Early Career Investigator Award


Nominations closed for 2022 

This award, supported by CIHR – Institute of Cancer Research, honours a new investigator for outstanding contributions to research in the field of psychosocial oncology. Candidates must be within seven years of completing their postgraduate, fellowship or equivalent specialist training (defined as a PhD or MD or equivalent). Please note times of prolonged leave (e.g. medical leave, maternity leave, compassionate leave) should not be counted towards the seven years.

Recipients are distinguished by the level and quality of research output at this early career stage.

This award, supported by CIHR – Institute of Cancer Research, honours a new investigator for outstanding contributions to research in the field of psychosocial oncology. Candidates must be within seven years of completing their postgraduate, fellowship or equivalent specialist training (defined as a PhD or MD or equivalent). Please note times of prolonged leave (e.g. medical leave, maternity leave, compassionate leave) should not be counted towards the seven years.

Recipients are distinguished by the level and quality of research output at this early career stage.

Eligibility

  • The nominee must be within seven years of completing his or her highest level of training (e.g., graduate training, medical or postdoctoral fellowship, or equivalent specialist training).
  • Eligibility is limited to members in good standing of CAPO (for at least one year prior to the nomination).
  • Award recipients must register and attend the annual CAPO conference (in person or virtually) in order to be eligible.

Application Criteria

  • Nominator must be a CAPO Member (Regular, Affiliate, Retired) in good standing.
  • Application for the award will consist of:
    • A confidential letter of nomination from the nominator.
    • One letter of support from other individuals to whom the nominee is known, also specifying why the nominee meets the award description above (supporters need not be CAPO members).
    • Complete curriculum vitae, with details of specific termination dates of degrees and post-graduate training.
    • Statement from the nominee, not to exceed 500 words, highlighting significant research accomplishments in the area of psychosocial oncology.

Application Process

  • Complete nomination packages must be submitted ONLINE to the Chair(s) of the Awards Committee (c/o the CAPO office) by no later than May 6, 2022
    • Nominations and supporting documentation can be submitted in either French or English.
    • The Awards Committee will invite members of the CAPO Board (barring those with real or perceived conflicts of interest) to review the nominations and vote for a recipient of the award. In the event of a tie vote, the last three CAPO past presidents, excluding the immediate past president (who are clear of any conflict of interest) will review the tied nominations and vote amongst themselves to select a winner.
    • If no suitable recipients are nominated, no award will be given.
    • There is no monetary value to this award.

    Past Winners

    • 2021 – Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Bender (ON)
    • 2020 – Dr. Jennifer Bell (ON)
    • 2019 – Dr. Sheila Garland (NL)
    • 2018 – Dr. Sylvie Lambert (QC)
    • 2017 – Dr. Shane Sinclair (AB)
    • 2016 – Dr. Jennifer Brunet (ON)
    • 2015 – Dr. Sophie Lebel (ON)

    2022 Early Career Investigator Award Recipient:

    Dr. Amanda Wurz

    Dr. Amanda Wurz is an Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of the Fraser Valley. Amanda completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in exercise psychology at the University of Calgary (2011, 2014), her doctoral degree in exercise psychology at the University of Ottawa (2019), and a postdoctoral fellowship in implementation science, health behaviour change, and psychosocial oncology at the University of Calgary (2021). She received over 40 fellowships and awards during her graduate and postdoctoral training, including Canadian Institutes of Health Research scholarships and fellowship (masters, doctoral, postdoctoral), a prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (doctoral), and the Franklin Henry Young Scientist Award in Exercise and Health Psychology from the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology.

    Amanda’s program of research seeks to optimize supportive care and inform effective physical activity opportunities to improve quality of life for individuals affected by cancer (and other chronic conditions) across the lifespan. She is recognized internationally for her contributions to the field of pediatric exercise oncology – a field combining pediatric medicine, rehabilitation, physiology, kinesiology, and psychosocial oncology. Amanda disseminates her work via publications (n=48) and presentations (n=79), and has a strong focus on translating knowledge to end-users (n=35 invited presentations; n=10 commentaries). Her research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Strategy for Patient Oriented Research Evidence Alliance, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the University of Calgary, and the University of the Fraser Valley.

    2021 Early Career Investigator Award Recipient:

    Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Bender

    Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Bender is a Scientist in the Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship Program in the Department of Supportive Care at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Dr. Bender received a Ph.D. in social and behavioural health sciences from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto supported by two Canadian Institute for Health Research Strategic Training in Health Research doctoral fellowships. She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in psychosocial oncology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

    Dr. Bender has an innovative program of applied research in digital health, cancer survivorship and implementation science. Her research focuses on designing, implementing and evaluating digital health innovations that leverage peer support to improve the health care experience and outcomes of people living with cancer and their families. Current projects include digital peer navigation and peer health coaching programs, optimization of social media interventions and virtual follow-up care, and the sustainability of innovations in cancer care. Dr. Bender also has a program of research in teaching scholarship, including the development and evaluation of a 3-minute movement break video series to improve student engagement and wellbeing. Her expertise in patient-oriented research, bridging qualitative and quantitative methods, applying social science and technology adoption theory, and user-centred design in partnership with patients, community and industry is distinct. To date, she has received 12 research grants as a principal investigator and her scholarly work has resulted in 46 publications, two book chapters, 71 conference presentations, 22 invited talks, an Innovation Award, two international Best Article Awards, and has been featured on TVO’s The Agenda. Dr. Bender’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Prostate Cancer Canada, Movember, Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Toronto.

    2020 Early Career Investigator Award Recipient:

    Dr. Jennifer Bell

    Dr. Jennifer A.H. Bell is a bioethicist and psychosocial oncology researcher at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada. She is an Assistant Professor (status only) in the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics. Jennifer received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy specializing in bioethics from the University of Toronto, a master’s degree in philosophy and biomedical ethics from McGill University, and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies (bioethics and psychosocial oncology) from the University of British Columbia. She is an alumni of the CIHR Psychosocial Oncology Research Training (PORT), and Ethics of Health Research and Policy Training Programs.

    Jennifer’s program of research addresses urgent ethical issues at the frontier of psychosocial oncology and cancer care through the use of empirical and normative bioethics, critical and feminist methodologies, and qualitative and mixed-methods. Innovative discovery, precision medicine, and breakthrough therapies are fast emerging as sources of hope for people with cancer. These revolutionary advances in cancer care also pose significant ethical issues for professionals and patients, such as equitable access, safeguarding the vulnerable from known and potential harms, especially those facing limited treatment options, as well as the emergence of new ethical dilemmas that often accompany complex medical innovation. Jennifer’s current research addresses ethical issues at the forefront of complex decisions in cancer care, with specific research aims under the themes of novel therapeutics, clinical trials, and medical assistance in dying. Jennifer’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Colorectal Cancer Canada, University of Toronto, and the Global Institute of Psychosocial, Palliative and End-of-Life Care.

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    Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO)

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