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Expanding first-year transition support

Student and mentor talk at table.
Q Success connects first-year students with upper-year peer mentors.

To help ease the first-year transition to university life, the Division of Student Affairs is expanding its Q Success program to the full academic year.

Since its launch in 2013, the program had been operating for the first six weeks of the fall term.

The program invites first-year students to be matched with an upper-year mentor who can help them settle into their campus life, and connect them to resources and services. Q Success has also provided opportunities for first-year students to meet at weekly information sessions that focus on academic prep, skills development, community building, and wellness.

Feedback from participants and upper year peer mentors has led the Student Experience Office to expand Q Success from September through to April.

“The peer mentorship component of the program, in particular, has been greatly valued, not only by first-year students, but by the upper-year student mentors, who all recognize the benefits of having someone who is there to connect with, who listens, asks questions and refers students to the resources and services they may need to succeed,“ says Sara Ali, program coordinator. “The most common suggestion made by mentees was to make the program longer; there was a particular emphasis on a need for continued mentor support leading up to, and during the first set of university exams in December.”

Historically, students who have self-identified as members of under-represented populations, including international, first-generation, and Aboriginal students, as well as students with disabilities, have opted-in to the program at higher-than-expected rates.

“The things I learned from [my mentor] have helped me greatly already and I know they will continue to be relevant in the coming years,” says one mentee who participated in 2016. “Having someone who would just listen to me and provide feedback or encouragement was very reassuring,” says another. “Overall, it was a super positive experience! I'm so glad I signed up for this!”

In addition to the year-long peer mentoring program, Q Success will also feature monthly group activities. These will be run in a workshop format throughout the academic year, and will include informal drop-in sessions where students can ask questions and receive personalized supports in a casual and more social setting. The content will remain consistent with topics focused around the themes of academic success, building resilience and building community. The sessions will be run by students and staff, in collaboration with campus partners, including Student Academic Success Services, food services staff, Athletics and Recreation, the Queen’s University International Centre, and Residence Life.

Online registration for Q Success is now open! For more information, visit: http://www.queensu.ca/studentexperience/q-success

Up against the clock

Graduate students shine in final round of Queen’s 3MT competition.

The pressure was on as 11 graduate students took to the stage in the Dupuis Hall Auditorium to compete in the final round of the Queen’s Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on Thursday, March 30.

Using only one static slide and no props, the students had to present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges.

Neuroscience master's candidate Victoria Donovan delivered a presentation on how the brain responds to trauma. Ms. Donovan won the overall and People's Choice awards and will move on to represent Queen's at the Ontario 3MT.

“Queen’s 3MT is a much-anticipated annual event on campus,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “Our students put in hours of preparation for their three minutes in front of the judges. The competition helps students hone communication skills – such as making their research accessible and it’s a great way to celebrate the innovative and thought-provoking research our graduate students are conducting across campus.”

A panel of judges, consisting of Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, communications consultant Robert A Wood, CBC reporter JC Kenny, and Denise Cumming, CEO of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, graded the competitors on clarity, audience engagement and presentation skills. A long-time supporter of the 3MT competition, CKWS Television host Bill Welychka served as the emcee for the event.

“I have promoted the event on CKWS-TV the past two years and it seems like the coolest thing ever,” said Mr. Welychka. “I love that 3MT combines distilling a complicated subject down to a three minute verbal presentation with dramatic elements, public speaking and engaging the audience. Not an easy undertaking to say the least.”

Victoria Donovan, a master's candidate in neuroscience was named winner and people's choice for her presentation, Lie low, stay alive. Her research is looking at the evolutionary response to traumatic brain injury. Early results provide evidence that high brain shutdown is an evolved reply to trauma – providing clues as to future treatments.

“I've been at Queen's for six and a half years now and have enjoyed every minute of it,” she says. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to represent the university at the provincial championship.”

