2020 Research Highlights

This week CHRIM celebrated another year of accomplishments and milestones with our research teams, partners, and staff at the Annual General Meeting.

We are proud to share our 2020 Annual Report where you will find details surrounding scientific breakthroughs and special moments from the past year as well as a statistical year in review.

Here are a few highlights

Elevating the Brand

2020 was an excellent year in the media with CHRIM being positively showcased in the news with researchers sharing publications and weighing in on trending topics as experts in their fields, including the novel coronavirus.

We also launched a Researcher Highlight series featuring a “behind the scenes” view on our scientists. Check out a few of these stories featuring Drs. Lauren Kelly, Meghan Azad, and Leslie Roos.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CHRIM events, including Research Rounds and our Child Health Research Days conference moved to virtual platforms for the first time ever. Although physically apart, our attendance at these events grew and gave us the opportunity to invite more international guest speakers and expand our connections across the globe.

Help Kids

CHRIM welcomed 15 new researchers to the Institute as new members in the areas of child psychology, type 1 diabetes, bioinformatics, and brain injuries.

In 2020, the Institute introduced its third Research Theme – ENRRICH: Excellence in Neurodevelopment Rehabilitation Research in Child Health. Led by Drs. Kelly Russell and Kristy Wittmeier, ENRRICH combines interdisciplinary research and cutting-edge knowledge translation with the goal of improving the quality of life for children and families who require pediatric neurodevelopment and rehabilitation services.

CHRIM also launched a new family room for visiting research participants and their families. The new space showcases custom artwork created in partnership with the Synonym Art Consultation – a curatorial collective that promotes the celebration of art and culture.

Sample photo by local Artist and Visual Artist Facilitator,
Dee Barsy

Support Research

CHRIM was able to launch its own Patient Engagement program, housed under the Research Support Unit. We welcomed Carrie Costello as our new Patient Engagement Coordinator to support researchers with a patient-centered approach to their projects.

The Research Support Unit had an incredible year with 77 active studies, 7 of which being new COVID-19 related studies. This is a 23% growth in active studies compared to our previous year.

With the shift to working remotely came the necessity to ensure researcher teams were properly set up with the right tools and technology to work from their home workstations. Although this was a tedious process, it allowed for CHRIM to continue to support the needs of the research community without having to stop operations. CHRIM was able to continue regular on-site operations at 40% capacity for most of the year with many research programs shifting to a completely remote working environment. This adjustment provided a larger capacity for fundamental lab research teams to continue their work on-site that otherwise would not have been feasible.

Increase Funding

Increasing funding further helps researchers advance in their discoveries and overall impact on children’s health in Manitoba and across the world.        

Although we had to reduce our Operating Grants Competition in 2020, we were thrilled to provide funding to well-deserved trainees through seven Summer Studentship grants, seven awards in partnership with Research Manitoba, along with one small grant. These grants help trainees to get started in their projects and create opportunities to apply for larger funding grants.

In 2020, CHRIM managed a total of $19,740,258 active research dollars. The active research dollars are comprised of partner funding, salaries, infrastructure funding, and research grants from investigators. This is a 2% increase over what was managed in 2019. In the current climate with COVID-19 funding restrictions, this is an incredible achievement by our researchers!

Scientific Achievements

Despite a challenging year, our researchers forged ahead and made numerous scientific achievements! Many of them led studies that focused on COVID-19, including Dr. Meghan Azad who is co-leading the International Perinatal Outcomes in the Pandemic (iPOP) study, to evaluate increased preterm births during the pandemic and identify underlying causes. This research may lead to new strategies to improve perinatal outcomes. Another COVID-19 study includes Dr. Lauren Kelly, who is involved in a study looking at evidence-based research treatments in children with COVID -19. Dr. Leslie Roos is leading an ongoing study about family wellness and increased parental stress during the COVID -19 pandemic. Her study has shown that during the pandemic, parents of children ages 1.5 to 8 years are experiencing psychosocial distress increases three to five-fold.

2020 was a year like no other. CHRIM was able to rise to the occasion and not just survive, but thrive. From record staff numbers, to directly helping the fight against COVID-19 through countless research projects, CHRIM has made 2020 a year to be proud of and we can’t wait to see what 2021 holds.