SPH Assistant Professor Alexander Crizzle (centre) is working with Fabien Agenes (left) and Jean-Christophe Auffray (right) from the Canadian Embassy of France to establish further collaboration between the U of S and the University of Bordeaux in France.

French Connection

An ongoing research project with a French university has yielded opportunities for the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to foster more partnerships with European research institutions.

School of Public Health Assistant Professor Alexander Crizzle is the lead researcher on a national study launched in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux, which tracks causes and rates of common injuries such as falls and driving-related injuries in middle-aged Canadians, in conjunction with risk factors and medical conditions.

The partnership has been so successful that Crizzle is now working with the Canadian Embassy of France to establish further collaboration between the U of S and the University of Bordeaux.

The embassy is funding Crizzle’s visit to France in June 2017 where he will meet with fellow researchers at the University of Bordeaux, and explore potential for partnerships in other departments and French universities.

Crizzle, whose research specializes in gerontology, mobility and fall prevention, is delighted with the relationships and opportunities the project has cultivated.

“This trip will be a fantastic opportunity to meet with researchers in France and showcase the great work happening at the U of S,” he said. “I am hopeful that it will give our research more exposure and encourage many more partnerships between Canadian and European research institutions.”

Working with the University of Bordeaux means that findings from the study can be used to compare injury prevention policies on an international level, and lead to improved programs and services in Canada, particularly for the elderly, Crizzle explained.

The study uses a survey developed at the University of Bordeaux which has tracked injury types and rates in France over the past 25 years, and has been adapted to a Canadian context.

The survey is aimed at people aged 45 and over, and asks a series of questions to determine how everyday health, demographic and lifestyle factors affect injury rates.

One project to stem from the survey is examining the role of common medications including anti-depressants and anti-hypertensives, both singly and in combination with alcohol, in the risk of seniors falling. Developing a plan to compare French and Canadian study data will be a key part of Crizzle’s trip to Bordeaux, as health agencies in Europe have different guidelines on alcohol use with medication.

“Making comparisons in injury prevention policy on an international scale will help inform and improve our own provincial and national policies,” he said. “This will have a significant impact to help care for our elderly population and address Canadians’ everyday needs in this area.”