Ms. Donovan will move on to represent Queen’s at the Ontario 3MT finals on April 12 in Waterloo. The national 3MT winner will be decided through an online vote on videos of the regional champions, conducted on the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies website.

“Competing in the 3MT was one of the highlights of my Masters studies,” says Anastasia Savrova, MSc’17, winner of the 2016 Queen’s 3MT competition. “It was encouraging to hear people were so excited about my research, and this experience has really pushed me to pursue more opportunities where I can get the public more involved in academic research.”

For more information on the Queen’s 3MT competition, or to see video of the finalists' presentations, please visit the website.

An eye-catching result

Research determines how the brain recognizes what’s important at first glance.

Researchers at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies (CNS) at Queen’s University have discovered that a region of the brain – the superior colliculus – contains a mechanism responsible for interpreting how visual input from a scene determines where we look. This mechanism, known as a visual salience map, allows the brain to quickly identify and act on the most important information in the visual field, and is a basic mechanism for our everyday vision.

[Brian White]
Dr. Brian White, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen's University, is the lead author on the study, which determined where in the brain the first information about a scene is deciphered.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, found that neurons in this region of the brain create a visual saliency map (a representation, or distilled version, of the scene that highlights the most visually conspicuous objects), which correlated with established computer models of saliency. The research opens up new opportunities in a wide range of fields including neuroscience, psychology, visual robotics, and advertising, as well as applications for diagnosing neurological disorders.

“When we look out at the world, the first things that attract our gaze are the low-level visual features that comprise a scene – the contours, the colours, the luminance of the scene – and computational models of visual saliency are designed to predict where we will look based on these features,” explains Brian White, a postdoctoral researcher at the CNS and the study’s lead author. “Our colleagues at the University of Southern California – led by Professor Laurent Itti – are at the forefront in the development of these models. With our neurophysiological expertise, we showed that neurons in the superior colliculus create a saliency map that guides attention, in much the same way as predicted by the saliency model. Until now, this was largely just a concept with little supporting evidence, but our latest study provides the first strong neural evidence for it.”

Dr. White and his co-investigators, including fellow Queen’s researcher Douglas Munoz, measured how the activation of neurons in this area of the brain respond to natural visual stimuli, such as video of dynamic nature scenes. The research team found a strong correlation between the model’s predictions of visual saliency across the scene, and the patterns of activation by these neurons – demonstrating  not only the validity of the model in predicting visual saliency and attention, but opening new possibilities in a range of fields.

Dr. White says the findings have important applications in the development of diagnostic tests for neurological disorders – such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Patients with such disorders show patterns of gaze that differ from controls when viewing natural scenes. These differences can be distinguished using the saliency model, and can then be used to help understand what the different brains are doing based on the neurophysiological results.

“While a number of fields can benefit from an improved understanding of saliency coding in the brain, the real benefit is the opportunity for further study on the superior colliculus and how it integrates inputs from other brain areas,” Dr. White says. “We’re very interested in furthering both the clinical and diagnostic benefits that can be derived from these findings, as well as the opportunity for further basic research.”

The full paper, titled Superior colliculus neurons encode a visual saliency map during free viewing of dynamic video, was published in the journal Nature Communications and is available online.

Recovering, with a twist

Queen’s researchers examine whether physio improves ankle sprain recovery.

A new study, published by researchers at Queen’s University, has found that there is no significant difference in recovery rates and degree of recovery between ankle sprain patients who received a simple medical assessment and instructions on home management of the injury to those who, in addition, received physiotherapy for their injuries.

Dr. Brenda Brouwer, Dean of Graduate Studies and a researcher in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, has co-authored a new study on the effectiveness of physiotherapy for ankle sprains. (Supplied Photo)

“The findings indicate that there’s no added value of physical therapy for everyday ankle sprains,” says Brenda Brouwer (Rehabilitation Therapy/Dean (Graduate Studies)), the co-principal investigator on the study. "Proper assessment and instruction about PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression and limb elevation) may, however, be important to the recovery process."

Ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of injury-related hospital visits in Kingston. Despite their prevalence, there remains a great deal of debate regarding the best methods of treatment for these injuries.

The study recruited 503 patients from two Kingston-based acute care hospitals, presenting with mild or moderate ankle sprains. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups – one group was instructed to treat the sprains using the PRICE method (consisting of protecting the ankle, rest, icing the joint to reduce inflammation, the application of compressive bandages and elevating the joint), the other received up to seven supervised physiotherapy sessions in addition to instructions on self-management.

Dr. Brouwer and her colleagues examined the patients’ ankle function at one, three and six months after their injury. Their findings showed that both groups recovered at similar rates – calling into question the utility of physiotherapy in general populations for simple ankle sprains. The study notes that a significant portion of both groups – 43 per cent of patients in the physiotherapy group and 38 per cent in the control arm – did not return to an “excellent” level of recovery indicating that residual loss of function six months post-injury is a significant problem.

“The lack of benefit of physiotherapy paired with the high number of people reporting functional deficits attributable to an ankle sprain incurred half a year earlier suggests the need for alternative interventions to promote better outcomes,” she explains.

In addition to Dr. Brouwer, the study was co-authored by Robert Brison (Emergency Medicine/KGH), Andrew Day (Public Health Sciences/KGH), Lucie Pelland (Rehabilitation Therapy), William Pickett (Emergency Medicine/Public Health Sciences), Ana Johnson (Public Health Sciences), Alice Aiken (Now of Dalhousie University) and David Pichora (Orthopaedics).

The full study, titled Effect of early supervised physiotherapy on recovery from acute ankle sprain: randomised controlled trial, was published in The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) and is available online.

Rehabilitation initiative celebrates 25th anniversary

Queen’s International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) celebrates 25 years as leader in inclusion and human rights.

  • Principal Daniel Woolf speaks at the 25th anniversary celebration for the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR)
    Principal Daniel Woolf speaks at the 25th anniversary celebration for the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR)
  • Founder and former executive director of the ICACBR, Dr. Malcolm Peat reflects on 25 years of the centre's work - helping individuals with disabilities around the world.
    Founder and former executive director of the ICACBR, Dr. Malcolm Peat reflects on 25 years of the centre's work - helping individuals with disabilities around the world.
  • Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, congratulates the centre on their 25 year anniversary and speaks to the centre's past and future projects.
    Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, congratulates the centre on their 25 year anniversary and speaks to the centre's past and future projects.
  • Dr. Heather Aldersey, Director of the centre's Access to Health and Education for all Children and Youth with Disabilities in Bangladesh (AHEAD) program, thanks the centre's past and present researchers, as they set their sights on the next 25 years of community based rehabilitation work around the globe.
    Dr. Heather Aldersey, Director of the centre's Access to Health and Education for all Children and Youth with Disabilities in Bangladesh (AHEAD) program, thanks the centre's past and present researchers, as they set their sights on the next 25 years of community based rehabilitation work around the globe.

Queen's in the World

Researchers, students and faculty from the Faculty of Health Sciences and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy gathered on Oct. 27 to celebrate the milestone 25th anniversary of the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR). The event featured past and current members of the centre, and presented an opportunity to look back on past projects as well as ongoing efforts to expand community based rehabilitation (CBR) practices in communities around the world.

The international cohort of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholars  in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy deliver brief Pecha Kucha presentations on their work.

“Just as (founder and former executive director of the ICACBR) Malcolm Peat and the other founders envisioned, the Centre has advanced the knowledge and practice of CBR, and has provided a platform for training the next generation of practitioners and researchers,” says Terry Krupa, Professor and Associate Director (Research and Post-Professional Programs) in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. “The Centre has demonstrated how the resources of a university can be harnessed and structured to make a real difference in the world, responding in a timely, effective and collaborative manner to issues of disability, health and well-being in low resource settings, and in settings impacted by conflict, political upheaval and natural disasters.”

