Research

Participate in a Study

Join our study looking at the effects of a cardiac rehab program for children with Congenital Heart Disease!

We are inviting children with Congenital Heart Disease to participate in a 6-month physical activity and health behaviour program intervention.

Participation Eligibility:

  • 7-17 years of age
  • Clinical diagnosis of Congenital Heart Disease

Participation will include:

  • 2 research testing sessions measuring body composition, bone health, heart health, and mental wellness (all non-invasive)
  • 6-month physical activity & mental wellness program designed specifically for children with CHD

 

**We are also recruiting participants to complete the research testing sessions ONLY. Please contact us for more information.

 

Interested in participating? Contact us for more information!

Fill out our contact form below to contact Dana, our research coordinator.

13 + 11 =

Why is Research Important?

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is a leading type of birth defect – and an increasing number of these children are living into adulthood as a result of advances in surgical interventions. However, children with CHD are predisposed to developing modifiable risk factors later in life such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Cardiac rehabilitation programs for adults are well established non-pharmacological treatments for individuals with various cardiac conditions. Yet, there is little research to show the effectiveness and feasibility of a pediatric physical activity and psychological wellness program.

The research team of the Mending Little Hearts Fund is made up of doctors and researchers from the College of Kinesiology, College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and the Department of Psychology at the University of Regina. The research team contributes to and helps facilitate programming at CHAMPS Camp, in addition to numerous research initiatives outside of camp involving children, youth, and adults with CHD.

The Goals of CHAMPS Programming

 

Determine if we can change important health measures (exercise capacity, body composition, blood vessel health, psychological health, nutritional habits, etc.).

Answer the question “Is it feasible to deliver regular year-round congenital heart disease management programming for children and their families?”

Increase the impact of health benefits that CHAMPS can offer for children and adolescents with CHD.

Research Studies & News

CHAMPS 12 – week home based exercise training pilot study

CHAMPS 12 – week home based exercise training pilot study

2018 - CHAMPS 12-week home based exercise training pilot study In 2018, the second large scale research project was launched involving CHAMPS camp. Researchers were interested in how a more frequent chronic disease management program for children with congenital heart...

A pilot health intervention study of children with CHD

A pilot health intervention study of children with CHD

2015 - A pilot health intervention study of children with congenital heart defects: CHAMPS – Children’s Healthy- Heart Activity Monitoring Program in Saskatchewan In 2015, the first research project involving the Mending Little Hearts Fund was launched. Researchers...

Research Team

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Marta Erlandson

Dr. Marta Erlandson, PhD, Assistant Professor,
College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Erlandson joined the faculty of Kinesiology in January 2014 as an Assistant Professor. She obtained her MSc. in 2007 and PhD. in 2010 from the University of Saskatchewan. After finishing her graduate research in Saskatchewan, Dr. Erlandson went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in the Osteoporosis and Women’s Health Program at the University Health Network, University of Toronto in 2013.

Dr. Erlandson’s research focuses on child and adolescent growth and development and the influence physical activity and inactivity has on this process during growth as well as on health outcomes later in life in both typically developing and clinical populations. Dr. Erlandson, along with other members of the research team, first received a Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation grant in 2015 to examine the body composition, cardiovascular and psychological health of children with congenital heart disease and piloted the first summer CHAMPS camp. Since that time, the research team working with the department of Pediatric Cardiology has continued to receive research funding to design chronic disease management programming for children with congenital heart defects in the hopes of decreasing their anxiety around physical activity participation and increasing their confidence and rates of physical activity participation.

Additionally, Dr. Erlandson works to increase physical activity participation in Saskatchewan children thru the development of physical literacy. She hopes that her research will positively impact the health of Saskatchewan children. Dr. Erlandson can be contacted at marta.erlandson@usask.ca

Corey Tomczak

Dr. Corey Tomczak, PhD, Assistant Professor,
College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan

  • Academic Background:
    • Postdoctoral Fellowship - Rehabilitation Medicine (University of Alberta)
      • Ph.D. - Rehabilitation Medicine (University of Alberta)
      • M.Sc. - Kinesiology (University of Regina)
      • B.A - Psychology (Luther College, University of Regina)
  • Research areas: Cardiovascular Physiology, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Heart Failure and Congenital Heart Disease

 

Kristi Wright

Dr. Kristi Wright, PhD, Registered Doctoral Psychologist Professor & Clinical Placement Coordinator
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Regina

Dr. Wright completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University and her predoctoral residency in the Department of Clinical Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. Dr. Wright’s research efforts focuses on exploring the many facets of anxiety in children with health-related concerns and worries (e.g., worries about health and surgery) in typically developing children and those with specialized health needs [e.g., children with CHD and cystic fibrosis (CF)] and developing appropriate assessment methods and patient-informed innovative intervention options for these clinical concerns. Her efforts have included the development of an evidence-based, interactive, Internet-delivered preoperative preparation program (I-PPP) for children undergoing day surgery which will be integrated into preoperative preparation at the newly built Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

In 2018, Dr. Wright was awarded a Patient-Oriented Research Leader Award from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) to fund patient-oriented research designed to facilitate a better understanding of the psychological functioning and needs of children and adolescents with CF and inform the development and delivery of an Internet-delivered mental health prevention program for these youth. She leads a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)-funded state-of-the-art laboratory for innovative research projects designed to understand and improve health and well-being of children. Dr. Wright has published widely in these areas.

