Meredith Levine is J-Source’s Health and Medical editor and the recipient of a Tier 1 Canadian Institutes of Health Research Journalism Award. Levine will receive $20,000 to conduct research on vestibular disorders and what they mean for the estimated one million Canadians who suffer from them.

Meredith Levine is J-Source’s Health and Medical editor and the recipient of a Tier 1 Canadian Institutes of Health Research Journalism Award.

The awards are intended to allow journalists to conduct in-depth investigations of health research issues of interest to Canadians. There was over $330,000 given out to 18 recipients in this round of awards.

Levine will receive $20,000 to conduct research on vestibular disorders and what they mean for the estimated one million Canadians who suffer from them. In the severe cases, patients cannot stand or walk. They experience nausea, dizziness and some lose vision or hearing. And according to Levine’s Award proposal, the suicide and attempted suicide rate for those who suffer from vestibular disorders is “alarmingly high.”

A damaged vestibular system is what Sidney Crosby suffers from, though his doctors say he’ll make a full recovery.

Levine will carry out her research for a series titled Dizzy People that will appear in three parts on CBC.ca and will include text, audio, video and graphics.

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It’s also a project that is personal to her. “In 2007 I contracted a virus that wiped out my vestibular-or inner ear-system.  I was incapacitated for a year and a half,” Levine says.

“But my three-part multi-media series for cbc.ca is not about me.  It's about the million other Canadians who live with chronic vestibular disorders.  These disorders are life-threatening because of the high suicide and attempted suicide rates among the many who, unlike me, don't recover.”

According to Levine’s proposal, media coverage of vestibular issues is almost non-existant back to 1980 and that educating the public could save lives.

Check out the full list of journalists who received the CIHR Journalism Awards and their research proposals here.