Excellence in Research

In recognition of International Women's Day, we celebrate the incredible work of the eight Hamilton Health Sciences researchers who were honoured at the 2022 Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation gala.
Dr. Luciana Catanese
Vascular Neurologist Hamilton General Hospital
Dr. Catanese has participated in multiple international trials testing novel therapies in acute ischemic stroke patients. She led the National Cerebrovascular and COVID-19 Study looking into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stroke epidemiology and systems of care.
Dr. Sashi Perera
Stroke/Vascular Neurologist Hamilton General Hospital
Dr. Perera has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator for Phase II and III clinical trials, and is on the adjudication committees for international stroke/ cardiovascular trials. She is the lead investigator in Young ESUS longitudinal cohort study and CATIS-ICAD study.
The Study: Stroke in Women
Ischemic stroke (IS) accounts for 80-90% of all strokes. Women with IS face a comparatively higher stroke burden than men. Women are more likely to be disabled or die and have worse quality of life following IS. Despite unique, female specific risk factors, including pregnancy and menopause, the impact of stroke preventative strategies in women with IS has been underreported. The researchers aim to identify the risk of recurrent stroke in women versus men, the proportion of fatal strokes and functional outcomes after IS, the connection between age and stroke outcomes based on etiologies, and to better characterize effective secondary stroke prevention strategies in women.
Dr. Sarah Mah
Clinical Fellow in Gynecologic Oncology, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre
Dr. Mah’s current research interests include quality improvement and knowledge translation in gynecologic oncology, cancer prevention, palliative care, and patient-centered outcomes research.
The Study: Palliative care delivery and impact on end-of-life outcomes and health care utilization in gynecologic oncology patients in Ontario
Palliative care focuses on supporting the needs of patients and families to improve quality of life when faced with a progressive, life-limiting illness, such as cancer. This care may include providing relief from pain and other symptoms that can be part of cancer or cancer treatment, as well as helping patients and families cope with the illness and make decisions about their care in a way that best reflects their values and priorities.

The study will consider patients who have died of gynecologic cancers in the province of Ontario to determine whether some patients were more likely than others to receive early palliative care, and if those who did had better experiences of living with, and dying of, cancer. The results of this research will help to inform when and how to best provide palliative care to patients, and improve end-of-life cancer care for patients and their families.
Dr. Giulia Muraca
Assistant Professor, Department of
Obstetrics & Gynecology McMaster University
Dr. Muraca’s research aims to produce evidence to support enhanced safety and satisfaction in the care of pregnant women and their children, with emphasis on care quality, accessibility and equity.
The Study: Advancing equity in maternal health in Canada - Population-based investigations of racial and ethnic disparities in severe maternal morbidity
Severe maternal morbidity refers to a set of unexpected, pregnancy-associated maternal complications resulting in severe illness, prolonged hospitalization, long-term disability, or death. An estimated 16 in every 1,000 women in Canada experience severe maternal morbidity, and this rate has increased substantially over the last decade.This project will use an innovative linkage of high-quality, population-based data sets, including over 860,000 pregnancies to provide the first comparisons of severe maternal morbidity by race in Canada. It will profile the incidence and drivers of severe maternal morbidity over time in racialized and non-racialized women and identify factors that link race with complications and poor outcomes. The results should inform evidence-based, clinical and health policy targets that promote equity in maternal health.
Dr. Isabel B. Rodrigues
Postdoctoral Fellow
St. Peter’s Hospital
Dr. Rodrigues is focused on equitable healthcare, mobility in aging, and interventions to improve social, cognitive, and physical function among older adults who are frail. She has received several scholarships and funding awards.
The Study: Do post-fracture rehabilitation programs improve frailty outcomes in patients with acute fractures?  A prospective longitudinal study
Frailty is a state of declined function across multiple physiological systems that is more likely to be observed
in patients who have experienced a fragility fracture (e.g., hip fracture). Early identification of frailty is important as interventions, including post-fracture rehabilitation programs, may then be introduced to prevent functional decline, hospital admissions, and/or death. Such interventions, including post-fracture rehabilitation programs have been shown to improve symptoms, physical function, and health in patientsThe study aims to determine if the post-fracture rehabilitation program at Hamilton Health Sciences improves frailty scores in individuals who have experienced a fracture. The results will help inform rehabilitation assessments, identify opportunities to optimize patients’ rehabilitation programs to improve outcomes and prevent rehospitalization or subsequent fractures.
Dr. Gita Wahi
General Pediatrician
McMaster Children’s Hospital
Dr. Wahi’s research aims to improve the lives of children and families who are often neglected in health research on childhood obesity while advancing treatment strategies among families burdened by socio-economic inequities.
The Study: Building a social prescription intervention at McMaster  Children’s Hospital (MCH)
The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people live, work and access resources. Factors such as income, housing, education, access to food and others can be a major cause of health inequities, particularly when populations do not have access to the same resources. When health professionals refer families to community supports to address unmet needs, also called social prescribing, it can help to improve their social situation, which can improve health.

