Category Archives: Sask

Front page

Screen shot of the webpage

It turns out being on the front page of the University website is considered a bigger deal than the local paper – which I found this week. There were WAY more comments about the web article than anything from the Star-Phoenix or Leader-Post!

In the news

Catherine Trask (right) and Xiaoke Zeng (left) use a device to study famers’ exposure to body vibrations. (photo by David Stobbe for the University of Saskatchewan)

My student Xiaoke Zeng and I were in the Saskatoon newspaper to talk about some research results from the Farmers Back Study.  I thought the journalist did a nice job of making the science understandable – let me know if it made sense to you!

Looks like it got picked up by MedXpress and Regina Leader-Post as well.

Catherine Trask (right) and Xiaoke Zeng study farmers’ exposure to body vibrations (photo by David Stobbe). Credit: University of Saskatchewan

Research Report 2016

Team photo after data collection in a swine barn
Team photo after data collection in a swine barn

While it wasn’t an easy year in many arenas, research-wise 2016 went pretty well.  Things have been quiet on this blog because I have been posting most of the research news over on my U of S Lab website. I also started a twitter account, and you don’t need to sign up to read the updates on Twitter or on the ErgoLab homepage.  There were some exciting awards and accomplishments of my students highlighted there.

In 2016 I was lucky enough to get grant funding from WCB Saskatchewan, Heritage Canada, U of S Department of Medicine, CIHR, Mitacs, and WorkSafeBC.  We had a great conference in Toronto for the Canadian Association for Research in Work and Health, and I will spend the next 2 years acting as the president for that organization (planning the 2018 conference now!)

Here are the year’s articles:

  1. Zeng, X., Kociolek AM, Khan MI, Milosavljevic S, Bath B, Trask C. (2016) Whole Body Vibration Exposure Patterns in Canadian Prairie Farmers. Ergonomics p 1-22
  2. Wahlström, J., Bergsten, E., Trask, C., Jackson, J., Forsman, M., Mathiassen, S.E. (2016) Full-shift trunk and upper arm postures and movements among aircraft baggage handlers. Annals of Occupational Hygiene. 60(8): 977-990
  3. King, N., Pickett, W., Hagel, L., Dosman, J., Trask,C., Jansson, I. for the Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort Study Team. (2016) Identifying and mitigating risks for agricultural injury associated with obesity. Injury Prevention. 7(4):220-224
  4. Trask, C., Bath, B., Johnson, P., Teschke, K. (2016) Risk Factors for Low Back Disorders in Saskatchewan Farmers: Building a Foundation for Epidemiological Studies. Journal of Medical Internet Research-Research Protocols. 5(2)
  5. Essien, S., Bath, B., Koehncke, N., Trask, C. (2016) Association between whole body vibration and low back disorder in farmers: a cohort study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 58(6): 212-217
  6. Hagel, L., King, N., Dosman, J. A., Lawson, J., Trask, C., Pickett, W., & Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort Study Team. (2016). Profiling the safety environment on Saskatchewan farms. Safety science, 82, 103-110.

With a few accepted that will be published next year:

  1. Heiden, Garza, Trask, Mathiassen (2016) Predicting directly measured trunk and upper arm postures in paper mill work from administrative data, workers’ ratings and posture observations Accepted for publication in BMC Medical Research Methodology, BMRM-D-16-00190
  2. Zeng, X., Trask C., Kociolek A. Whole-body Vibration Exposure of Occupational Horseback Riding in Agriculture: a Ranching Example. Submitted to: American Journal of Industrial Medicine; 2016; Manuscript ID: AJIM-16-0100.
  3. Trask, C., Rostami, M., Mathiassen, S.E., Heiden, M. (2016) Observer variability in posture assessment from video recordings: the effect of partly visible periods. Accepted for publication in: Applied Ergonomics. Manuscript # JERG-D-16-00133.

U of S also awarded me tenure this year, so now I can tell them what I REALLY think.  🙂



TV! Again


On Thursday I went downtown to the studio again  to speak about the ongoing study Walking away from chronic low back pain, and how walking can help with low back pain. Since farmers may have decreased access to hands-on care, a self-management intervention like walking can be particularly useful to them.
To view the segments, go to the Farmgate media site and pick the episode from October 29, 2016.  My collegue Debra Morgan’s segment starts at 12:20; mine is at 14:30.

