McGill, in association with Lawrence and Frances Bloomberg and Manulife, has announced that Dr. Lora Giangregorio, Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, is the winner of the 2015 Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health.
Dr. Giangregorio is the first woman, and only the second Canadian, to receive the prize in its five-year history. She is being recognized for her clinical research aimed at improving the management of osteoporosis through exercise as well as for her significant outreach efforts in promoting physical activity more broadly.
Her work, with Osteoporosis Canada and researchers in several countries, has led to the development of the “Too Fit To Fracture” exercise and physical activity recommendations for people with osteoporosis, which promote aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening and balance training to slow bone loss and reduce falls and resulting fractures. Most notably, the recommendations have been translated into tools and resources that help patients and health care providers put the research into action.
The $50,000 Bloomberg Manulife Prize was founded in 2011 by McGill alumnus and Toronto-based investment manager Lawrence S. Bloomberg, C.M., O.Ont., MBA‘65 and corporate sponsor Manulife. The annual award is given to a researcher whose work has enhanced our understanding of how physical activity, nutrition or psychosocial factors influence personal health and wellbeing. A jury of distinguished academics from universities and research institutions across North America judge applications for the Prize.
“I am honoured to receive the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health,” says Dr. Giangregorio. “With this award, our team can continue to conduct and promote uptake of research to prevent falls and fractures. I am really excited about the opportunity to share our research, and the work we have done to get the research in the hands of health care providers and those living with osteoporosis.”
As a member of the Scientific Advisory Council for Osteoporosis Canada, Dr. Giangregorio has consulted on or led the creation of numerous educational tools, including collaborating on the development of BoneFit, a two-day workshop for physiotherapists and kinesiologists. She also led the development of a tool for physicians to educate patients, and a booklet and a video series on physical activity for people living with osteoporosis. An important feature of the work was that it was centred on the needs of patients; Dr. Giangregorio and her team consulted people with osteoporosis to understand their concerns about physical activity, and made sure to address them in the recommendations and tools.
“I am delighted that this year, as we mark the fifth anniversary of the Prize, we continue to recognize researchers whose work is having a profound impact on explaining to Canadians the important links between physical activity, healthy living and disease prevention,” says Lawrence Bloomberg. “Dr. Giangregorio is to be applauded for her efforts to transform her research results into easy-to-understand educational tools that benefit us all.”
“The healthy behaviours we choose to adopt today will have a positive outcome on our long-term health and wellness,” says Marianne Harrison, President & CEO, Manulife Canada. “Manulife is proud to support this award that impacts the lives of North Americans through ground-breaking research focused on active health.”
Since its inauguration, the Bloomberg Manulife Prize has gained the endorsement of prominent health organizations including The Canadian Cancer Society, The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, ParticipACTION Canada, The Canadian Diabetes Association, YMCA Canada and, new this year, the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation.
Dr. Giangregorio will accept the prize at a special ceremony at the MaRS Centre in Toronto on Monday February 8, 2016, where she will also take part in a conversation about her research. This will be followed by a moderated discussion on Wednesday, February 10 at McGill University in Montreal to discuss how a multi-component exercise routine can prevent bone loss early in life and protect those living with osteoporosis from harmful falls and fractures.
Dr. Lora Giangregorio is featured in Bloomberg Manulife Prize’s latest eDigest. Read more about her work.