Research Grants

Every year the Drummond Foundation invites investigators working in Canada to apply for grants to support ageing-related research that will improve the quality of life of socially, mentally, or physically disadvantaged older adults, their families, and caregivers. From 1989 to 2020, the Drummond Foundation funded 61 research projects on ageing in Canada.

To be eligible, researchers should be new to the Drummond Foundation (have not yet received a grant from the Drummond Foundation) and be either:

A. an early-career investigator (within 6 years of first appointment in a university or in a university affiliated research institute), or

B. a mid-career or senior investigator clearly making a bridge to a new field.

In March each year, a Request for Applications (RFA) is posted on the Drummond Foundation website and e-mailed to universities and research institutes across Canada.


*Application submissions open on 2021/03/00


The Application process is composed of two phases:

Phase 1:
A Letter of Intent, submitted by the end of April each year. Letters of Intent will be evaluated, and successful Applicants will be notified by the end of June as to their eligibility to submit a Research Proposal.

Phase 2:
A Research Proposal, submitted by a date in early September. Research Proposals will be evaluated by the Drummond Foundation’s Scientific Advisor and a panel of external reviewers. Applications will be judged on their scientific merit (quality of the research approach, originality, feasibility), the potential impact of results, and the innovative character of the project.

The individual Applicant may request a maximum of $25,000 for a one-year period.

To receive a grant from the Drummond Foundation, the Principal Investigator must:

• have a University and/or Research Institute appointment to administer funds via a Canadian university-affiliated account.

• have secured the Ethics Approval Certificate for the research project by October 31st.

The final decision will be confirmed by the Foundation Board of Directors in December and all Applicants will be informed of the decision regarding their proposal by the end of January.

Please direct questions regarding the RFA to:

Recent Research Grant Summaries

2018 to 2020

Faithful to its roots, the Drummond Foundation is committed to providing “relief from suffering and distress”. The Foundation’s support for research on ageing-related issues has allowed investigators across Canada to study a wide gamut of issues affecting the quality of life of older adults and their families.

Subjects for research have included:
• physical exercise for older adults in short-term care
• therapy for anxiety and depression
• the impact of singing on older adults’ mental health
• the health and well-being of caregivers

Summaries of projects that were awarded grants from 2018 to 2020 are below. They were submitted by applicants with their Applications in the second phase of the application process as concise descriptions of their research. They are included to give a sense of the scope of the research projects that have been funded. For a list of all past recipients, see Drummond Research Grant Recipients

L’hospitalisation d’un adulte âgé frêle entraine son lot de conséquences sur la capacité physique et l’autonomie de la personne, affectant passablement sa qualité de vie. Des approches intégratives de réadaptation gériatrique, comme celles offertes dans les unités de courte durée gériatrique (UCDG), ont démontré une tendance vers la réduction des effets de l’hospitalisation sur l’autonomie et des effets positifs sur la satisfaction des soignants et des patients envers les soins. Alors que la réadaptation en physiothérapie fait partie des soins usuels en UCDG, l’ajout d’un programme d’entrainement pourrait contribuer à renverser l’impact de l’hospitalisation sur la perte d’autonomie, améliorant l’expérience et ainsi la qualité de vie des patients. L’objectif principal de cette étude est donc d’évaluer les bénéfices d’un programme d’exercices physiques de groupe sur la qualité de vie des personnes âgées hospitalisées à l’UCDG.

