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Dr. Rick Sawatzky recognized for research excellence with prestigious award

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CHÉOS Program Head for Patient-Reported Outcomes Dr. Rick Sawatzky has received the 2021 Barer-Flood Prize in Health Services & Policy Research. This award recognizes the highest ranking Senior-Career Investigators in CIHR’s Project Grant competition working within the mandate of the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR). 

Dr. Rick Sawatzky

Dr. Sawatzky received the award for his recent project grant, co-led by CHÉOS Associate Director Dr. Amy Salmon and several other investigators. The study is developing a cutting-edge online patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) for tailored people-centred health measurement, called a mixture computerized adaptive test.  

“Most PROMs are designed to fit the most common views held by the majority of the population, but this means that perspectives of some people from diverse cultures, traditions, or life experiences may be missed,” explained Dr. Sawatzky, also a Canada Research Chair in Patient-Reported Outcomes. “By aiming to understand and measure patients’ views from their frame of reference, our study will enable “personalized” health care for each and every person.” 

The study will develop and test the mixture computerized adaptive test, also called a mixture-CAT, for measuring the impact of pain and emotional well-being on the daily lives of adults who are living at home with chronic illness. 

By working with industry, the study team will also collaborate and integrate the knowledge and experience of patients, care providers, and health care leaders about how to best use this new tool. This work will inform future use of mixture-CAT with a wide range of health outcomes, beyond pain and emotional well-being, and with other populations. 

“Our project will ensure that patients’ diverse health experiences are described in a way that is truly equitable,” added Dr. Sawatzky. 

CHÉOS Scientists Drs. Anne Gadermann and Hubert Wong will act as co-investigators on this work. 

Aside from a way to formally recognize top-tier researchers, the Barer-Flood Prize is a supplemental grant to support research and knowledge mobilization. This year’s award, shared by Dr. Sawatzky with Dr. Walter Wodchis, a Professor at the University of Toronto, will also be recognized at the upcoming Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research 2022 Annual Conference, taking place virtually from May 31 to June 2, 2022.  

“This award is a tremendous honour,” said Dr. Sawatzky, “I am grateful to IHSPR for supporting and recognizing innovative new research that aims to change the way we understand, measure, and improve health and health care across Canada.”