Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 12(3) May 2009 : 12-16.doi:10.12927/hcq.2013.20871

Awards and Appointments


New Deputy Minister of Health

In March, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Glenda Yeates, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Institute for Health Information, would become Associate Deputy Minister of Health, effective May 1, 2009. Ms. Yeates had been President and Chief Executive Officer of the CIHI since August 2004. Prior to that, she served in the Saskatchewan government as Deputy Minister of from 1999-2004, Deputy Minister of Social Services from 1997-1999 and Associate Deputy Minister of Health from 1990 to 1997.

Dr. Arlene King Named Ontario's New Medical Officer of Health

Ontario has announced the appointment of Dr. Arlene King as the province's new chief medical officer of health, effective June 15, 2009. Dr. King is currently director general of the Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Infectious Diseases at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). She has been working in the field of public health since 1992 and has held various positions in communicable disease control at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, and served as a medical officer of health in Burnaby and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Dr. King is an international expert in immunization, infectious diseases and pandemic preparedness. She has been with Health Canada/PHAC since 1999, and prior to her role as director general of the Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Infections Diseases, Dr. King was director general of pandemic preparedness at PHAC, from March 2006 to December 2007.

Ministry Appoints Healthy Work Environments Champions

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has appointed two healthy work environments "champions" - Rob Devitt and Dr. Heather Laschinger - who will move forward with Ontario's goal of making this province the "employer of choice" for healthcare professionals.

Rob Devitt is the president and CEO of the Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH). Prior to joining TEGH in 2004, Devitt was the president and CEO of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, where he led the integration and merger of two separate hospitals and secured government approval for the development of a new replacement hospital.

Dr. Laschinger is distinguished university professor and associate director of nursing research at the University of Western Ontario, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, in London, Ontario. In 2007, Dr. Laschinger received the Distinguished University Professor Award, Western's highest recognition for a faculty member, in honour of sustained excellence in teaching, research and service during an outstanding scholarly career at the university. Since 1992, Dr. Laschinger has been principal investigator of a program of research designed to investigate the impact of nursing work environments on nurses' empowerment for professional practice, their health and their well-being.

Ontario Appoints Graham Scott as Supervisor for Quinte Healthcare Corporation

Ontario has appointed Graham Scott as supervisor for Quinte Healthcare Corporation (QHC) to address governance and financial issues. Scott, a former deputy minister of health, will draw on his experience to oversee the implementation of recommendations from a 2006 assessment on governance and related matters at QHC. He will also be following up on steps recommended in a 2008 review of a system performance report by Ken Tremblay.

Fraser Health Welcomes New Board Member

Fraser Health is pleased to announce that Arvinder Singh Bubber was appointed to its board of directors by the province of British Columbia effective March 21, 2009. Bubber replaced Arthur Tymos, who completed his term of office. Bubber spent 15 years working with various levels of government in Canada before relocating to Vancouver in 1991. He was recently appointed as first chancellor for Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is a chartered accountant operating his own practice, A.S. Arvinder & Associates. In his role as a new board member, Bubber will support Fraser Health as it continues to pursue innovative, effective and sustainable strategies to improve the health of the population and the quality of life of the people it serves.

Dr. Anthony Phillips Appointed Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction

Dr. Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), along with the CIHR Governing Council, announced the appointment of Dr. Anthony Phillips as incoming scientific director of CIHR's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (CIHR-INMHA). This appointment was effective April 1, 2009. Dr. Phillips is currently a professor of psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the founding director of the UBC Institute of Mental Health and a senior investigator with the UBC/Vancouver Coastal Health Brain Research Centre. He holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Western Ontario (London), is a post-doctoral fellow from the California Institute of Technology and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 1986. His areas of research interest include motivation and emotion, learning and memory, drug addiction and mental illness, with a specific emphasis on clinical implications. He is the recipient of many awards including the Heinz Lehmann Award (2009) of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Donald Hebb Award of the Canadian Psychological Association (1995).

Dr. Phillips is a former member of the board of directors and scientific advisory board of Neuroscience Canada and the scientific advisory board of the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research. He is also a councillor of the Society for Neuroscience and the former chair of the CIHR-INMHA Institute Advisory Board (2001-2007).

The Scarborough Hospital Announces New Vice-President of Professional Practice and Chief Nursing Executive

Joy Richards has accepted the position of vice-president of professional practice and chief nursing executive at the Scarborough Hospital. Richards was previously chief nursing executive at Toronto's Baycrest Centre.

New Appointments to Saskatchewan Board of Health Quality Council

Don Hoium, director of education for the Regina Public School Division, and Maura Davies, president and CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region, have been appointed to the Board of Saskatchewan's Health Quality Council. The appointments by the province fill vacancies left by Dan Florizone, who is now deputy minister of health, and John Conway, who has moved out of province.