Méthodologie : Cent soixante-quatre patients seront recrutés et randomisés dans un des deux groupes : 1) exercice (EX.: n=82) ou 2) témoin (TEM: n=82). Les patients du groupe EX s’entraineront 5x45-60 min/semaine (exercice aérobie, musculaire et d’équilibre) pendant toute la durée de leur hospitalisation (=25 jours), alors que les patients du groupe TEM recevront les soins usuels. La qualité de vie (questionnaires SF-36 et EQ-5D-5L) et des variables secondaires (indépendance fonctionnelle et capacité physique) seront évaluées avant et après 25 jours d’hospitalisation, ainsi qu’à la sortie de leur séjour (si ˃ 30js). Les caractéristiques de la population seront collectées dans les dossiers médicaux et les variables de contrôle seront évaluées (suppléments alimentaires, risque nutritionnel, durée du séjour, présence de chute et de délirium pendant le séjour). Cette étude permettra d’établir si l’intégration de ce type d’intervention au sein du programme en UCDG est nécessaire pour améliorer la qualité des soins.
The current COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted all of our lives, but the population most at risk are older adults. Canadians over the age of 60 account for 36% of the cases but 95% of the deaths, with 82% of the deaths being linked to supportive living. Older adults with chronic health conditions are especially at risk. Dementia is one of the most common chronic conditions effecting an estimated 1 in every 13 Canadians over the age of 65. In addition to a decline in cognitive function, over 90% of people living with dementia (PLWD) experience responsive behaviours such as apathy, anxiety, aggression and psychosis therefore requiring constant care. Even in “average times” family caregivers (FCGs) for PLWD manage their caregiving duties at the limits of their emotional, physical and financial capacity. As such, it is critical that these FCGs are supported through this unprecedented time to ensure that they are able to continue to care for and protect older adult family members with dementia. Our research team along with our community partners conducted a research study to examine the experiences and outcomes of Calgary area FCGs for PLWD during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This proposed research project is an extension of the phase one pilot work completed this summer. In this second phase of the research, we aim to further examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on FCGs providing care for PLWD across the province of Alberta. We will examine the gaps in essential information and resources that FCGs have experienced during the pandemic and the impact of these gaps on FCGs and the older adults with dementia for whom they provide care. The goal is to generate recommendations for policy makers, public health officials, and caregiving resource agencies that enhance access, efficacy, and supports for FCGs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In partnership with John R. McConnell Foundation:
Broken bones, or fractures, cause pain, difficulty walking around, loss of independence, and even death. The number of fractures increases dramatically with age and one in three women and one in five men will have a fracture in their lifetime. Diabetes also becomes more common with age, and often co-exists with bone loss and fractures in older adults. Despite this, fragile bones remain an under-recognized complication of diabetes in the older adult population. Exercise can prevent muscle and bone loss, improve metabolic health, and is a promising strategy for fall and fracture prevention. Current diabetes guidelines recommend regular exercise to prevent classical; diabetes complications (high blood sugar, high blood pressure) in at-risk populations. However, considerable knowledge gaps exist regarding the impact of exercise on bone health among older adults with diabetes and diabetes-specific tools, resources, and services focused on exercise for fracture prevention are lacking. We will survey adults over 50 years of age with diabetes to learn more about their bone health and exercise information needs and behaviours. We will work with patients and health care providers in endocrinology, internal medicine, geriatrics, kinesiology, and nutrition to develop a bone health and exercise education program for older adults with diabetes. We will consult on their goals, preferences, and barriers for the education program. We will test how usable it is with older adults with diabetes, and get their feedback. We will then apply for funding to do a large study to evaluate if our education program resources and delivery framework works, and to determine the costs associated with implementing it relative to the benefits. Our work will advance knowledge and practice on fracture prevention and management in diabetes, and create a person-centred education program promoting safe and effective exercise to improve bone health in older adults living with diabetes.
Swallowing impairment (dysphagia) is extremely common in older adults living with dementia due to age-related changes in swallowing and other disease-specific impairments. Dysphagia is commonly managed through modifying diet textures rather than engaging in rehabilitative swallowing therapy. This means that countless people with dementia are left to eat pureed foods and drink thickened liquids, which are unpalatable and lead to malnutrition. As the disease progresses, many are transferred to nursing homes. In Canada, speech-language pathologists, who manage dysphagia, are consultants within nursing homes; therefore, decisions surrounding swallowing difficulties are left to dietitians and nurses, and swallowing therapy is non-existent. However, exercise therapy is more commonly available. Rodent models have demonstrated that physical exercise strengthens tongue and vocal-fold musculature, which are critical components of swallowing. This happens when respiratory rate is increased and muscles of the mouth and throat are engaged to keep the airway open. Therefore, it is possible that whole-body physical exercise, which increases rate of respiration, will help to strengthen swallowing-related musculature in older adults with dementia. In this study, older adults (65+) with early-stage dementia will complete a 12-week physical exercise program. The research objectives are to a) confirm that respiratory muscles can be strengthened through physical exercise in humans and b) establish whether tongue muscles can also be strengthened. We predict that both respiratory and tongue muscles will increase in strength as a result of the intervention. This research will inform the design of future trials to determine the most efficacious treatments for swallowing difficulties in people with dementia and will provide novel insights into the importance of physical activity and multidisciplinary approaches to care. Overall, the goal is to develop effective methods of swallowing rehabilitation to allow older adults with dementia to swallow safely for as long as possible.
Variability in the selection of outcome measures in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) contributes to bias and makes it difficult to compare, contrast, and combine results across trials. These issues make it challenging to identify effective, ineffective, and unproven interventions and thereby impede health care decision making, policy making, and public health programming. Core outcome sets (COS) address these problems; they represent a minimum and standard set of outcomes to measure and report in all trials in a clinical area. Outcomes must be meaningful to key stakeholders, including patients and health-care professionals. Development and implementation of COS leads to higher-quality evidence about interventions. In turn, interventions that work are available more quickly to those who need them.

