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Jean-Francois Bowden Award Recipients Focus on Improving Lung Health

Posted: 23 April, 2014

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Photo: Jean-Francois Bowden award recipient, Dr. Pat Camp (centre) with award presenters Dr. Jiri Frohlich  (left) and Dr. Scott Lear (right).

Two research projects focusing on lung health have been given a boost thanks to awards from the Healthy Heart Program at St. Paul’s Hospital. Dr. Pat Camp of the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation and graduate student, Michele Schaeffer are the newest Jean-Francois Bowden award recipients.

Dr. Camp is working with a team to develop a new smartphone system for pulmonary rehabilitation. A proven treatment for those with COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease), pulmonary rehabilitation improves physical fitness and quality of life and reduces shortness of breath. However, only two per cent of Canadians with COPD have access to a program in their community. It’s also not only access to a program, but maintaining exercise habits afterwards without guidance and monitoring that can be a challenge.

Dr. Camp’s team has teamed up with Lionsgate Technology to develop and test a smartphone system as a solution. The system will enable patients to safely and effectively exercise in their own community while receiving the same monitoring as hospital-based programs. It could also be potentially adapted for other chronic disease populations such as chronic heart failure. For more information on Dr. Camp’s work visit: http://prrl.rehab.med.ubc.ca/.

Michele Schaeffer received the Graduate Student award for her work to better understand why some people with fibrotic interstitial lung disease (ILD) develop significant dyspnea (shortness of breath), especially when exercising. Dyspnea can be the main cause of crippling distress and is the hallmark symptom of ILD. With new insight into the exercise tolerance in ILD, Schaeffer hopes the study will also help lead to the development of new therapies to help relieve dyspnea in ILD patients.

The awards were established in honour of Jean-Francois Bowden, who completed his post-doctoral fellowship in the early 1990’s investigating lipid metabolism and became the lab manager for the Atherosclerosis Specialty Laboratory. Moving on to make numerous contributions to the way the clinics functioned, Bowden spearheaded the ‘technological revolution’ of the Healthy Heart Program leading to the establishment of the HeartNet network, the SoftHeart database and the Healthy Heart Program website, making the Healthy Heart Program a frontier in technology at St. Paul’s Hospital at the time.