Don Hoium has been at the helm of Regina Public Schools since 2007. Before that time, he was the division's superintendant of School Administrative Services. He has extensive experience designing and implementing improvement and accountability programs in education. As an executive director at Saskatchewan Learning, Hoium oversaw the provincial education indicators program and the development of the Continuous Improvement Framework, the sector's accountability system.

Prior to coming to Saskatchewan, Maura Davies was vice-president of planning and performance for Capital Health in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She holds bachelor degrees in science and education and a master's degree in health services administration. Davies is a fellow of the Canadian College of Health Service Executives, a surveyor for Accreditation Canada and a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. She was chosen as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network of Canada in 2008.

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital Welcomes New President and CEO

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital Board of Governors Chair Peter Vankessel announced that the board has selected Eric Vandewall as the incoming president and CEO. Vandewall will assume his new role on June 15, 2009.

Vandewall has worked for eight years at Trillium Health Centre, which has medical sites in Mississauga and Etobicoke. He was a senior vice-president there and assumed the acting CEO's position from July to December 2008. He grew up in Mississauga and has lived in Burlington for eight years.

Vandewall has spent time in the private sector at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, as director for the outcomes group, commercial operations. He has also served with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as director of the health reform implementation team.

He has a master's degree in public administration, health policy, from Queen's University in Kingston.

New President of the Québec Medical Association

Dr. Jean-François Lajoie was elected president of the Québec Medical Association during activities accompanying the organization's annual meeting. Dr. Lajoie is an internist and clinical professor at Université de Sherbrooke, and his main focus during his two-year mandate will be to highlight the importance of family medicine.

St. Michael's Hospital Appoints Dr. Robert Howard as President and CEO

The Board of St. Michael's Hospital announced the appointment of Dr. Robert Howard as president and CEO, effective April 27, 2009. Jeff Lozon is transition advisor to the president until June 1.

Dr. Howard has held the position of executive vice-president of programs and chief medical officer since 1998. During this time, he has served as acting CEO on numerous occasions and also sees patients one day a week. Prior to his appointment in 1998, Dr. Howard was medical director of the Heart Program (1994-1998) and acting chief for the Cardiology Division (1993-1994). He joined St. Michael's Hospital in 1982 as a staff cardiologist, with a special interest in echocardiography.

Dr. Howard is an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. In 1989, he became director of the University of Toronto training program in cardiology.

Ontario Health Quality Council Welcomes New Board Chair

Lyn McLeod is the new chair of the Ontario Quality Health Council (OHQC), an independent agency that reports to Ontarians on the quality of their health system and ways to improve it. McLeod has been a member of the OHQC's board of directors since its inception in September 2005. She is also Ontario's representative on the Health Council of Canada. McLeod has served in public office locally and provincially for 33 years. In the Ontario legislature, she served as minister of colleges and universities, minister of natural resources, minister of energy and leader of the opposition.


Manitoba Client Registry Receives Project of the Year Award

The provincial Client Registry (CR) project was awarded second place in the Project Management Institute 2009 Project of the Year Awards on February 10. The awards are handed out annually and recognize Manitoba projects that demonstrate a high level of project-management principles.

The CR is a joint effort of Manitoba eHealth and Manitoba Health and Healthy Living, supported by a consortium of partners including Canada Health Infoway, Sierra Systems, InfoMagnetics Technologies Corporation and EDS (Electronic Data Systems). CR stores and links demographic and selected personal information such as a client's name, address, date of birth and medical record number to identify individuals across healthcare facilities. This initiative is the first health information system project to involve all 11 Manitoba regional health authorities and CancerCare Manitoba.

With the CR in place, there has been a significant reduction of repeated information with approximately 80,000 duplicate charts having been merged. Identification from the CR will support the ability to link health records from various locations and sources without patients having to provide personal information at each site where they are treated.

CFI Awards More Than $1.1 Million to McGill in Support of Seven Research Projects

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has announced that it has awarded $1,147,175 to McGill University to support seven research projects in areas as diverse as hybrid nanostructures, photonic systems, chronic pain and cancer, among others. These projects are led by Drs. Amy Blum (chemistry), Russell Jones (physiology), Maia Kokoeva (medicine), Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur (electrical and computer engineering), Brent Richards (medicine), Petra Schweinhardt (dentistry; neurology and neurosurgery) and Kai-Florian Storch (psychiatry).