Physical activity (PA) is a strongly recommended intervention for older adults. RCTS of PA interventions for older adults demonstrate positive effects on a variety of outcomes (e.g. falls, cognition, mobility), but there is no standard COS that captures these diverse outcomes. Our long-term goal is to develop and implement COS for RCTs of PA for older adults. In support, the proposed project aims to identify outcome domains (‘what’ to measure) and measurement instruments (‘how’ to measure) that (1) have been used in RCTs of PA for older adults (via rapid review knowledge synthesis) and (2) are deemed important by older adults and their health care professionals (via community consultation). Outputs will be used directly in future consensus generating activities with international stakeholder panels to develop COS.

Guided by international frameworks for COS development, integrated knowledge translation, and patient-oriented research approaches, the proposed project is an essential step toward developing COS for RCTs of PA in older adults. This work will ultimately improve the quality of evidence we have available to support physical, social and mental wellbeing of older adults.
Background: Previous research shows that good oral health is key for general health. Some studies suggest that people with gum disease or missing many teeth are at higher risk of neurological diseases, including early dementia and Alzheimer’s. Claimed reasons include:

(a) Inflammation caused by bacteria around the gums;

(b) Lower stimulus and blood flow in the brain when chewing without teeth.

However, poor mental health seems to align with oral diseases during the aging process. Therefore, we believe that another factor linked to aging may better explain this association. Nerves that secrete a substance called acetylcholine are notably prone to degenerate with aging. Curiously, these same neurons also control the production of saliva, and their death is involved in the development and progression of dementia.

Research Plan: We will determine whether middle-aged and old adults who have dry mouth and other oral health problems also have poorer memory/mental performance. In addition, we will study whether the action of acetylcholine-producing neurons can explain this association. Data will come from 30,000 people examined during the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).

Impact: Our study may show that certain oral health problems point towards a higher risk for cognitive impairment. This information will help dentists to understand their roles in helping to prevent dementia. The study may also identify new ways to prevent or to slow the progress of dementia.
The End-of-life Respiratory distress protocol (RDP) is an “in case” prescription made for every patient at the end-of-life in the event of sudden and severe breathlessness (inability to breathe), while being “conscious”. It is the simultaneous administration of three drugs (sedative, opioid, antimucosal) by nurses for inducing deep sedation and decreasing breathlessness. However, the RDP is not supported by scientific evidence and not used outside the Province of Quebec. Its prevalence, the conditions and the consequences of its use are unknown. However, it may be more frequently used with older adults, in long-term and intensive care. It may also be used for other reasons than breathlessness and for unconscious patients. Given the increased risks of toxicity and overdose among frail older people and that the administration of the RDP is not as rigorously controlled as palliative sedation and medical aid in dying, its use raises serious questions. AIM: To describe the prevalence and the factors contributing to the use of the RDP among older patients and to compare patients across settings who received RDP and other dyspnea-related treatments. A retrospective chart review of n=1000 older patients (65 years +) who died in three different types of settings (hospital, hospice and long-term care) in Quebec City will be conducted. Sociodemographic, medical characteristics, dyspnea treatments, including the RDP, reasons for their use, and survival across settings and groups will be extracted and analyzed. This project directly addresses the Drummond Foundation’s mission of protecting physically and mentally vulnerable older patients and their relatives.

Drummond Research Grant Recipients

1989 - 2020

Since 1989, researchers across Canada have benefited from support for their work aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults. The principal investigators and the titles of their research proposals are listed below.




Dr. Émilie Breton
Faculty of Medicine
Université de Sherbrooke
Améliorer la qualité de vie et le bien-être des patients en unité de courte durée gériatrique : effet de l’implantation d’exercices physiques de groupe en sus des soins de réadaptation

Dr. Gwen McGhan
Faculty of Nursing
University of Calgary
Conducting a Gap Analysis of Family Caregivers’ Needs during a Global Pandemic

Dr. Jenna Gibbs
Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education
McGill University
Identifying and addressing bone health and exercise information needs in older adults with diabetes: A mixed-method study




Dr. Ashwini Namasivayam-MacDonald
Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University
The Effects of Whole-Body Exercise on Swallowing Function in Older Adults with Dementia

Dr. Dawn C. Mackey
Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Simon Fraser University
Outcomes in Physical Activity Trials for Older Adults: Toward a Core Outcome Set