Past and present ICACBR researchers and students gathered to celebrate the centre's 25th anniversary.

The centre currently manages three projects – the Access to Health & Education for all Disabled Children & Youth (AHEAD) project in Bangladesh, the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships for Excellence in International Community Based Rehabilitation, and a participatory project on stigma and intellectual disability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The AHEAD program works in concert with the Centre for the Paralyzed (CRP) and Bangladesh Health Professionals Institute (BHPI) to improve access to health and education services for children and youth as a means of reducing poverty and promoting inclusion. The QE II project supports Canadian OT and RHBS students to research and train in Bangladesh, India and Tanzania, as well as provides opportunities for CBR leaders from low- and middle-income countries to pursue PhDs in RHBS at Queen’s. The Congo project is focused on reducing the stigma around intellectual disabilities in the capital, Kinshasa. 

“The anniversary is an important milestone, in that it marks 25 years of international collaboration with people with disabilities, their families, and the organizations that serve them,” says Heather Aldersey, Director of the AHEAD Project and a Queen’s National Scholar in International Community Based Rehabilitation. “The ICACBR has always placed great emphasis on working directly with communities on issues of greatest priority to them. The future will be no different, and we will continue to work in close collaboration with our partners to build community capacity for inclusion.”

Past and present researchers and students watch a slideshow presentation on the centre's 25 years of service, working to bring community based rehabilitation to areas in need around the globe.

In addition to the centre’s ongoing projects, ICACBR researchers have played a crucial role in the development of CBR as a tool to provide rehabilitation services in conflict and post-conflict zones. The centre was a leading player in post-war health and social reconstruction after the conflicts in the Balkans, providing training for over 500 local healthcare practitioners and creating over 40 accessible CBR health centres. Over 200 researchers and practitioners – including professionals from the Canadian rehabilitation and disability communities, as well as Queen’s students and faculty – have been involved in ICACBR projects and research.

“The 25th anniversary is a really great opportunity for both the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and for ICACBR, because it’s a chance to recognize the progression from the early work the centre did that was so foundational to development of community-based rehabilitation internationally,” says Rosemary Lysaght, Associate Director (Occupational Therapy Program), School of Rehabilitation Therapy. “There’s much to reflect on from our past as we look ahead to the next 25 years. There’s so much opportunity and still, sadly, so much need in the world. The ICACBR provides a lot of leadership and it’s a real opportunity to solidify how we move forward as the early leaders retire and as new opportunities arise.”

A new twist on music

Queen’s researchers unveil bendable smartphone that works as a musical instrument.

Researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University have developed the world’s first musical instrument for a flexible smartphone. The device, dubbed WhammyPhone, allows users to bend the display in order to create sound effects on a virtual instrument, such as a guitar or violin.

The WhammyPhone allows users to use the phone's bend capability to control virtual musical instruments. (Supplied Photo)

“WhammyPhone is a completely new way of interacting with sound using a smartphone,” says Roel Vertegaal, a professor in the Queen's School of Computing and the director of the Human Media Lab. “It allows for the kind of expressive input normally only seen in traditional musical instruments.”

WhammyPhone features a 1920x1080 full high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touchscreen display. The display shows keys that can be used to play sounds on sound synthesis software running on a computer. Like the ReFlex flexible smartphone, WhammyPhone is also equipped with a bend sensor, which allows for the user to bend the phone as a means of manipulating the sound.

The bend input can be used to simulate bending a string on a virtual guitar, allowing the user to produce tones with variable pitch. The device can be used to simulate a number of instruments – from the strumming of a guitar to the bowing of a violin – with the flex of the screen serving to provide physical feedback to the user. The creators also envision WhammyPhone being used to control loops in electronic dance music – creating a more intuitive means for DJs to interact with their equipment.

