Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 11(3) May 2008 : 10-12.doi:10.12927/hcq.2008.19848

Awards & Appointments


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Institute for Health Services and Policy Research Announced its Inaugural 2008 Rising Star Award Recipients
Five Canadian graduate students were recognized for their exceptional work in the field of health services and policy research, and honoured with the inaugural 2008 Rising Star Award ($1,000 each). The recipients also received a certificate of excellence and were given the opportunity to present their research at the May 2008 Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) conference.

The CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR) is dedicated to supporting innovative young researchers. By launching the new student award, IHSPR proves its commitment to recognizing and rewarding research and knowledge translation (KT) at all stages along a researcher's career trajectory.

The Rising Stars were selected by a committee of six reviewers and their final decisions were reviewed and approved by IHSPR's assistant and scientific directors. The award is planned to become IHSPR's annual recognition for young scientists' research and knowledge translation efforts. 

Katie Dainty, a PhD student at the Institute of Medical Sciences of the University of Toronto, was recognized for her knowledge translation initiative: "Using a multifaceted KT strategy to improve quality of care in community ICU's: a cluster randomized pragmatic trial." Her project was composed of intensive care units in 15 community hospitals in Ontario. The primary objective was to link these otherwise independent hospitals using multifaceted interventions intended to increase the uptake of clinical best practices that are known to improve patient care.

Randy Fransoo, PhD, a researcher and assistant professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, was recognized for his knowledge translation initiative: "Partnership: the key to KT success."

The knowledge translation work for which Randy has been recognized centres on the important role of partnerships in research based on two projects: "Inequalities in Child Health" and his work with the Need To Know (a 5-year CIHR-funded project involving health services researchers, high-level managers from each regional health authority, and provincial planners from Manitoba Health).

Gillian Hanley, a PhD student of healthcare and epidemiology at the University of British Columbia, was awarded for her research article: "Assessing vertical equity in pharmaceutical financing under income-based prescription drug coverage in British Columbia."

The paper "Distributional consequences of the transition from age-based to income-based prescription drug coverage in British Columbia, Canada," for which Gillian received the IHSPR Rising Star Award, relates to her thesis work and was published in the January 11, 2008 online edition of Health Economics.

Paul Kurdyak, a PhD student of health policy, management and evaluation at the University of Toronto, was recognized for his research article: "The effect of antidepressant warnings on prescribing trends in Ontario, Canada."

The paper, published in the April 2007 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, relates to his interest in studying the intended and unintended effect(s) of policy. 

Sylvia Reitmanova, a PhD student in community health and humanities at Memorial University of Newfoundland was recognized for her knowledge translation initiative: "Mental health needs of St. John's Immigrants: knowledge transfer initiative." 

The research on which Sylvia focused her KT initiatives examined determinants of St. John's immigrants' mental health and well-being, and the barriers they face accessing local mental health services.

Gairdner Awards for Three Canadians
Three Canadian researchers were among those recently awarded the 2008 Gairdner Awards for medical research. Among the recipients are Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, of McGill University, whose work discovered the important mechanisms that control the synthesis of proteins in human cells, Dr. Samuel Weiss, University of Calgary, whose work discovered that the adult brain produces stem cells than can be used to re-grow damaged neural tissue, and Dr. Alan Bernstein, who has made an outstanding contribution to Canadian health research as a scientist, a research institute director and as the inaugural president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Gairdner Awards are meant to recognize outstanding contributions by medical scientists worldwide whose work has significantly improved the quality of life.

2008 Killam Prizes Announced
Two well-known medical researchers were among the five prominent scholars honoured with the 2008 Killam Prizes, Canada's most distinguished annual awards for outstanding career achievements     in engineering, natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and health sciences.

Peter St. George-Hyslop: University of Toronto - Health Sciences
Internationally celebrated for his transformative research into the basic causes and mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases in humans, Dr. St. George-Hyslop was the first to dramatically increase our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. St. George-Hyslop's groundbreaking insights into the basic biology of cells and molecules - including the discovery and characterization of a previously unrecognized form of protein processing critical to both embryonic development and to normal aging - have opened up new avenues of research, laying the groundwork for therapies to treat genetically complex brain diseases. His publication citations alone number 9,000. He has also made significant contributions to the understanding of Parkinson's disease, motor neuron disease, inflammatory bowel disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. 