This study will screen children and families cared for in outpatient clinics at McMaster Children’s Hospital using a digital survey available in multiple languages, to determine if they have unmet social needs. Results will be used to build a social screening toolkit and create a pathway for referral to supports that improves the health of children with complex medical conditions.

New Investigator Fund and Early Career Award Winners

Dr. Flavia Kessler Borges
Internist, Hamilton Health Sciences
Researcher, Population Health Research Institute
Dr. Flavia Kessler Borges is a researcher at the Population Health Research Institute specializing in perioperative cardiac biomarkers, and perioperative strategies to improve outcomes in surgical patients, especially in hip fracture patients. Her research program enabled her to receive companion awards from the New Investigator Fund (NIF) and Early Career Award (ECA).

Dr. Borges’ NIF Funding is advancing perioperative research using genetic tools to determine if there are genetic markers that indicate which patients are at risk of experiencing a heart injury after noncardiac surgery.
This work will provide clinicians with cost-effective new tools that use a single blood sample to identify patients that are at high-risk of heart complications after surgery. She has also expanded her research to examine postoperative outcomes in older adults who suffer a hip fracture and successfully completed a trial demonstrating early surgery can improve several important patient outcomes.

Dr. Borges is now merging her expertise in cardiac biomarkers and hip fractures to lead an expanded trial, which will identify if it is possible to improve postoperative mortality in high-risk hip fracture patients.
Dr. Laura Duncan
Special Professional, Hamilton Health Sciences
Researcher, Offord Centre for Child Studies
Dr. Laura Duncan is a researcher at the Offord Centre for Child Studies whose Early Career Award (ECA) supported her work to develop and evaluate a Child and Youth Mental Health Information System in partnership with young people, families, and service providers. This system aims to better understand the mental health needs of young people and their families and use this information to plan services that respond to those needs. The system builds on the ways data is already collected from young people and families at McMaster Children’s Hospital’s Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

This research co-develops and evaluates ways to organize and use data to make it as reliable, useful and meaningful as possible for youth, caregivers, clinicians, service organizations and the mental health service system more broadly.

Dr. Duncan leveraged her ECA-funded research to establish a larger research program in partnership with other child and youth mental health service organizations in Hamilton that has also received funding through a SickKids-CIHR New Investigator Grant. Dr. Duncan’s goal is to create and increase the ability of child and youth mental health services to meet population needs, improving the lives of children, youth and their families.

The Performers

It's going to be an unforgettable evening featuring many hits from the all-time greatest female artists, performed live for you by:

Pia Toscano

Pia Toscano has performed alongside Jennifer Lopez in her Vegas Residency and is currently on tour with David Foster and Andrea Bocelli. She has toured with American Idol’s Live, Jennifer Lopez & has performed on The Ellen Show, The Tonight Show, Live with Regis & Kelly and many more. Pia’s debut Christmas Album topped the charts in new releases for 2021. The video for her latest single Walk Through The Fire debuted at number one on the iTunes video charts.

Simone Denny

Simone Denny is known as the legendary four-time Juno Award-winning, and Billboard Charttopping vocalist for acts including Love Inc., BKS, and Widelife. Her powerhouse vocals drive a prolific list of beloved songs, among them: You’re A Superstar, Broken Bones, Astroplane and Who Do You Love.

Beverley Mahood

Beverley Mahood is a dynamic entertainer, highly recognized musically, for several solo albums, multiple CCMA Awards, 5 Juno Nominations. Her work has also included TV shows (Pick A Puppy), movie roles (Changing Seasons) and songwriting credits (Celine Dion).

With thanks to:
Presenting Sponsor
LlUNA logo
Entertainment Sponsor
TD logo
Platinum Sponsor
Effort Trust logo
Gold Sponsor
TMX logo
Silver Sponsors
Deloitte logo
Pioneer logo
RBC logo
StressCrete Group logo
Corporate Table Sponsors
Bell Canada
Compass One Healthcare
CSL Group
Greenshield Canada
HHS Volunteer Association
Hicks Morley
Johnson Controls
McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences
Mohawk College
Seguin Engineering Inc
St Joseph's Healthcare Foundation
Stratus Building Solutions
T Lloyd Electric Ltd.
Bell Canada
Boehringer Ingelheim
Compass One Healthcare
CSL Group
HHS Volunteer Association
Hicks Morley
Johnson Controls
McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences
Seguin Engineering Inc
St Joseph's Healthcare Foundation
Stratus Building Solutions
T Lloyd Electric Ltd.