Dr. Raphael Freitas de Souza
Faculty of Dentistry
McGill University
Better Oral Health for a Health Cognition: Investigation of a New Pathway

Dr. Diane Tapp
Laval University
Research Centre – Laval University (CRIUCPQ-UL)
“We gave him / her the protocol”: Retrospective Cohort Study of the use of the End-of-Life Respiratory Distress Protocol (RDP) in Older End-of-Life Patients in the Province of Quebec




Dr. Soham Rej
Research Member of the Lady Davis Institute
Jewish General Hospital
Preventing Cognitive Decline in Older Adults with Depression and Anxiety using Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Dr. Lisa Kakinami
Research Member PERFORM Centre
Concordia University
Diet for Arthritis (DART): Project to assess eating behavior and build a targeted intervention for people with arthritis




Dr. Pascale Tremblay
Université Laval
Centre de Recherche CERVO
Effet protecteur du chant sur la communication, les interactions sociales et le bien-être dans le vieillissement

Dr. Sylvie Lambert
McGill University
Ingram School of Nursing
Older adults with a chronic physical condition and comorbid depression and their family caregivers: Partners in the co-design of a dyadic self-care intervention




Dr. Claudine Gauthier
Concordia University and PERFORM Centre
Vascular Contributions to Improved Cognitive Performance after Cognitive and Aerobic Training




Dr. Rosalie Wang
Dept. of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy
University of Toronto
Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab
Evaluation of an Outpatient Upper Limb Robotic Therapy Program for Older Adult Chronic Stroke Survivors




Dr. Patricia da Cunha Belchior
Faculty of Medicine
McGill University
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy
Home-based Cognitive Intervention to Improve Functional Autonomy in Individuals Diagnosed With Mild Cognitive Impairment

Dr. Avril Mansfield
University of Toronto
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Can Augmented Feedback Facilitate Learning Reactive Balance Control among Older Adults?




Dr. Dawn C. Mackey
Simon Fraser University
Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Healthy Steps: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Exercise to Improve Walking Energetics, Fatigue, and Activity in Older Adults with Mobility Limitation

Dr. Jennifer Campos
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
The Importance of Multisensory Feedback During Driving in Healthy Older Adults




Dr. Debbie Laliberte Rudman
The University of Western Ontario
Older Adults’ Lived Experience of Age-Related Vision Loss and the Vision Rehabilitation Process: Service and Environmental Influences on Participation and Social Inclusion




Dr. Deirdre R. Dawson
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Scientist, Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit
Maintaining Autonomy as we Age: A Strategy Training Approach to Ameliorating the Effects of Age-Related Executive Dysfunction




Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch
University of British Columbia
A critical analysis of the healthcare needs of adults with intellectual disabilities and their families

Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso
Lawson Health Research Institute
Can cognitive enhancers reduce the risk of falls in older people with dementia? An open label study with age Matched controls




Dr. Tracey O’Sullivan
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Ottawa
Enhancing Family Quality of Life Following Stroke: Coping Strategies Utilized by Family Caregivers to Protect their Health and Well-Being

Dr. Ron Postuma
Montreal General Hospital
Caffeine for Excessive Daytime Somnolence in Parkinson’s Disease – Effects on Sleepiness, Motor Manifestations, and the Potential for Neuroprotection




Dr. Krista Lanctôt
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Predictors of Depression among Elderly Patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Dr. Corinne Fischer
St. Michael’s Hospital
Determining the Impact of Dementia and Executive Impairment on Antidepressant Treatment Response in Older Persons




Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen
McMaster University
Medication Management for Older Adults with Dementia




Dr. Lora Giangregorio
McMaster University
Fragility Fracture: The Patient’s Perspective of Osteoporosis Management and Information Needs

Dr. Alain Leroux
Concordia University
L’exercice physique chez les personnes âgées atteintes d’un accident vasculaire cérébral : effets d’un programme d’exercice communautaire de longue durée sur la récupération fonctionnelle et la qualité de vie




Dr. Patricia McKinley
McGill University
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy
The Use of Argentine Tango Dance to Promote Socialization, Enhanced Balance and Mobility, and Cognition in: Elderly in Transition to Frailty

Dr. Anna Byszewski
The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus
The Regional Geriatric Assessment Unit
Dementia Diagnosis Disclosure: A Study of Patient and Caregiver Experience




Dr. J.E. Tranmer
Kingston General Hospital
Gender Differences in Self – Management Capacity, Use of Informal and Formal Support and Health Care Outcomes in Elderly Patients with Heart Failure: A Feasability Study

Dr. Eliane Duarte-Franco
McGill University
Departments of Family Medicine and Oncology
The Value of HPV Testing in Cervical Cancer Screening for Older Women.