CFI continues to support cutting-edge research infrastructure that helps stimulate various sectors of our economy associated with such capital projects. It is estimated that every dollar invested directly in research yields more than seven dollars in economic benefits, including spinoff jobs.

CFI announced a total of $26,712,283 in new funds to support 117 projects at 29 institutions across Canada. The investment was approved by the CFI's Board of Directors in March, following a rigorous merit-review process. A total of $20,559,448 was awarded under the Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides infrastructure support to Canadian institutions so that they can attract and retain the very best of today and tomorrow's leading researchers at a time of intense international competition for knowledge workers. The remaining $6,152,835 was awarded under the Infrastructure Operating Fund, a complementary program that assists research institutions with the incremental operating and maintenance costs associated with new infrastructure projects.

Renowned Canadian Genomic Scientist Wins Prestigious Friesen International Prize in Health Research

Internationally renowned Canadian physician Sir John Bell, Regius professor of medicine, Oxford University, and president of the United Kingdom's Academy of Medical Sciences, was named the 2009 winner of the Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research. His research led to the characterization of genetic susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, particularly type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. This work also helped in the mapping of genes involved in the recognition of antigens that prompt undesirable immune responses.

The prize, established by the Friends of Canadian Institutes of Health Research in collaboration with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and CBC Radio, recognizes exceptional innovation by a visionary health leader of international stature. Dr. Bell will receive the prize and deliver a public lecture on September 22, 2009, in Ottawa.

Dr. Bell completed his undergraduate education at the University of Alberta and proceeded to Oxford University to study medicine as a Rhodes Scholar. He subsequently went to Stanford University, pursuing his interest in immunology and genetics.

Dr. Bell has been extensively involved in the development of genetics and genomics programs in patient-related research across the United Kingdom and elsewhere. He continues to be a prescient force in the search for more personalized medicine that will shape the future of disease prevention and healthcare. He is the founder of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics that emerged as a leader in genome-wide association studies. These studies are based on large population samples and high throughput genotyping to identify the combinations of genetic variants that impart susceptibility for common chronic diseases.

Twenty-Three Community Groups Receive Provincial Wellness Grants

The provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador is continuing to invest in the health and well-being of its citizens through the provincial Wellness Grants Program. This year, 23 organizations and groups received a total of $322,000 in funding.

The Honourable Ross Wiseman, minister of health and community services, presented one of those organizations, the St. John's Women's Centre, with a $25,000 wellness grant for Nurturing Health and Wellness, a joint project involving the Namaste Program for Women.

The Wellness Grants Program encourages and supports community groups and organizations to address the priority areas of the Provincial Wellness Plan, which include healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco control, injury prevention, mental health promotion, environmental health, child and youth development and health protection.

In total, 113 proposals were submitted. Projects were selected from each of the nine rural secretariat regions to ensure the program benefits the broadest number of people across the province. The awarded grants range from $3,000 to $30,000, depending on the size and scope of the project. This is the fourth round of grants offered to community groups through the Wellness Grants Program. Since April 2006, the provincial government has allocated nearly $2 million in community wellness grants.

The provincial government invests $3.7 million annually to promote wellness through a number of initiatives such as Healthy Students, Healthy Schools; Tobacco Free Recreation and Sports; and Seniors Fall Prevention.

Five New Inductees to Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame recently hosted the 11th Induction Ceremony in Montreal to pay tribute to five extraordinary individuals who have earned a place in the annals of Canadian medical history. The new Hall of Fame laureates - Drs. Sylvia Fedoruk, Tak Wah Mak, Ronald Melzack, Charles Tator and Mladen Vranic - join the previous 71 men and women whose legacies are forever told through the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Established in 1994 and located in London, Ontario, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is a national charitable organization serving as a tribute to Canadian men and women who have forever changed the world's healthcare landscape.

Dr. Sylvia O. Fedoruk, OC

Born in Canora, Saskatchewan, of Ukrainian immigrants, Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk is one of Canada's foremost medical biophysicists and the only woman who was conducting medical-physics research in Canada in the 1950s. Her groundbreaking achievements have earned her worldwide recognition, bringing honour to the University of Saskatchewan, her home province and Canada as a whole.

Working with Dr. Harold E. Johns, Dr. Fedoruk, as the chief medical physicist for the Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation, was one of four scientists involved in the development of one of the first nuclear scanning machines and the cobalt 60 therapy unit (the "Cobalt Bomb"), which pioneered the curative treatment of cancer using high-intensity radioactive cobalt in humans. The world's first non-commercial cobalt-60 therapy unit went into operation at the University of Saskatchewan in 1951 - the same year Dr. Fedoruk submitted her thesis in physics. Within 10 years, cobalt radiation had become the standard for radiation therapists worldwide, and it was estimated that by the end of the century, it had helped more than 70 million people.

