The Ontario Health Study Newsletter, November 2016

In this issue:

OHS launches first follow-up questionnaire

The OHS is taking an important step forward with the launch of its first follow-up questionnaire!

“Follow-up questionnaires are critical because, while the baseline questionnaire is a snapshot of a participant’s health at a specific point in time, the follow-ups allow us to see how their health changes,” says Philip Awadalla, OHS Principal Investigator.

The questionnaire is available to eligible participants online via your secure OHS account. You are eligible to complete the questionnaire if you filled out the Study’s baseline questionnaire more than six months ago. You’ll find that many of questions are similar to those on the baseline. That’s because this is an opportunity for you to provide us with update on your health. We’re also asking additional questions related to mental health, eCigarette and marijuana use and over-the-counter drugs.

The follow-up questionnaire takes about thirty minutes to complete. Login to your OHS account to start filling it out.


Fall local study centres a roaring success!

This past fall, OHS Local Study Centres reached and surpassed several important milestones with a recent run of locations in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Pembroke, London and McMaster University. As of November 1st, the Study has successfully operated over 50 Study Centre locations in communities across Ontario.

Study centres in Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay were specifically chosen to improve representation in Northern Ontario and were a roaring success. Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie residents kept our phlebotomists very busy, coming quite close to beating our single day record for blood samples collected.

In October, the OHS partnered with McMaster University to promote Study participation. Working with the university’s Employee Health and Wellness Month team, we promoted OHS participation with McMaster employees and hosted Study Centres at two locations on campus.

Read more about the Ontario Health Study’s fall activities.


Your feedback in action

When we asked for ideas about how we could make participating in the Study easier in our June newsletter, many of you answered that call.

Read more to learn how we’ve used your feedback, and addressed a few of the more common questions and suggestions related to accessing your OHS account, blood analysis results, our blood collection program and OHS-related research.

We welcome your ideas. Please continue to provide your feedback to us at communications@ontariohealthstudy.ca.


OHS Principal Investigator part of team awarded two grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to study the impact of environmental exposures and genetics

Dr. Philip Awadalla, the Ontario Health Study’s Principal Investigator, is part of a University of Toronto team that was recently awarded a $4 million grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) for the Canadian Environmental Urban Health Research Consortium project.

The consortium will play a key role in supporting the research needed to address challenges such as urban sprawl, traffic congestion, car-dependency, social equity and sustainability. More than 80% of Canadians live in cities so it’s important that cities are designed in a way that support the health of those who live there.

The group is tasked with pulling together existing data and information from a wide variety of sources related to urban issues to create one resource. The data relates to aspects of urban living such air quality, green space, and noise and will then be linked to health data platforms such as the Ontario Health Study. 

As well, Dr. Awadalla is the team leader for a Pan-Canadian initiative to understand how these environmental exposures interact with an individual’s genome to impact the development of chronic diseases and cancer. This study is supported by the CIHR programmatic initiative in Environments, Genes and Chronic disease.

Read more about this pan-Canadian initiative and the Canadian Environmental Urban Health Research Consortium on CIHR’s website.


Discovery—It’s in your blood

Our Blood Collection Program is a critical component of the Ontario Health Study. Blood samples are a key focus for the Study in the coming months and while many of our participants have provided a blood sample, further blood samples are critical to understanding the key components or health. As part of this, we are collaborating with Forum Research Inc., a market research firm, to support our blood collection goals. Forum Research has been calling to Study participants to remind them about our Blood Collection Program, answer questions and assist them in booking an appointment at LifeLabs.

If you have received an email invitation to the Blood Collection Program, then you are eligible to take part. To learn more about how to take part in our Blood Collection Program, please click here.

Please note that only those participants who have not already provided a blood sample and who are eligible will be contacted to provide a blood sample.