WATERLOO, Ont. – Dr. Joanne Ho, a leading Canadian clinician and researcher in medication and drug therapy in older adults, has been appointed the Schlegel Chair in Geriatric Pharmacotherapy. Her research is focused on improving prescribing practices and medication use in older adults to enhance quality of life.
The position is a partnership between the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) and the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. Dr. Ho has been a Schlegel Clinical Research Scientist with the RIA for 5 years, and now joins a team of nine other Schlegel Chairs who are leading innovative aging research.
“Dr. Ho is a visionary and her contributions to research and clinical practice on medication safety in older adults have had a tremendous impact on quality of life for many of our oldest citizens,” said Tina Mah, executive director of the RIA. “We are thrilled to partner with McMaster University and establish a Schlegel Chair position in this critically important area.”
Dr. Ho is widely recognized for developing the highly successful, Ontario-wide service called GeriMedRisk. It is a telemedicine service available to clinicians who need specialized support with drug therapy options for their older adult patients, many have multiple conditions and are already taking a number of medications. Research has consistently demonstrated that this new program decreases patient wait times and helps prevent hospitalizations. In 2019, the Ministry of Health granted funding to expand GeriMedRisk to serve the entire province.
In her new role as Schlegel Chair, Dr. Ho plans to address knowledge gaps related to medication use in older adults, including studying safe prescribing practices for older adults and how drug therapies can help prevent osteoporosis-related fractures and improve post-fracture care. She will also research side effects related to medication interactions in residents in long-term care. Her program of research will identify key opportunities to improve practice and ultimately enhance quality of life for older adults.
“I am excited to continue my work with the RIA in this new role as Schlegel Chair,” said Dr. Ho. “I am passionate about helping those whose care needs are complex both through my clinical work and research program. We know research can drive innovation in care practices and I want to ensure all aging Canadians have access to specialized geriatric care in pharmacotherapy.”
Dr. Ho will also explore the education needs of health professionals already practicing in the field of geriatric pharmacotherapy and those in training. By improving education for those who provide this critical support to older adults, they’ll be better able to support the increasingly complex needs of aging Canadians.
In addition to her research portfolio and role with GeriMedRisk, Dr. Ho is an active medical staff member of Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener where she provides inpatient geriatric medicine, internal medicine and clinical pharmacology consultation services.
Dr. Ho’s appointment at the RIA, in partnership with McMaster University, will continue until the end of March 2026.
To learn more about the impact of our research team, please visit www.the-ria.ca.
The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life and care for older adults. The RIA tackles some of the biggest issues facing an aging population by integrating research, education and practice. The RIA develops solutions that make a difference to benefit older adults everywhere.
The RIA supports a world-class research team, including ten Schlegel Research Chairs, three Schlegel Specialists, and over 20 research scientists. The RIA has core partnerships with Schlegel Villages, University of Waterloo and Conestoga College, and collaborates with many other academic institutions and organizations. The RIA is located in Waterloo with unique-in-the-world infrastructure that brings together researchers, students, health professionals, older adults and care partners to learn with and from each other.
Learn more at www.the-ria.ca.