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Professor receives highest honour from Gerontological Society

By Costa Maragos Posted: June 8, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Shanthi Johnson shown here at the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition in falls and Aging Research at the U of R. The Centre focuses on epidemiological and intervention research for health promotion and fall prevention among the elderly.
Dr. Shanthi Johnson shown here at the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition in falls and Aging Research at the U of R. The Centre focuses on epidemiological and intervention research for health promotion and fall prevention among the elderly. Photo by Trevor Hopkin - U of R Photography

Dr. Shanthi Johnson has been recognized for her outstanding and continuing work in gerontology.

Johnson has been awarded Fellow status by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the world’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The Gerontological Society of America’s fellowship is that organization’s highest class of membership.

“It is an acknowledgment of her outstanding and continuing work in the field of gerontology,” says James Appleby, Executive Director and CEO of The Gerontological Society of America. “By joining the ranks of distinguished GSA Fellows, Dr. Johnson can now further share her expertise and leadership in her area of research.”

Johnson, a professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies and a research faculty in Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit, is currently the only Canadian with the Fellow status through the Social Research, Policy, and Practice Section of the GSA.

“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to research and leadership at the international level. It is recognition that the research we are conducting at the U of R in promoting healthy aging is making a difference,” says Johnson, who has also been awarded fellow status with The Dietitians of Canada and The American College of Sports Medicine.

Johnson is an internationally recognized leader and researcher in nutrition and physical activity in healthy aging and falls prevention among older adults. She’s given over 300 presentations at various national and international conferences and has several publications in scientific journals including The Lancet. She’s also a reviewer or associate editor for several health, nutrition, exercise sciences and aging journals as well as granting agencies including the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the UK Review Panel on Aging, South Africa’s National Research Foundation and the European Commission.

In 2012 she was appointed to serve on the National Seniors Council, which advices the Government of Canada on aging issues.

“We wish to thank The Gerontological Society of America for this recognition of the critically important research being done by Dr. Johnson here at the U of R,” says Dr. David Malloy, Vice-President (Research) at the U of R. “Given our aging population, Dr. Johnson’s collaborative research is making a positive difference in the lives of seniors in Saskatchewan and elsewhere.”

Johnson is in charge of the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition in falls and Aging Research (CENfAR) at the U of R. The Centre, funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, focuses on epidemiological and intervention research for health promotion and fall prevention among the elderly.

Johnson, in collaboration with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR), recently completed the project called “Saskatchewan Advantage: Improving Functional Capacity and Preventing Falls Among Rural and Urban Seniors.”

The research was a collaboration project between the Health Region, Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Saskatchewan Population Health Evaluation Research Unit at the U of R, and the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at Western University.  

The project delivered an exercise program for seniors who live on their own through the Therapies Department within Home Care at RQHR. The project was deemed a success and Johnson was recognized with an Innovation Award from Innovation Centre in Regina.

“Our population is growing older around the world, and it is incredibly important to examine aging issues from cross-cultural and multidisciplinary perspectives”, says Dr. Johnson.

Johnson will officially be presented with her Fellow certificate and pin at the GSA’s annual scientific meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana in November, 2016.
 
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