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Portrait of Dr. Norah Vincent.

Dr. Norah Vincent is an expert in the delivery of evidence-based and cost-effective treatments for sleep disorders.

Psychology Month feature: Clinical health psychology to establish first endowed professorship

February 27, 2024 — 

The department of clinical health psychology is currently running a campaign to raise $1.3 million to establish its first endowed professorship.

The professorship will help support cutting-edge research like the work of Dr. Norah Vincent. The professor of clinical health psychology at the Max Rady College of Medicine is an expert in the delivery of evidence-based and cost-effective treatments for sleep disorders.

Vincent, a four-time UM alum, developed an innovative web-based program that has treated thousands of Manitobans with insomnia over the years since it was first launched in 2006. The program, which is offered through Shared Health’s Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at Health Sciences Centre, incorporates cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia and lets patients access the treatment when it’s convenient to them.

“This treatment was one of the first of its kind in North America and Manitoba is the only place where this online aspect of service is offered in the public health system. We’re well known for it,” she said.

Vincent is currently researching an understudied class of sleep disorders called parasomnias, which include sleep terrors, nightmare disorder and sleepwalking. She describes it as the brain being half awake and half asleep at the same time.

Vincent recently completed a randomized control trial where people with parasomnias took part in a virtual treatment with a clinical health psychologist. The treatment included new cognitive techniques that train the brain in how to respond properly when asleep but can be conducted while the patient is awake. Prior to bedtime, this involves preparing the sleep environment and the mind to respond appropriately during sleep, Vincent said.

The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and Vincent said the next step is to move it to an online course so it can be used widely.

“Ultimately, my goal is to have people sleeping better at night and feeling better during the daytime,” she said.

Department of clinical health psychology professors, like Vincent, typically have less than 20 per cent of their time for research. Vincent said it’s often challenging to carve out time to do research between seeing patients, teaching and meetings.

The new professorship will protect up to 50 per cent of a clinical faculty member’s time for research. This would double or triple the base time that faculty in the department might otherwise be able to direct to their research.

“The endowed professorship in clinical health psychology will be a catalyst to advance innovation in clinical care and expand the work in the department for the benefit of Manitobans,” said Dr. Lesley Graff, professor and head of clinical health psychology. “With your support, we can build on that capacity for innovation.”

To make a contribution, visit:

For more information about the endowed professorship in clinical health psychology and to discuss funding opportunities, please contact Rady Faculty donor relations officer Adrienne Domingo at Adrienne [dot] Domingo [at] umanitoba [dot] ca or 204-789-3537.

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