New MRU innovation centre focused on aging population

Hub will help shape vibrant and fulfilling future




A new centre at Mount Royal University is bringing together aging adults, faculty, students, innovators, care providers and industry partners to address the unique challenges and opportunities associated with growing older.

With a focus on innovation, research, education, and community engagement informing novel approaches to health-care delivery, the Centre for Health and Innovation in Aging will help shape a future where aging is not only a natural part of life but also a period of vitality and fulfillment.

“The Centre serves as a pivotal hub bridging the gap between health and innovation while championing the representation of older adults in this dynamic field. By offering an interdisciplinary platform for research collaboration, education, and community outreach focused on aging and health innovation, we hope the centre will become a catalyst for holistic understanding and transformative solutions,” said Centre Director Jocelyn Rempel, who is also Chair in Older Adult Health and an associate professor in nursing at MRU.

As digital health grows exponentially, the Centre will be the place on campus that provides students with invaluable exposure to diverse career paths within this expanding field. This initiative aligns with the evolving landscape of healthcare and will nurture a generation of professionals equipped to address the unique challenges and opportunities associated with aging, fostering innovation, and promoting comprehensive well-being for older individuals.

“We are excited about the possibilities presented by the centre and this focus on health and innovation in aging,” said Dr. Stephen Price, PhD, dean of the faculty of Health, Community and Education. “This cross-discipline approach involving community and industry partners will set the centre apart and is aligned with current needs in health care and MRU’s strategic goals.”

Affiliate faculty involved in the Centre include: Gail Crockford, assistant professor in nursing and midwifery; Holly Johnson, assistant professor in nursing and midwifery; Jared Fletcher, associate Professor in health and physical education and Terry Clark, director of the Mount Royal Conservatory.

The Centre will provide an opportunity for multiple disciplines to conduct rigorous research into healthy aging, provide accurate representation of the population and promote standards that are inclusive to an often underrepresented group.

The Centre also places a significant emphasis on fostering relationships with community and industry partners due to the intrinsic value they bring to the initiative.

 Jocelyn Rempel
Jocelyn Rempel is the director of the Centre for Health and Innovation in Aging.

“Community engagement is paramount in the context of initiatives focusing on aging, as older adults are frequently underrepresented in research and other endeavors. These partnerships ensure that the Centre’s efforts are grounded in the real needs and experiences of older people, promoting relevance and practicality in all its initiatives,” Rempel says.

In addition, collaborating with industry partners provides access to cutting-edge technologies, resources, and expertise that can significantly improve the quality of life for aging people. These valuable connections will empower students by offering numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement in the field of aging and health innovation, and pathways to future careers.

“Ultimately, the strong ties with community and industry partners make the Centre more responsive, adaptable, and effective in addressing the complex challenges in this rapidly growing field.”

Centre collaborators include W21C from the University of Calgary; Silvera for Seniors; United Active Living; Verve Living for Seniors; Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners (CALL); Alberta Association of Gerontology; Alberta Gerontological Nursing Association and SPARK Alberta.

The highly successful Intergenerational Speaker Series will continue through the centre, fostering meaningful connections between younger and older adults, and dispelling aging stereotypes. Through engaging speakers, the series promotes lifelong learning, insightful conversations and bridges the gap between generations.

Other highlights and plans for the Centre include:

Impactful industry partnership research

In partnership with Neursantys and Dr. Ryan Peters from the University of Calgary, Rempel has paved the way for older adults to be introduced to a groundbreaking healthcare innovation. The company’s flagship product, NEURVESTA, delivers non-invasive neuroplastic treatment for age-related balance and mobility disruptions and has been shown in clinical pilots to deliver significant enhancements in balance and ambulatory confidence, reducing fall risk for participants between 50 and 90 years of age.This intervention has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of aging adults and allow them to remain independent for longer.

Health Everywhere initiative

Rempel will be involved in two of the research priorities for the Health Everywhere initiative, a hub for digital health excellence that brings together integrated programs, services, leading experts, resources and projects to enable efficient and effective commercialization, spread and scale of eHealth (convergence of digital technologies with health care) and mHealth (mobile technologies for health) technologies provincially, nationally and internationally. MRU will receive a portion of the funding to be distributed over a five year term.

Alberta Innovates

Summer Research Studentship: The Centre for Health and Innovation received funding from Alberta Innovates to administer a brand new Summer Research Studentship program. This program will provide experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students interested in emerging health-related technologies, research and innovation (R&I) during the summer months (May through August).

Follow the centre on Instagram at @mru.AcrossAllAges.

Read more about the faculty of Health, Community and Education.