Dr. Tak Wah Mak, OC

Born in southern China, Dr. Tak Wah Mak's brilliant career as a leading world-renowned Canadian scientist has had a major impact on public health around the world. His legacy includes a series of critical discoveries in fields as diverse as immunology, signal transduction and cancer biology.

In 1984, Dr. Mak solved one of the toughest problems in immunology - the structure of the T cell receptor for antigens. Until then, the nature of its antigen receptor had been unknown. In fact, the principal idea was that the T cell receptor was some unusual form of antibody. Dr. Mak, through beautiful molecular approaches, discovered that T cells actually use an entirely different set of genes for antigen recognition. He showed that the T cell receptor for antigen was, in many ways, analogous in design to antibodies, yet totally different in genetic origin and sequence. It is impossible to understate the importance and impact of this seminal discovery on all fields of immunology.

Dr. Ronald Melzack, OC

Born in Montreal, Dr. Ronald Melzack has revolutionized the study and treatment of pain. His pioneering theories in pain mechanisms and pain control, spanning over a half a century, have had a major impact on every field of medicine that deals with patients who suffer pain.

A leader and visionary, Dr. Melzack has made four major contributions in the field of pain. With the support of Dr. Joseph Stratford, Dr. Melzack co-founded the first pain clinic in Canada at McGill, where he served as research director from 1974 to 2000. The clinic became known as the McGill-Montreal General Hospital Pain Centre and has grown to be one of the best organized centres for pain treatment in the world.

Dr. Charles H. Tator, CM

Since the early 1970s, Dr. Charles Tator has had a resounding impact on spinal cord injury research, prevention and treatment, and on training our next generation of leading surgical scientists. An eminent scientist, neurosurgeon, professor and administrator, his laboratory was the first in Canada to study acute spinal cord injury from a basic science perspective.

Dr. Tator's research transformed our world's understanding of spinal cord injury. He developed one of the first experimental models of spinal cord injury in small laboratory animals in 1978. He showed that post-traumatic ischemia is a major secondary injury mechanism. He invented the inclined plane technique of functional assessment. Dr. Tator was one of the first to recognize the proliferation of endogenous stem cells in the injured adult mammalian spinal cord, and to assess the therapeutic value of transplantation of adult spinal cord-derived stem cells after injury. He developed the first acute spinal cord injury unit in Canada, and he is known for the introduction of halo vests for treatment.

Dr. Mladen Vranic

In 1963, Croatian-born Dr. Mladen Vranic was invited to come to Canada by Dr. Charles H. Best, the co-discoverer of insulin, to be his final post-doctoral fellow. This sojourn marked the beginning of Dr. Vranic's remarkable career as a leading advocate for the advancement of diabetes research, and teacher of innumerable renowned scientists and academic leaders.

The first of Dr. Vranic's major scientific contributions was the development of a precise tracer method that, in combination with glucose clamps, measures precisely steady and non-steady state glucose turnover. Using this technique, he participated in the first clinical studies in insulin resistance and hypertriglyceridemia. Dr. Vranic pioneered physiological and molecular mechanisms whereby exercise improves, or prevents, the onset of type 2 diabetes. He demonstrated a new mechanism whereby the muscle is protected against hyperglycemia and, therefore, against diabetic complications. This early work led to the first international symposium on exercise and diabetes, which continues to have a major impact.

Patient Safety Champions Recognized With Health Services Research Advancement Award

The Canadian Health Services Research Foundation recently presented the 10th annual Health Services Research Advancement Award to two outstanding individuals with an unwavering commitment to improving patient safety in Canada:

  • Dr. G. Ross Baker, professor in the Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto; and
  • Dr. Peter Norton, retired practising family physician and professor of family medicine at the University of Calgary.

Together, Dr. Baker and Dr. Norton have helped to establish patient safety as a critical focus for Canadian healthcare organizations. They are the authors of a ground-breaking 2004 research project entitled The Canadian Adverse Events Study: The incidence of adverse events among hospital patients in Canada, a sentinel study that is frequently cited as a critical focus for Canadian healthcare. Dr. Baker and Dr. Norton are also two of the founders of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute's Safer Healthcare Now! campaign, and both serve on its steering committee and on advisory committees. Beyond Canada, Dr. Baker and Dr. Norton are working to create a research platform to support the patient safety initiatives of the World Health Organization.

As leaders in research knowledge creation and dissemination, Dr. Baker and Dr. Norton continue to advocate for the adoption of academically sound approaches to evaluating the practice of individuals, teams, and organizations engaged in improving patient care.


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