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Lawson proves real people drive research

LONDON, ON Research has an enormous impact on our communities, leading to innovations in disease, management, prevention, and treatment. But rarely does a community have so great an impact on research. Lawson Health Research Institute is pleased to celebrate the launch of a new program driven by the community it serves.

In 2010, Lawson's Dr. Robert Petrella and his team took part in an international study to reduce the risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Based in Huron County, their project proposed exercise as medicine, using lifestyle changes and self-monitoring to improve health behaviors, personal motivation, and disease-associated risks. Residents of Huron County are known to have higher than average rates of cardiovascular disease, and were thrilled to become partners in positive change. As the study wrapped up, they advocated to turn the research into reality.

Through evidence-based research and a series of community consultations, Lawson's Dr. Robert Petrella and his team have designed a new series of prescriptive exercise studies. In partnership with local family health teams, and community partners, they will offer a series of training modules based on exercise and healthy lifestyle. The HealtheSteps program involves tailored exercise prescription to promote healthy lifestyles.

This program will be supported by an interactive web site, group coaching and goal setting, personalized exercise prescriptions, and on-line tracking tools.

Since access to care can be limited to rural residents, Dr. Petrella and his team are especially thrilled to support this community-based service. Moving forward, they hope this program will serve as a model for other rural communities across Canada.

"We are really striving to provide communities with support and resources based on best evidence to enable the adoption of healthy lifestyles regardless of where people live," Dr. Petrella says. "It's incredibly gratifying to see our research making a difference where the community is now an active partner."


Contact: Sonya Gilpin
519-685-8500 x75852
Lawson Health Research Institute

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