Michel V. Sefton: University of Toronto - Engineering
An international leader in the area of biomedical engineering, biomaterials and regenerative medicine, University of Toronto Professor Michael Sefton was one of the first to recognize the importance of combining living cells with synthetic substances (polymers) to create artificial organs and tissues - a field now known as tissue engineering.

Dr. Sefton's lab pioneered the use of biocompatible materials in artificial tissues. His seminal work led to the discovery of therapeutic biomaterials (materials with drug-like qualities) that exploit biological responses (e.g., blood vessel formation) to create innovative medical devices. His current groundbreaking research into the creation of modular tissue components seeks to create cardiac muscle to treat heart failure and pancreatic tissue to treat diabetes, among other possible applications.


Michael Smith Foundation Announces New President and CEO
Dr. John R.G. Challis has been appointed to the position of President and CEO at the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, effective July 1, 2008. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Challis received his undergraduate education at the University of Nottingham and PhD from the University of Cambridge. He conducted post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Diego and at Harvard Medical School before returning to the University of Oxford as a research scientist in 1974. He came to Canada in 1976 as a faculty member at McGill University and joined the faculty at the University of Western Ontario two years later. Dr. Challis served as scientific director of the Lawson Research Institute at St. Joseph's Health Centre and as vice-president (research).

He joined the University of Toronto as professor and chair of the department of physiology in 1995. In 2001, he was appointed as the founding scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health. His most recent position was vice-president, research and associate provost at the University of Toronto.

Royal Ottawa Health Care Group Appointment
The Board of Trustees of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (ROHCG) has announced the appointment of its new president and CEO, George Weber, effective April 1, 2008. Since October 1, 2007, Mr. Weber has been interim president and CEO of the ROHCG. Previously, Mr. Weber was the national executive director and CEO for the Canadian Dental Association. Prior to that, he served as secretary general and CEO of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Canadian Red Cross Society. Mr. Weber holds a master's degree in arts and bachelor degree in education from McGill University and he has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business Administration and is a certified association executive.

Hamilton-Toronto Collaboration
A first-of-its-kind healthcare collaboration was recently announced by Hamilton-based St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) and Toronto's University Health Network (UHN) with the appointment of a shared vice-president; Emma Pavlov, senior vice-president of human resources and organizational development at UHN, joined SJHH on April 21, 2008. In this position, Ms. Pavlov will lead the development and implementation of human resources strategies at SJHH including the healthcare organization's recruitment and retention strategies and organizational development initiatives.

Ms. Pavlov has been with the UHN for 10 years. Under Ms. Pavlov's leadership, the UHN has developed a comprehensive human resources program, was recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for five consecutive years and received the OHA's Healthy Hospitals Innovators Award. She will divide her time between the two organizations.

New Brunswick Announces Move to Two Regional Health Authorities
In order to ensure clinical care is delivered to New Brunswickers uniformly and in the most effective and efficient manner possible, New Brunswick has started the transition to two Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) from the previous eight. This structural change will bring about a standardized, efficient provincial approach to healthcare and eliminate the unhealthy and costly competition that has existed between RHAs for limited financial and other resources.

Under the new structure:

  • RHA A will replace RHA 1 Beauséjour (Moncton), RHA 4 (Edmundston), RHA 5 (Campbellton) and RHA 6 (Bathurst). RHA A will be based in Bathurst.

  • RHA B will replace RHA1 South East (Moncton), RHA 2 (Saint John), RHA 3 (Fredericton) and RHA 7 (Miramichi). RHA B will be based in Miramichi.

In order to attract the skill and expertise levels required, RHA board members will be compensated for their service. In addition to having the requisite skills and expertise to govern their health authorities, board composition will take into account the need to balance urban and rural representation, both official language communities and gender. Aldéa Landry of Moncton is the chair of the board of RHA A, while John Laidlaw of Rothesay is the chair of the board of RHA B.

