Professor and holder of the University Research Chair in Human Environmental Physiology
Bureau: 613-562-5800 ext. 4282
Courriel professionnel: gkenny@uOttawa.ca
University Research Chair in Human Environmental Physiology
Faculty of Health Sciences
School of Human Kinetics
This research will focus on examining the thermoregulatory response associated with physical work performed in adverse environments and to establish and validate a thermal stress index that is appropriate to assessing heat stress in individuals working in hot and hostile conditions. Individual factors such as age, physical fitness, obesity, and chronic health disorders (type 2 diabetes), which can modify the physiological responses to heat stress and increase the risk of developing a heat related injury, will be examined.
This research may be used to develop models of heat storage to better predict work time or tolerance in different working environments and establish exposure limits for workers in their occupational environment. Ultimately, this work will lead to the development of preventative measures and guidelines for at-risk populations. This is especially important since the Canadian workforce is rapidly aging and the incidence of obesity and diabetes in Canadians is rising dramatically.
Human Thermoregulation: Understanding Heat Stress in Hostile Environments and At-Risk Populations
Canadian workers frequently operate under extremely hot environmental conditions, often artificially produced due to the nature of the industry. Although, the incidence of reported heat illness per se is low, the risk of heat-related injury is high. Heat stress impairs mental function, motor control and physical performance. The increased physical discomfort associated with elevations in body temperature promote irritability, anger, and other emotional states, which often cause workers to overlook safety procedures or to divert attention during hazardous tasks. It is therefore important to provide an accurate means by which heat stress risk can be estimated.
Over the last 10 years, Dr. Glen Kenny has established himself as a leading authority in the area of human thermoregulation. His work, directed at improving the understanding of the human physiological responses to work performed in adverse environments with a particular emphasis on thermoregulatory function and control, are playing a key role in providing valuable information aimed at improving the health and safety of Canadian workers in hostile environments.
A full professor in the School of Human Kinetics, Dr. Kenny is not only conducting research of interest to industries where improving worker thermal comfort and tolerance in severe environments is pivotal to maintaining productivity, he is also assisting health care professionals to better understand the therapeutic appeal of physical activity in the management of type 2 diabetes. His findings have been used to draft new physical activity guidelines for both the Canadian Diabetes Association and the American Diabetes Association, one more example of how our researchers are making a positive contribution to society.
Kenny's 5-year research plan to exhaustively examine the interactions of temperature regulation, hostile environments, aging, obesity and diabetes promises to have a significant impact on industry, military and civilian communities.
Awards and Accomplishments
- Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2014)
- Career Scientist Award, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 1999-2003
- Award of Recognition, Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada, 2003
- Young Researcher of the Year Award (2000-2001)
- Young Researcher Award, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Sciences, 2001-2002 and 1999-2000
- Has published 154 research articles.