Media Releases

Bloomberg Nursing professor’s Ontario Early Researcher Award supports education of emerging sleep scientists

July 25, 2011

TORONTO, ON — The Ontario Min­istry of Research and Inno­va­tion has pre­sent­ed Bloomberg Nurs­ing pro­fes­sor Robyn Strem­ler with an Ear­ly Researcher Award (ERA), which will help fund the edu­ca­tion of the next gen­er­a­tion of sleep sci­en­tists in the province – a field in which nurs­es are espe­cial­ly under­rep­re­sent­ed.

Strem­ler, a CIHR New Inves­ti­ga­tor, is the prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor for the Sleep TYME (Through­out Your Moth­er­hood Expe­ri­ence) Study, which will pro­vide a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the preva­lence of, and risk fac­tors for, sleep dis­tur­bance in preg­nan­cy. Lit­tle research has exam­ined women’s expe­ri­ences of sleep loss and dis­tur­bance dur­ing this peri­od, but there is evi­dence that poor sleep in preg­nan­cy and after birth increas­es the risk of adverse peri­na­tal out­comes, such as preeclamp­sia, cae­sare­an sec­tion and depres­sion. The infor­ma­tion gath­ered dur­ing the study will aid in the design of pre­ven­tion and screen­ing strate­gies, and guide the devel­op­ment of inter­ven­tions to improve the health of moth­ers and infants.

“It’s excit­ing to be able to con­tribute to the prepa­ra­tion of new sleep researchers,” says Strem­ler. “Know­ing that our work togeth­er will improve our under­stand­ing of the rela­tion­ships between women’s sleep and prob­lems in preg­nan­cy, and lead to ways to improve health for moth­ers and their babies is very encour­ag­ing.”

The high­ly com­pet­i­tive ERA pro­gram is designed to sup­port Ontario’s most promis­ing young researchers build teams to pro­duce world-lead­ing research inno­va­tions. By pro­vid­ing funds to include under­grad­u­ate and PhD stu­dents on research teams, the Min­istry of Research and Inno­va­tion also hopes to improve Ontario’s abil­i­ty to attract and retain the province’s best and bright­est research tal­ent.

Over the five years encom­passed by the award, a num­ber of under­grad­u­ate and doc­tor­al stu­dents will be pro­vid­ed with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to col­lect and analyse sleep data using actig­ra­phy, a non-inva­sive device that mon­i­tors move­ment and objec­tive­ly mea­sures sleep. As one of only a select group of sci­en­tists using actig­ra­phy in Cana­da, Stremler’s exper­tise is often sought by oth­er researchers. In addi­tion, the stu­dents will gain an in-depth under­stand­ing of research study design and con­duct from one of North America’s few nurse tri­al­ists, and par­tic­i­pate in fill­ing a rec­og­nized need for high­ly qual­i­fied sleep researchers. As acknowl­edge­ment of the impor­tance of sleep to over­all health and work­ers’ pro­duc­tiv­i­ty grows, the research expe­ri­ence acquired with Strem­ler will be essen­tial to pro­duc­ing sleep sci­en­tists who can improve the sleep and health of soci­ety.

Through method­olog­i­cal exper­tise in ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als, Stremler’s research pro­gram aims to improve sleep for fam­i­lies and exam­ine the effects of nurs­ing inter­ven­tions on their health. Con­sis­tent with her clin­i­cal expe­ri­ence in mater­nal child health and pae­di­atric sleep, Stremler’s spe­cif­ic areas of research include: sleep for preg­nant women and fam­i­lies with a new­born; sleep for fam­i­lies with an acute­ly or chron­i­cal­ly ill child; and inter­ven­tions to improve peri­na­tal out­comes for women and infants. Strem­ler already devel­oped a behav­iour­al-edu­ca­tion­al inter­ven­tion to improve mater­nal and infant sleep in ear­ly post­par­tum, which led to the design of a large, mul­ti-cen­tre, ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al.

For more infor­ma­tion about the ERA pro­gram, vis­it the Ontario Min­istry of Research and Inno­va­tion web­site.


The Lawrence S. Bloomberg Fac­ul­ty of Nurs­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to ranks among the pre­mier nurs­ing pro­grams in the world in both edu­ca­tion and research. In 2007, ours became the first named fac­ul­ty of nurs­ing in Cana­da. We are com­mit­ted to ensur­ing all the stu­dents in our under­grad­u­ate, mas­ters and PhD pro­grams have the high­est qual­i­ty learn­ing expe­ri­ences. More­over, with a Fac­ul­ty com­prised of the country’s lead­ing nurse researchers and edu­ca­tors, major con­tri­bu­tions to knowl­edge, health pol­i­cy and future prac­tice are pro­duced reg­u­lar­ly.




For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Sarah Gopaul, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Assis­tant
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Fac­ul­ty of Nurs­ing