Happy Halloween! 

Ironman with with very safe chest and hand lights  (safety points added).  Crap visibility through mask's eyeslits though (safety points deducted)
Ironman with with very safe chest and hand lights (safety points added). Crap visibility through mask’s eyeslits though (safety points deducted)

This statue of a running guys gets dressed up every year. Once it was optimus prime, which was a real favourite.

New place

The much-brighter living room, with Graham fully installed.

As if moving at the beginning of September wasn’t busy enough, we also moved at the beginning of October, upgrading our Saskatoon place.

Graham calls the dining area ‘West-coast corner’

It is a lovely spot, in a very quiet modern building that seems devoid of stoner-neighbs. We are on the 10th floor, which seems quieter, cleaner, and also has a view of the river and the University. When it is dark we can see the Canadian Light Source, like an urban aurora.

View of the kitchen (Taken crooked, to mobilize your neck. You’re welcome.)

I really like the blond hardwood floors and all the windows, the for-real laundry set-up, and the MASSIVE kitchen. Although it is bigger than the last place we have donated and craigslisted a bunch of things so that we still have space and air inside.

There is a main bedroom with en suite and walk-in closet.  Luxurious!
There is a main bedroom with en suite and walk-in closet. Luxurious!

We’ve unpacked everything and set it all up – we even got some plants. Come check it out!

Office/bedroom 2. Space for guests, and you get your own bathroom for coming to visit!


Prairie fuzzer

Richardson Ground Squirrel in front of the train bridge by the South Saskatchewan
Richardson Ground Squirrel in front of the train bridge by the South Saskatchewan
Close up
Close up
Even closer-up - he didn't seem bothered by me!  This is not a major zoom, since it was taken with my phone.
Even closer-up – he didn’t seem bothered by me! This is not a major zoom, since it was taken with my phone.

Wet Summer

Get Toto and go to the cellar!
Get Toto and go to the cellar!

This has been an unusually wet summer in Sask, with lots of thunderstorms, cloud cover, and high humidity. I really like it, thought it has been trouble in some parts of the province where they have had >150mm in a day, causing major flooding and road closures and general chaos. Here I thought Saskatchewan could be a haven for climate refugees, but looks like our weather will also be crazy(ier).

The stormy weather has brought a few funnel clouds, which are like ‘tornado light‘. I took this photo above last weekend at a friend’s.  You can see the start of the dark grey funnel cloud like a cylinder or tail reaching down towards the ground.   Time to kick back and enjoy the show with a drink!

Bear hug!

WHUT?!? I was so surprised and impressed to get this guyon my latte #suckitstarbucks
WHUT?!? I was so surprised and impressed to see this guy on my latte #suckitstarbucks

Sometimes right when you think ‘I need a hug’, one arrives.  This has been a biiiiiiiig work week – Almost 50 hours done before I woke up Friday morning.  Today I had felt I had enough time  to go get a coffee with a friend (to drink in my office, natch).  The latte came with this little bear hug in the cup.  Aw!

A friend joked with me when I got tenure (PS, my tenure and promotion application was accepted after all) that now it was time to coast because now the University is ‘stuck with me!’
However, it has not worked out that way at all.

I applied for a lot of grants, never thinking that they would all get funded. Not all of them did, but more than I expected. This is nothing to complain about, it is a wonderful vote of confidence from the funding agency and a great boost to the productivity of my research program. BUT it is a lot of projects and students and data collection and management… which means not a lot of paddling and yoga and visiting and art and travel and reading (fun stuff).

Jack wasn't dull at all, he was homicidal.
Jack wasn’t dull at all, he was homicidal.

So I feel a little hard-done-by, complicated by the fact that I chose this kind of career (back up job of fitness instructor not off the table) and then chose to have a million projects and students, and also chose to be in my office for 50 hours and not go out paddling this week.
I DID IT TO MYSELF!    …and that’s why it really hurts.

For some people, ‘doing it to yourself’ might preclude complaining, but NOT ME.  Luckily or unluckily, I am not shy or constrained by gender norms to a degree that I can’t have a grump-out in this sea of ivory-tower privilege.  If you want me I’ll be smoking a melancholic cigarette to pass my ennui (just kidding I’ll be reviewing student papers and doing some stats).

Life is chat
Life is chat