By Ana Gajic
Dr. Shane Journeay, a Physiatrist at Providence, was appointed as Director of Academics and Research at Providence earlier this year.
As Unity Health Toronto continues to grow together in research and innovation, we sat down with Dr. Journeay to learn more about his work and his goals for research at Providence.
Q. Tell us a bit about your research background.
I have research training from before and after my medical degree. I completed a master’s degree in human thermoregulation (the process that allows a body to maintain its core internal temperature) and cardiovascular physiology, and then went on to complete a PhD in toxicology/nanotechnology.
After medical school, I trained clinically in both physical medicine and rehabilitation and occupational medicine and also completed a Master’s of Public Health.
My background brings together a lot of different areas of research from basic science to epidemiology. I try to use this to guide collaborations and where I – and Providence – can make an impact.
Q. What excites you about research into rehabilitation medicine?
The field of rehabilitation research is wide open with opportunities to better understand recovery and functional outcomes from injury and disease.
The main reason I love this area is that rehabilitation medicine and research are often highly interdisciplinary. For one project you may be collaborating with occupational therapy or physiotherapy, whereas for another you might be working alongside orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, or epidemiologists.
The research often combines many disciplines which can lead to addressing research questions from multiple different perspectives. As an example, I have an interest in bridging medical specialties such as occupational medicine and rehabilitation medicine through research and clinical collaboration.
Q. How do you hope to see research grow at Providence?
I would like to see Providence make a strong contribution to rehabilitation research both within Unity Health Toronto and beyond. I hope to see increased opportunities for research in the rehabilitation setting both internally at Providence and for collaborative opportunities across the network and the Greater Toronto Area.
Q. What are some projects Providence has underway?
The first cross-site collaboration we will be working on addresses anemia, as many of our patients across the three sites face challenges related to anemia. Another is a collaboration with fracture researchers, looking at bone health. Both topics are unique as only preliminary research has focused on rehab patients and the impact of these conditions on functional outcomes.
We are also beginning to contribute to clinical trials as a hospital where possible.
Q. Why do you enjoy doing research?
Seeing a project through to completion and answering a research question is always interesting, whether the findings are high impact or improve our understanding of a topic incrementally. The critical thinking and the writing components of research are enjoyable as well.
Q. What’s one thing people might not know about you?
I have an interest in human space flight and in 2017, I was a finalist in the Canadian Astronaut Recruitment campaign, which was an incredible experience.