Aging, Community and Health Research Group (ACHRU)

McMaster University

About ACHRU

Scientific Directors

  • Maureen Markle-Reid, RN, PhD
    Associate Professor
    McMaster University School of Nursing, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI)

Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid is a tenured Associate Professor and a Canada Research Chair in Aging, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion Interventions in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She is also an associate member in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI), as well as an assistant researcher, Quebec Interuniversity Nursing Intervention Research Group at McGill University.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McMaster University, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Toronto, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Health Sciences (Nursing) from McMaster. In 2004, Dr. Markle-Reid received a five-year Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for a program of research focused on designing and evaluating nurse-led interventions for frail older home care clients and their family caregivers.

Dr. Markle-Reid has over 10 years of home care and hospital experience in front line provider and managerial positions, and is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of health and economic evaluations of nurse-led interventions. She has conducted extensive research in the areas of home and community care; health promotion; university-community partnerships; health services research; interprofessional collaboration; evidence-informed care; chronic disease prevention and management; family caregivers; and developing and evaluating community-based, nurse-led interventions. She has led several interprofessional teams in studies involving the design, evaluation and translation of new and innovative health promotion interventions to reduce the impact and burden of chronic disease, and reduce inequities in access to appropriate health services for older adults with MCC. Recent studies have focused on fall prevention, stroke rehabilitation, depression, diabetes, and the uptake and spread of research evidence.

Through this research, she has developed important relationships with a wide network of community partners across Canada and abroad. Dr. Markle-Reid also possesses tremendous expertise and experience in knowledge translation and mobilization efforts directed toward decision-makers, practitioners, families, and older adults. Her research has been funded by national (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, Canadian Patient Safety Institute), provincial (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Public Health Ontario), and foundation funding agencies (Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute). Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences in Israel, the Netherlands, Italy, France, the United States, Mexico, and numerous provinces in Canada.

Dr. Markle-Reid currently serves as a member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Population and Public Health Advisory Board, and the best practices and standards working group for the Canadian Stroke Network.

In addition to guest reviewing manuscripts for a wide variety of nursing and aging journals, she was the Social Practice and Policy Editor for the Canadian Journal on Aging from 2011 until the beginning of 2014Dr. Markle-Reid is also involved in mentoring activities through her participation on multiple national (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alzheimer Society of Canada, Kidney Foundation of Canada), provincial (Ontario Stroke Strategy), and local (Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University) grant and personnel committees.

  • Jenny Ploeg, RN, PhD
    Professor
    McMaster University - School of Nursing, Department of Health, Aging and Society

Dr. Jenny Ploeg is a tenured Professor and a graduate faculty member with the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She is also an associate member in the Department of Health, Aging and Society.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science from the University of Toronto. Since 2002, Jenny has held two Career Awards – CIHR and St. Joseph’s Health Care Hamilton Investigator Career Award (2002-2006) and an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Mid-Career Nursing Research Award (2009-2012). These awards provided her the opportunity to devote 75 per cent of her time to research in the field of health services for older adults.

Dr. Ploeg’s research focuses on two key areas: 1) evaluation of health services for high-risk older adults and their family caregivers living in the community; and 2) evaluation of best practice guideline implementation, sustainability and spread. Her research interests also include: elder abuse; evidence-informed practice; health promotion and disease prevention; and qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research.

For five years, Dr. Ploeg co-directed the Community Care Research Centre with Dr. Brian Hutchinson. The research and mentorship structure of the Centre has been recognized as an innovative model of building research and evaluation capacity in community care agencies. In the local community, she was a founding member of the Hamilton Council on Aging Board of Directors, a council which plays a key role in advocating for the health and well being of older adults. She has also been active on the Age Friendly Communities (AFC) Committee, which uses the World Health Organization approach to age-friendly communities. This initiative and others have received the attention of local policy makers as well as academic audiences.

Dr. Ploeg has led studies evaluating a number of health services for older adults, such as preventative primary care outreach and homelessness prevention interventions. These projects, as well as many others, have led to numerous high quality peer-reviewed journal articles and contributions to books. Her research has resulted in 93 peer-reviewed journal articles – 18 as first author, five peer-reviewed contributions to books and over 200 peer-reviewed presentations.

Dr. Ruta Valaitis has a BScN and BA (Psychology) from the University of Windsor, a Masters in Health Sciences (Health Care Practice) from McMaster University, and a PhD from the University of Toronto. In 2007, she was awarded the Dorothy C. Hall endowed Chair in Primary Health Care Nursing and is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Since 2009 she has been the Deputy Director of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre on Primary Care Nursing and Health Human Resources.  She is an Associate Member of the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. She held a joint appointment at the City of Hamilton, Public Health Research, Education, and Development Program for (PHRED; 1993-2007).

Ruta is particularly interested in finding ways to promote health and wellness with special attention to addressing the social determinants of health. Ruta believes that this requires strengthening of the delivery of community health services including public health, primary care and home health care services as well as building stronger linkages between community-based health social services. She is also interested in exploring strategies to overcome the problem of siloed sectors by building stronger partnerships and collaborations between health and community services. This interest is carried through into her research, community service, as well as teaching.

As a nursing educator, Ruta is passionate about engaging students and community partners in community-engaged learning. In 1997, she led the development of a foundational undergraduate community nursing course in partnership with multiple community health and social service agencies as well as schools in Hamilton. This provided opportunities for small groups of undergraduate nursing students to work in a variety of community placements (N2Q02 - Community Assessment, now N3Q03). With McMaster colleagues, she also led the development of a unique interdisciplinary community health course (HSc 3HN3- Partnering with Hamilton Communities for Health). Ruta continues to be involved in both of these courses. 

Ruta worked closely from 2005 to 2011 with a public health sub-committee in the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing to support various research initiatives and develop guidelines for community health nursing education. She currently sits on the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care’s Executive Steering Committee for the Standards Modernization in public health. She is also a faculty member of the Canadian Centre for Advanced Practice Nursing Research at McMaster.