacted by longer wait times and how inequities impact a patient before and after surgery.

“The results will highlight the implications of longer waits relative to patient characteristics, lead to improved clinical decision making and patient outcomes, and provide insight for improving waitlist policies, ultimately ensuring equitable access to care,” notes Dr. Schemitsch.

In addition to the four projects led through Lawson, eight projects involving Lawson researchers, funded through Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, have received an additional $5.2 million in funding.

Full details of CIHR’s Project Grant Fall 2022 competition results are available online.

Media Contact
Amanda Taccone

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Lawson Health Research Institute
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