RIA's primary research partner is the University of Waterloo, with 4 Schlegel Research Chairs in Geriatric Medicine (George Heckman), Geriatric Pharmacotherapy (Carlos Rojas-Fernandez), Vascular Aging and Brain Health (Rich Hughson) and Nutrition and Aging (Heather Keller).
RIA's primary practice development partner is Conestoga College, with a CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair in Seniors Care for Colleges (Veronique Boscart). The vast majority of the workfore in long-term care is college-trained, including personal support workers, registered practical nurses, registered nurses, physio/occupational therapy assistants, and more. The focus of this partnership is evidence-informed training program development for staff already working in long-term care, and for students in programs that lead to careers working with seniors.
RIA's primary research and development sites include eleven continuum of care homes - Schlegel Villages, where innovations are conceived and tested, and those elements found to be effective are immediately integrated into practice. Learnings from these activities are widely shared via a knowledge transfer strategies that includes integration into education curricula, traditional publications and conference presentations, and more immediately via participation in networks such as the Seniors Health Knolwegde Network (SHKN).
In addition to the primary partnerships previously described, the RIA collaborates with a number of other universities, colleges, research institutes and networks, including:
- Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). RIA is closely aligned with CIFAR's Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being program. In particular, CIFAR researchers from the University of Exeter (England), Drs. Alex and Cath Haslam, along with their CIFAR Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Renate Ysseldyk, are working with the RIA to explore changes in social identity among seniors as they encounter life transitions through different living and care arrangements, and how social identity and social connections impact well-being through these transitions.
- Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team. RIA collaborates with this academic Family Health Team in the development, implementation and evaluation of new approaches to care for seniors (and others), with complex primary care needs. A jointly developed Research, Training and Innovation Centre provides specialized interprofessional clinics including a Memory Clinic, Persistent Pain Clinic, Congestive Heart Failure Clinic, Mobility Clinic and more.
- Conrad Grebel University College | Institute of Spirituality & Aging. RIA collaborates with Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, on this important aspect of aging. Spirituality and Aging’s two-fold purpose is to promote research in the field of spirituality and aging to enhance the well-being of older adults, and to be a resource to students, clergy, chaplains, caregivers, professionals, and the general public, through university classes, public lectures, and workshops. The research and activity is led by Dr. Marianne Mellinger.
- Lawson Health Research Institute at Parkwood Hospital. RIA collaborates closely with the Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care Program as well as the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, two programs within the Lawson Institute.
- Ontario Research Coalition. RIA is one of seven research centres that participate in the Ontario Research Coalition of Research Institutes/Centres on Health and Aging. This coalition aims to increase Ontario's capacity for research and knowledge generation related to health and aging, and to strengthen the interface between Ontario researchers and policy makers working on issues related to health and aging.
- Seniors Health Knowledge Network (SHKN). RIA is a founding member of SHKN (formerly SHRTN), a knowledge exchange network funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care that links caregivers working with seniors in Ontario with researchers and policy makers. SHKN's vision is to be the "place to go" in Ontario for the latest knowledge and best practices about seniors' health and health care.
- Sheridan College. RIA collaborates with the Sheridan Elder Research Centre, whose Director, Pat Spadafora heads up several programs dealing with the creative and performing arts. Dance sessions are held at three of the Schlegel Villages where residents enjoy both the dance steps and research opportunities. RIA/SV is also a major industry partner in a $2.3 Million SERC grant.
- University of Guelph. Through a unique partnership with the University of Guelph, RIA spearheaded the formation of the Agri-food for Healthy Aging (A-HA) research program. A core group of four researchers and a program manager participate in a multi-disciplinary initiative that focuses on realizing innovative food and nutrition strategies to improve quality of life for older adults in Ontario.
- University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). RIA partners with researchers at UOIT interested in exploring the role that technology can play to allow seniors to live independently for as long as possible. RIA also has worked with UOIT on the adaptation of its interprofessional practice curriculum to primary care providers already working in the community. A HealthForce Ontario grant allowed this partnership to develop the program, implement it, provide mentorship support and evaluate its impact.