To facilitate a smooth transition, government has appointed the first chief executive officers. Andrée Robichaud, who has served as associate deputy minister of health, was named as chief executive officer of Regional Health Authority A, while Donn Peters, formerly CEO of the South-East Regional Health Authority, is the CEO of RHA B. The CEOs will report directly to their board chairs. Previously, CEOs reported to the deputy minister of health.

In future, boards will have the authority within legislation to employ or terminate the chief executive officer for their RHA, which was a commitment made by the government in its Charter for Change.

The new boards will be effective September 1, 2008. Until then, the minister of health will assume the responsibilities and authority of the RHA boards.

Canadian Red Cross Appoints New Lead
The Canadian Red Cross is pleased to announce Conrad Sauvé as its next secretary general and chief executive officer. Mr. Sauvé replaces Dr. Pierre Duplessis after his departure to Geneva, Switzerland, with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Conrad Sauvé has been general manager of the Canadian Red Cross - Quebec Zone since February 1999. 

Toronto Central LHIN Announces New CEO
The board of directors of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) recently announced the appointment of Matthew Anderson as the new chief executive officer.

In 1998, Mr. Anderson became one of the youngest chief information officers of a Canadian academic health sciences centre, establishing a five-year, $50 million capital plan to move UHN to a completely electronic patient record. As the senior vice-president of performance and technology for UHN, Mr. Anderson has been responsible for performance improvement strategies including supporting clinical relationships outside of UHN. He had operational responsibility for programs such as medical imaging, bio-medical engineering and information systems.

In addition to his work with UHN, Mr. Anderson has served as executive lead for the Toronto-based, 13-organization Shared Information Management Services (SIMS) Partnership (comprised of Bridgepoint Health, Central Community Care Access Centre, COTA Health, North York General Hospital, Providence Healthcare, St. John's Rehab Hospital, St. Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre, Toronto East General Hospital, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, West Park Healthcare Centre and Women's College Hospital). With similar values, these organizations have been identifying, planning and implementing joint information, safety and process improvement initiatives that are contributing to a coordinated and integrated healthcare delivery system.

Special Advisor Named
Peter Walker, the former dean of medicine at the University of Ottawa, has been named a special advisor to York University President Mamdouh Shoukri to generate a comprehensive proposal toward establishing a medical school at York.

The York University Academic Plan 2005−2010 calls for the development of a medical school proposal. Walker will play a lead role in turning the vision articulated in the University's Academic Plan into reality. He brings to the task his experience as a medical educator, as former dean of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and his current participation in the University of Ottawa's Academy for Innovation in Medical Education.

As special advisor on medical education, office of the president, Walker ultimately will propose a viable plan for a medical school, which will be a major contribution towards meeting the ever growing healthcare needs of our expanding and diverse communities. Walker will be working for York University on a consulting basis while continuing as a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

New President for Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Dr. Alain Beaudet has been named president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), effective July 1, 2008. Dr. Beaudet holds a medical degree and a PhD in neuroscience from the Université de Montréal. He did postdoctoral training at the Centre d'études nucléaires in Saclay, France, and the University of Zurich's Brain Research Institute in Switzerland. Returning to Montreal in 1980, he taught in McGill University's Neurology-Neurosurgery and Anatomy-Cell Biology departments, and went on to become assistant director of research at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI). He also served as president of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience from 1995 to 1997. More recently, Dr. Beaudet served as the director of scientific affairs and programs at the Fonds de la recherché en santé du Québec (FRSQ) from 2000 to 2004, and was appointed as president and chief executive officer of the FRSQ in 2004.

New Agency for Health Protection and Promotion
Five years after the SARS outbreak, Ontario has reached a milestone in the overhaul of emergency health planning with the appointment of the founding president and CEO of the new Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, the province's first ever, arm's-length public health agency.

Dr. Vivek Goel − currently vice-president and provost at the University of Toronto − will head the new agency, which is modelled on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new office, located in the MARS Centre, will be named the Sheela Basrur Centre after the former Ontario chief medical officer of health and medical officer of health for the City of Toronto during the SARS outbreak.


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