Dr. Mary McNally
Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre
The Silent Epidemic of Oral Disease: Evaluating Continuity of Care and Policies for the Oral Health Care Of Seniors.

Dr. Ysabel Provencher
University of Moncton
Classes sociales et représentations de la santé chez les femmes âgées francophones de la région Urbaine De Moncton, Nouveau Brunswick.

Dr. Robin L. Stadnyk
Dalhousie University
Personal Contributions to the Cost of Nursing Home Care: Policy Differences and their Impact on Community-dwelling Spouses.

Dr. Nadine Gagnon
Toronto General Hospital
Psychological and Psychiatric Aspects of Fear of Falling in the Elderly

Dr. Raewyn Bassett
University of British Columbia
Refining and Validating an Outcome Measure: Qualitative Goal Attainment Scaling




Dr. Sandra Samuels
University of Toronto
Institute for Human Development, Life Course & Aging
The Effectiveness and Efficiency of a Structured Adult Education Group Intervention “A Time for Me”

Daniel L. Lai
Faculty of Social Work
The University of Calgary
Research Affiliate, Centre on Aging, University of Victoria
Validation of the Chinese Geriatric Depression Scale for Chinese Seniors in Canada

Dr. Sarah Shidler
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Consideration of Quality of Life of Older Community Dwelling Adults with Cancer in Making Life-Prolonging Treatment Decisions




Dr. Brenda Brouwer
School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Queen’s University
A Randomized Control Trial Evaluating the Effectiveness Of Two Programs in Reducing Fear of Falling and Improving Quality of Life in Community Dwelling Seniors

Dr. Elsie Culham
School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Queen’s University
Biomechanics of Foot Orthotics in People with Medial Compartment Knee Osteoarthritis

Maria PJ Huijbregts BSc PT, MHSc
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Standardisation of the Continuing Care Activity Measure (CCAM)




Dr. Johanne Monette
Lady Davis Institute
Jewish General Hospital
Programme d'interventions communautaires qui visent à optimiser la thérapie pharmacologique des personnes âgées fragiles




Professor Lilian M. Wells
Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto
Study of Secure Gardens in the Care of People with Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Lise R. Talbot, Ph.D.
Centre de recherche du centre hospitalier
Côte-des-Neiges
Approche infirmière systémique familiale

Dr. Benoît Lévesque
Centre de Santé Publique de Québec
Evaluation du Risque Environnemental Dans des Habitations à Loyer Modique (HLM) Susceptible de Causer des Chutes Chez les Personnes Agées

Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou
McMaster University - Department of Medicine
Efficacy of Home-Based Exercise for Improving Quality Of Life and Reducing Risk of Future Fractures Among Elderly Women with Symptomatic Osteoporosis-Related Vertebral Fractures




Dr. Lise R. Talbot, Ph.D.
Centre de recherche du centre hospitalier
Côte-des-Neiges
Evaluation d'interventions infirmière systémiques auprès de familles dont un des membres âgé, a subi un accident vasculaire-cérébral et retourne dans la communauté

Dr. George A. Kuchel
Division of Geriatric Medicine
Montreal General Hospital
Hormonal Contribution to Detrusor Hyperactivity with Impaired Contractility: A Common and Currently Untreatable Cause of Urinary Incontinence in Elderly Women

Dr. Johanne Monette, M.D., M.Sc.
Division of Geriatric Medicine
Sir Mortimer B. Davis - Jewish General Hospital
Incapacités et coûts reliés à l'utilisation des services de la santé

Dr. Zarina Lam
Faculty of Health and Social Studies
The Hong Kong Polytecnic University
Department of Applied Social Studies
Impact of Multi-Disciplinary Case Management Education On Social and Family Care of Chinese Frail Elderly in the Community: Cultural Comparison in Chinese Societies and Canadian Context

Dr. Daphne Nahmiash
The McGill Centre for Studies in Aging
Douglas Hospital
MCSA Professional Home Care / Ambulatory Care Program




Dr. George A. Kuchel
Geriatric Medicine and Internal Medicine
Montreal General Hospital
Pathophysiology and Treatment of Bladder Detrusor Weakness in Urinary Incontinence of Older Women

Dr. Edward Waked

The Development of an Insole Offering Improved Balance and Comfort in the Elderly

Dr. John Richardson
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
Microtubule Dysfunction in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease