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By: Lauren Beals

If you were walking through IAHS on Feb. 9, you probably noticed travelling bands of kinesiology students taking selfies on their trips across campus. Ignore your first impressions, as those dedicated students were not skipping class to capture the perfect Instagram moment, but rather documenting their exploration into health and wellness research at McMaster.

McMaster Health Crawl was a one-day event organized by the university to showcase different avenues of locally conducted, health-focused research. Throughout the event, researchers and staff provided guided tours through a selection of six state of the art labs and learning spaces across campus, giving attendees an inside look into how their students learn on a daily basis.

Jennifer Heisz, a professor with the Department of Kinesiology, encouraged her students to attend the event and record their exploits into the world of research. They were joined by other undergraduates, alumni, prospective students and curious members of the community.

Health Crawl was part of the School of Rehabilitation’s Building Healthy Communities Week. Featured researcher and physiotherapist Julie Richardson thinks that the Building Healthy Communities Week is important for future prosperity.

“This [research] has large implications not only for community health but for public health,” she said. “The population is aging substantially; everyone needs mobility … it just doesn’t happen by chance. Sometimes we have to do things to facilitate it”.

Health Crawl was also the fourth event in the larger “Big Ideas Better Cities” initiative, a yearlong series of events aimed at showcasing how McMaster’s research can help communities respond to modern challenges.

But it was not just ground-breaking research on display. Innovative campus facilities played a prominent role in the event, advertising McMaster’s novel approaches to learning. Annette Brown, Program Manager at the Center for Simulation Based Learning, gave attendees a tour of the recently expanded Simulation Lab.

Within the facility, students in the Faculty of Health Sciences learn clinical and communication skills through standardized patient programs, task trainers and re-created healthcare scenarios. The lab features a variety of practice environments including homecare rooms, standardized hospital rooms and a fully functional operating room complete with high fidelity mannequins.

For Brown the advantages of opening the center for tours was clear. “Often [one of the larger benefits] is awareness. If you are not in one of the programs … you may hear of other schools or hospitals that have these centers and wonder if McMaster has one, now you know.”

Photo Credit: Esther Barlow

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