Computer scientist Dr. Sandra Zilles is introducing the next generation of AI researchers at the U of R to big ideas. (Photo by Trevor Hopkin)
Accolades recognizes a few of the honours U of R researchers have received in recent months.
All it takes is a “hey, Siri” or “Alexa” to see how artificial intelligence, or AI, is becoming more integral to our everyday lives.
That’s why the federal government recently provided a boost to Canadian AI researchers to rapidly increase their contributions to the field.
Dr. Sandra Zilles, Canada Research Chair in Computational Learning Theory, is one of the researchers who received an AI Chair and federal funding through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) AI Chairs Program. CIFAR is a Canadian-based, global research organization.
“This appointment will allow me to bolster current partnerships and create new ones as we work together, exchange research ideas, and develop new and important connections between our work,” says Zilles, who will work closely with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) in Edmonton, one of Canada’s three national AI Institutes alongside Mila in Montreal and the Vector Institute in Toronto.
Zilles adds that another exciting aspect to being a Chair and working with Amii will be that she and her colleagues there will also be able to co-supervise students, introducing the next generation of AI researchers at the U of R to bigger ideas than would be possible without these collaborations. The research that Zilles is conducting with her current students and collaborators includes both applied and theoretical work.
An international leader in the area of pain assessment in dementia, Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos is the 2021 recipient of the Canadian Pain Society’s Pain Awareness Award.
The Canadian Pain Society presents the award to those with the Best Pain Awareness Project. The goals of the award are to raise awareness of the problem of undermanaged pain in Canada, to highlight efforts toward finding solutions to the problem, and to reach a national audience.
Hadjistavropoulos, psychology professor and Research Chair in Aging and Health, received the award for leading the #SeePainMoreClearly campaign – an effort to raise awareness about the problem of undertreated pain in people affected by dementia, the dire consequences of not treating the pain, and the cutting-edge, evidence-based solutions to the problem that are now available to health professionals and policy makers.
Four months after launching, the #SeePainMoreClearly hashtag had received more than five million impressions on Twitter.
Hadjistavropoulos launched the campaign in partnership with the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, the Canadian Association of Gerontology, the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, healthcare personnel, patients and family members, researchers, and policymakers. His team includes graduate student Louise Castillo, Dr. Lilian Thorpe, Dr. Kelly Chessie, Dr. Jaime Williams, Mary Brachaniec, Andre LeRuyet, Charmayne LeRuyet, Dr. Alec Couros and Dr. Christine Chambers.
The World Health Organization declared 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. To celebrate, Women in Global Health, in partnership with the World Health Organization, the International Council of Nurses, the International Confederation of Midwives, the United Nations Population Fund, and Nursing Now have recognized 100 outstanding women nurse and midwife leaders from around the world. Dr. Shela Hirani, associate professor of nursing, was one of those recognized – and was one of only five women from Canada included in this prestigious group.
Hirani is a lactation consultant, registered nurse, and researcher. With funding from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and the Faculty of Nursing at the U of R, Hirani developed a knowledge mobilization tool to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding during the global pandemic. The result is a five-minute video entitled Breastfeeding during COVID-19: An Information Guide.
Throughout her career, Hirani has been actively involved in health equity work, paying special attention to policies that often negatively affect the health and well-being of marginalized and vulnerable groups of women and young children in Canada and Pakistan.
“My professional goal is to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children and marginalized women through my research, leadership, and community service.”