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January is typically the coldest month in Hamilton and Monday the 21st (also known as “Blue Monday”) did not disappoint – it was the coldest of 2019, so far. A weekend blizzard blanketed the Hamilton region in 40 cm of snow. By Sunday night, thermometers hit a low of -22°C, with a wind chill below -30°C. Monday’s commute would be cold and slow.

Monday’s weather could have persuaded many to stay at home, but the community of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton were undeterred. They know the importance of their work and share a deep connection to the belief of founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton: that it is an honour to serve. Knowing this day’s cold and gloomy reputation, the Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton had planned an outreach event – the appropriately named Winter Warmer.

The Research Institute hosted the Winter Warmer in the main lobby of St. Joe’s Charlton Campus. There, staff and community members were welcomed with a complimentary serving of hot apple cider and an assortment of cookies.

“This is just what I needed this morning, thank-you!” said a man who was visiting a relative at St. Joe’s. Many expressed their gratitude and were happy to learn about the hospital’s research activities while embracing the warmth.

“It’s a great way to share what’s new with St. Joe’s research,” noted a group of hospital staff members, who also recalled the Research Institute’s Midsummer Mixer event from July 2018.

Monday’s Winter Warmer event featured several research coordinators from across the Research Institute’s areas of focus, including the Genitourinary research program and the Father Sean O’Sullivan Research Centre (FSORC). They spoke about ongoing research projects and clinical trials at St. Joe’s.

“People are often surprised to learn about the sheer volume of research that happens within our hospital,” noted Sarah Culgin, a research coordinator with FSORC. “Events like the Winter Warmer help us connect to the community and demonstrate the value of St. Joe’s as an academic, research hospital.”

Many research projects were featured, including the work being done on resolving illness related to C. difficile infection, in-bed cycling for maintaining muscle function during hospital stay, and the guidance work being done for the Surviving Sepsis Campaign. Research coordinators also spoke of the many clinical trials underway, including those from the McMaster Institute of Urology at St. Joe’s.

Research Institute staff also discussed improvements to processes and procedures that are being developed to ensure more equitable access to research for all and greater public awareness of research, including clinical trials.

“Our goal for today’s event was to continue our community and staff outreach, share updates to the research enterprise, and brighten up spirits on this bitter cold Monday morning,” said Laura Garrick, Research Contracts and Events Coordinator for the Research Institute.

The Research Institute of St. Joe’s – Hamilton oversees the work of over 200 researchers and their teams as they carry out clinical, translational, evaluative, and fundamental research to improve diagnostics, care, and treatment for patients in our community and across the globe.

Connect with the Research Institute on Twitter and Instagram (@ResearchStJoes) to stay up-to-date on the latest news and events.



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