The Libin Institute‘s Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn and Dr. Braden Manns are two of three team leads on an AHFMR team grant, a project called the Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration. The Summer 2009 issue of Research News, the AHFMR magazine, features a story on this project, which is about what some have termed the “quiet epidemic” of non-communicable chronic diseases.
“This situation with chronic diseases isn’t new, and governments and healthcare organizations have put a lot of time and effort into trying to improve how they manage chronic diseases,” notes Dr. Braden Manns, who researches health economics at the University of Calgary. “However, it’s fair to say that progress has been slow.”
The Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration plans to look at chronic diseases from a broader perspective. “Many researchers have investigated such underlying risk factors for chronic diseases as obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise. As a result, we have a lot of tools to manage people with chronic diseases—we should be doing a lot better than we actually do. We don’t necessarily need another discovery from basic research; rather we need to understand the barriers that prevent people from better managing their health. And that requires studies that address the root causes of these risk factors. For example, we need to look at economic factors, the social environment, geography, education, and more. This is what our group aims to do.”
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