Kent State Salem Recognized for Continued Collaboration, Research with Canadian Partners
Four Kent State Salem faculty members spent part of their spring break traveling north to Ontario, Canada, continuing their collaboration with Human Endeavor that began more than two years ago. The highlight of this most recent visit was being recognized by high-ranking community leaders at an international event and meeting with a top political figure.
Human Endeavor is located in Vaughan, Ontario (near Toronto) and was founded in 2004 by Noor Din. Its mission is to improve the health and socio-economic conditions of the community using nontraditional and innovative methods. The collaboration with Kent State Salem began more than two years ago during a conference at which Din met Dr. Mary Lou Ferranto, nursing director at Kent State Salem, and Lorene Martin, associate nursing lecturer at Kent State Salem.
Since then, the parties have continued to work on projects to benefit students and members of the partnering communities, as well as in communities in other parts of the United States, Canada and Haiti.
In March, Kent State Salem was recognized by Human Endeavour and the Punjabi Community Health Services in Ontario during its 13th Annual International Women’s Day. Kent State received the top award, recognizing its “valuable contribution and collaboration for the greater good of the communities across the world.”
Representing Kent State Salem were Ferranto and Martin, along with Janeen Kotsch, associate nursing lecturer; and Dr. Tsung-Hui Tu, associate professor of early childhood technology. Each was also presented with traditional South Asian garments, representing the spirit and colors of the people.
“This was such a surprise and such an honor,” Ferranto noted. “It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip and something we truly cherish. When we see all the good things that are done by these organizations in Canada, we want to mirror their commitment, enthusiasm and results.”
Another highlight of the trip was a meeting with the Hon. Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and Minister of Innovation. During the meeting, the parties discussed the exchange of research, collaboration and innovation between the United States and Canada.
Over the years, Human Endeavor has developed and expanded services to include health and wellness programs, social enterprising, a community transport system, a seniors’ well-being program, green energy and solar panel installations, gardening, environmental programs, training and research.
Human Endeavor is now widely recognized as an innovative leader of providing solutions to social challenges, and has received numerous provincial and national awards in Canada. Its HOPE Project (Healthy Outcomes of Preventive Engagements) received the 2010 Innovation Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ontario Hospital Association for its evidence-based practice through a program for more than 600 South Asian seniors.
Martin and Dr. Rachael Blasiman, assistant professor of psychology at Kent State Salem, also are collaborating with Din on a research project involving computerized games used by nursing home patients.
Din currently uses computerized games with senior citizens, which he provided to Martin and Blasiman so that the games can be “fine-tuned” and modified to fit the criteria of the research project. The research will study the use of computerized games and the potential effect on memory, cognition and depression with elderly patients.
Ferranto and Din are planning another phase of their collaboration that includes possible telemedicine projects with partners in Haiti. Telemedicine uses telecommunication and information technologies to provide clinical healthcare at a distance. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that may not be available in remote, distant and/or rural areas.
For his work with Human Endeavor, Din received the 2012 3M Health Leadership Award, which honors leaders who have a significant impact on the health of their community in Canada. He also was named the City of Vaughan’s Civic Hero in 2007.
Kent State University at Salem was honored for its partnership with Human Endeavor and for sharing its mission of using innovation in health, economic and social solutions for community programs. Pictured (from left) are Baldev Mutta of the Punjabi Community Health Services in Ontario; Dr. Mary Lou Ferranto; Dr. Tsung Hui Tu; Lorene Martin; Janeen Kotsch; Presenter; and Noor Din, CEO of Human Endeavor.
Meeting to discuss collaboration and research were (from left) Noor Din, CEO of Human Endeavor; Sha Meeka, of Human Endeavor; Dr. Tsung Hui Tu; Dr. Mary Lou Ferranto; the Hon. Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and Minister of Innovation; Lorene Martin; Janeen Kotsch; and Sidra Tul Muntaha of Human Endeavor.