Stroke researcher, Dr Heidi Janssen awarded $25,000 in the NSW Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN) ‘Near Miss’ grant scheme

May 9 2022

Dr Heidi Janssen | Near Miss Grant | HMRI

HMRI health translational researcher, Dr Heidi Janssen has been awarded $25,000 in the NSW Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN) ‘Near Miss’ grant scheme.

Dr Janssen’s grant will support a research program that aims to provide regional and rurally located people who live with stroke, an opportunity to take control of their recovery and return to living their best life.

A key component of the recovery tools being built in this research program is that the people for which these tools are being designed, will be actively involved in developing and evaluating them.

“They’re the experts in what they want and need. We as health professionals and researchers can guide and suggest, but the ultimate decision making must be with them,” states Dr Janssen. “The same philosophy is applied in the use of the tools being developed. This control empowers the person who has had a stroke.”

The research program will see stroke survivors, carers, and health professionals work together to build:

1. A culturally appropriate yarning-based tool to be used by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, their families, and communities.

2. A computer conversational agent, and

3. A community-based model of environmental enrichment where people living with stroke can exercise, socialise and engage in creative-thinking activities in a group format. Carers of people living with stroke have the opportunity to connect and support one another, and even join in in they want.

“People feel motivated to take action and are more likely to live with a greater sense of well-being when they feel competent, connected with or cared for by others,” explains Dr Janssen. “These feelings are strengthened, and they feel empowered, when they have choice over what they do and how they do it.”

The NSW CVRN Near Miss grant scheme invites people who were unsuccessful in Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowships in 2021 to apply funding so to address aspects of their application that if addressed would improve their competitiveness of for grant applications in the future.

About Dr Heidi Janssen

Dr Janssen is a physiotherapist experienced in stroke rehabilitation, exercise prescription and health behaviour change to improve cardiovascular health and well-being after stroke. She is a clinical trialist capable of leading large research teams, designing clinical studies from proof of concept through to determination of effectiveness.

Dr Janssen is a health translational researcher and is one of very few senior allied health clinicians with a doctorate who continues to work in health service with stroke survivors, whilst simultaneously leading health service based clinical trials. Being able to maintain a clinical position whilst researching gives her invaluable insights into the needs of all the important stakeholders in stroke care, the most important of which are the people living with stroke and those that support them to return to life after stroke, their family.