 

Tim Bradley

Dr. Tim Bradley, MBChB DCH FRACP,
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from New Zealand, Dr. Bradley obtained his medical degree at the University of Otago, New Zealand in 1990. He completed his Pediatric and Pediatric Cardiology training in 2002, training at Wellington Hospital, New Zealand, the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. He was a Pediatric Cardiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto from 2004 to 2015. He joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2016.

His clinical interests include echocardiography, fetal echocardiography and aortic and vascular diseases. His research is focused on the detection of premature atherosclerosis in at-risk pediatric disease populations and developing a better understanding of aortic wall biomechanics that predispose to aortic disease. His research expertise is in non-invasive assessment of arterial stiffness in children and he is working on the development of a method which will have general clinical applicability to all at-risk pediatric disease populations.

In 2017, Dr. Bradley was awarded a Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Research Grant, along with the rest of the CHAMPS investigators, to help further develop the CHAMPS: Children’s Healthy-Heart and Activity Monitoring Program is Saskatchewan. The aim of the CHAMPS program is to longitudinally assess cardiovascular, metabolic, nutritional, body composition, physical activity levels and psychological health measures in children with congenital heart disease. His focus in this project is to identify predictors of arterial stiffness, a very strong predictor of adult onset cardiovascular diseases, which are being increasingly recognized in children growing up with congenital heart disease.

Charissa Pockett

Dr. Charissa Pockett, MD FRCPC,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from Manitoba, Dr. Pockett obtained her medical degree at the University of Calgary in 2005 and completed her Pediatric training at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary in 2009, including 6 months at the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. She completed her Pediatric Cardiology training at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in 2012. She joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2012. Then in 2014, she completed 1 year of additional Pediatric Interventional Cardiology training at the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. Her clinical interests include interventional cardiology and single ventricle physiology.

Dr. Pockett has been a member of the CHAMPS team since its inception and collaborates on various projects and initiatives the team undertakes. She is currently the Principal investigator for a study entitled “Using Remote Presence Robotic Technology for Pediatric Heart Murmur Assessment: A Pilot Study.” She sits on two Master students committees and works with learners of various levels of training. She is currently co-supervising a Dean’s Project summer student looking into ventricular septal defects and their association with hemolytic anemia.

Dr. Pockett is an avid traveler whose adventures have included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, gorilla trekking in the jungles of Uganda, scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and snorkeling in the Galapagos islands. She enjoys photography,  running and most of all, spending time with her family.

Scott Pharis

Dr. Scott Pharis, MD BSc FRCPC,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Originally from Saskatchewan, Dr. Pharis obtained his medical degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 2003 and completed his Pediatric training at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2007. He completed his Pediatric Cardiology training and 1 year of additional Pediatric Interventional Cardiology training at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in 2011. He joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2011. His clinical interests include interventional cardiology.

Gitanjali Mansukhani

Dr. Gitanjali Mansukhani, MBBS FRACP,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Mansukhani obtained her medical degree at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur, India in 2001. She completed her Pediatric training at University of Mumbai in 2007. She subsequently moved to Australia where she trained further in Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology in Melbourne and Perth. She completed her Pediatric Cardiology training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2015. She also trained in Pediatric Cardiology at Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton for 3.5 years and completed fellowships in Pediatric Heart transplant and heart failure and Advanced Pediatric Echocardiography in 2017.

She joined the staff as a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in Feb 2018. Her clinical interests include echocardiography, fetal echocardiography and heart failure and transplant.

Dr. Mansukhani’s research is focused on Pediatric Cardiomyopathy, Single ventricle and Pediatric Heart Transplant. Her previous projects have been focused on pulse oximetry screening for congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension in single ventricle patients.

She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. In her free time, she loves listening to music and watching movies. She loves Netflix!

Erin Barbour-Tuck

Erin Barbour-Tuck, BSc (Kin) PhD,
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pediatric Cardiovascular Research, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Erin is an experienced health researcher with an interest in understanding life-long health trajectories, and factors in childhood and adolescents that contribute to chronic diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes that occur later in life. With a background in Kinesiology, Erin is interested in identifying the ways that factors such as physical activity, healthy diet, and family and community connectedness and support contribute to optimal health in children from different sociocultural backgrounds and with differing underlying conditions.

Erin’s passion for this area of research stems from her extended family’s own experiences with these diseases, and her desire to see her own three young children and their peers grow up with a better chance at lifelong health.

Barbara Colvin

Barbara Colvin, BSHEc MA,
Research facilitator, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Barbara provides research facilitation support for Dr. Tim Bradley. She has an extensive background in research administration and research ethics. She started her career as a clinical dietitian and went on to do a Masters in health policy. She also teaches professional ethics and in her spare time supports ecology and waste reduction projects in her hometown of Saskatoon.

Dr. T. Dylan Olver

Dr. T. Dylan Olver, PhD, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences, WCVM, University of Saskatchewan

Academic Background:

Postdoctoral Fellowship – University of Missouri (focus: cardiogenic dementia). Graduate Training – Western University (focus: blood flow control in nervous tissue).

Research areas: Heart-Brain connection, Cardiovascular and Exercise Physiology.

 

Research funding provided by: