Dr. Martha Dow (middle) is the director of CHASI, the Community Health and Social Innovation hub. (Greg Laychak, UFV photo)

Turning UFV research into action with Community Health and Social Innovation hub

The University of the Fraser Valley is teaming with community partners on a new project

The University of the Fraser Valley hopes to put research into action with a new Community Health and Social Innovation hub (CHASI).

The CHASI hub is a physical and virtual gathering space designed to connect UFV researchers and students with health and social service professionals. Together, they’ll identify and apply innovations that can be used to improve individual and community health.

“It’s really all about bridging the university with the communities we serve through knowledge mobilization,” said UFV’s Dr. Martha Dow, who will serve as director of the CHASI hub. “We want to collaborate with our partners as we answer the question ‘Given what we know, what should we do?’”

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Partners in the project include the First Nations Health Authority, Fraser Health, and the Divisions of Family Practice of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission, which represents family physicians in those regions. The three Divisions of Family Practice are providing $300,000 to help with the launch, and the CHASI hub is already operational on the UFV Abbotsford campus, where researchers are working with physical distancing in place.

The CHASI hub will draw on the expertise of faculty and students from a variety of disciplines, including nursing, psychology, sociology, kinesiology, economics, and computing sciences.

Current areas of research include the use of robotics and artificial intelligence in addressing social isolation in youth and older adults, fire safety in on-reserve communities, workflow analysis and team-based care in long-term care facilities, data collection on cannabis, and grief and work in a pandemic.

“Our community partners have identified a strong need for a place where researchers can develop evidence-informed, technology-driven interventions that support the social, mental, emotional, physical, and economic well-being of those living in our communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable,” Dow said. “They have entrusted UFV with that special task.”


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