Meet New Faculty Member - Janet Pritchard
"My inspiration for becoming a scientist in the field of aging sciences has come from connections close to my heart. During the time I was deciding to pursue a career in academia, I was fortunate to have quality time with my grandmothers and learn more about their life stories and challenges they overcame that shaped who they were, like immigrating by boat from Italy at the age of 23 to create a new life in Canada. It was over coffee at the Village of Tansley Woods, and during walks along the Burlington waterfront, that I really got to know my grandmothers. During these simple moments, I benefited from their teachings and how they lived their lives, and truly saw their, and other older adults, value in society. I also witnessed the impact of significant events, such as a hip fracture, strokes, and moves to long term care, on their lives and the lives of my family members. This motivated me to learn more about the pathophysiology of osteoporosis and frailty and what things can be done to optimize health as we age to keep older adults in their own homes for as long as possible. During my PhD, I am also grateful for endless cups of French Press Coffee with Dr. Henry Schwarcz, who inspired me to ask difficult questions and feel empowered to seek the answers using interdisciplinary approaches, even in areas outside of my comfort zone.
"With the help and involvement of undergraduate students, I investigate the impact of nutrition and other lifestyle factors influencing sarcopenia and frailty in older adults. I am also interested in the impact of intergenerational learning, community engagement and the factors influencing students' decisions to pursue careers in the aging sciences."
Janet completed a BSc in Human Kinetics from the University of Guelph in 2007 and started in the Masters of Medical Sciences Program at McMaster University with Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou in 2008. After a couple years of working with and learning from Dr. Papaioannou, Janet transitioned into the Ph.D. program and completed her Ph.D. in 2012. During her Ph.D., Janet's research focused on the interaction between Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine, where she worked with an interdisciplinary team to develop an electronic medical record decision support tool for family physicians to use the clinical practice guidelines for osteoporosis. Janet also initiated a study on frailty at the Centre for Healthy Aging at St. Peter's Hospital. When not at work, Janet stays active outdoors with her family, exploring the trails in Hamilton and getting dirty in the garden. Janet also enjoys playing basketball, practicing yoga and cooking.