In simple terms, Dr. Paul Peters’ research focuses on small spaces and places. His research lab at Carleton University looks at how health care and health outcomes differ depending on where you live, particularly in rural and remote communities. His work has taken him throughout Canada and to Australia and Sweden. Now, he is also focusing on rural eastern Ontario in his role as the Chair of the Rural Research Network’s Ethics Board at Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH).
“The Rural Research Network (RRN) is a collaboration of rural organizations led by WDMH. It focuses on addressing healthcare issues affecting rural populations,” explains Dr. Mohamed Gazarin, WDMH Chief Research Officer and the founder of the RRN.
Dr. Peters says the impact of rural research is clear: “We want to look at rural areas and share information to increase knowledge. Research leads to innovative solutions, and it also helps us look at the intangible elements such as the communities themselves and the sense of belonging and support that exists.”
The Research Ethics Board (REB) looks at potential risks and benefits, protection of participants’ rights, and relevance of the research projects. “I love the idea of this ethics board supporting and ensuring suitable research,” adds Dr. Peters. “Winchester is unique in that it leads rural research and supports other hospitals to do the same.”
Dr. Peters is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Advisor in the Department of Health Sciences at Carleton University. He is also collaborating with new Ontario Health Teams. Dr. Peters has a PhD in sociology and spent six years at Statistics Canada as a Research Analyst in the Health Analysis Division.
“At WDMH, our team wants to make evidence-informed decisions, always asking ‘why’ and ‘how can we do this better’,” explains CEO Cholly Boland. “Then we want to apply that knowledge for better patient care. Research impacts healthcare delivery. In particular, research at WDMH benefits rural healthcare delivery for our local communities.”
The REB is looking for new Board members. Members of the Board are volunteers who have a passion for improving the quality of rural health care. For details, visit https://www.wdmh.on.ca/REBrecruitment.