“The real importance of WhammyPhone is that it provides the same kind of kinesthetic feedback that, say, a string provides when it is bent to alter the pitch>” says Dr. Vertegaal. “This kind of effect is critical for musicians to control their expression, and provides another level of utility for bend input in smartphones.”

Queen’s researchers unveiled WhammyPhone in Tokyo, Japan at the annual Association for Computing Machinery (ACM0 Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology on October 17. The symposium is one of the top conferences in Human-Computer Interaction. The WhammyPhone project was support by funding from Immersion Canada Inc. and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

A game-changing investment in innovation

Investment to support creation of Innovation and Wellness Centre, biomedical research facility renovations.

  • Member of Parliament Mark Gerretsen announces that Queen's will receive $31 million from the Government of Canada's Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Infrastructure Fund on October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    Member of Parliament Mark Gerretsen announces that Queen's will receive $31 million from the Government of Canada's Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Infrastructure Fund on October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
  • Member of Provincial Parliament Sophie Kiwala announces that Queen's will receive to support two on-campus infrastructure projects, on October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    Member of Provincial Parliament Sophie Kiwala announces that Queen's will receive to support two on-campus infrastructure projects, on October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf discusses how the SIF-supported projects will improve the campus learning experience for Queen's students. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    Principal Daniel Woolf discusses how the SIF-supported projects will improve the campus learning experience for Queen's students. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
  • Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, describes the new learning, innovation and research facilities that will be featured in the Innovation and Wellness Centre. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, describes the new learning, innovation and research facilities that will be featured in the Innovation and Wellness Centre. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
  • Rector Cam Yung discusses how students will benefit from the program offerings in the new Innovation and Wellness Centre. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    Rector Cam Yung discusses how students will benefit from the program offerings in the new Innovation and Wellness Centre. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
  • Principal Woolf and Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon tour the site of the Innovation and Wellness Centre. The new facility will be built on the location of the former Physical Education Centre - maintaining a number of elements of the old building's facade. October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    Principal Woolf and Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon tour the site of the Innovation and Wellness Centre. The new facility will be built on the location of the former Physical Education Centre - maintaining a number of elements of the old building's facade. October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
  • (From L-R) Rector Cam Yung, Dean Woodhouse, Principal Woolf, Provost Bacon and Mr. Gerretsen tour the Innovation and Wellness Centre site. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    (From L-R) Rector Cam Yung, Dean Woodhouse, Principal Woolf, Provost Bacon and Mr. Gerretsen tour the Innovation and Wellness Centre site. October 11, 2016 (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
  • (From L-R) Mr. Gerretsen, Principal Woolf, Rector Yung, Caroline Davis (Vice-Principal (Facilities, Properties, and Sustainability), Dean Woodhouse, Ms. Kiwala and Provost Bacon at the Strategic Infrastructure Fund announcement in Beanish-Munro Hall on October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)
    (From L-R) Mr. Gerretsen, Principal Woolf, Rector Yung, Caroline Davis (Vice-Principal (Facilities, Properties, and Sustainability), Dean Woodhouse, Ms. Kiwala and Provost Bacon at the Strategic Infrastructure Fund announcement in Beanish-Munro Hall on October 11, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)

On Oct. 11, Queen’s announced that it had received a $31 million investment from the Government of Canada, under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). The investment, in addition to a $4.9 million investment from the Government of Ontario and the contributions of a number of benefactors, will support two capital projects on campus– the creation of the Queen’s Innovation and Wellness Centre and a revitalization of on-campus biomedical research facilities.

[Innovation and Wellness Centre]
Architect's rendering of the Innovation and Wellness Centre, as seen from Union St. and Division St.

“We are incredibly grateful to the federal and provincial governments, as well as the countless generous donors who have made this investment in the future of Queen’s,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The projects their investments support will enhance innovation programming at Queen’s and strengthen the university’s position in world-leading research. We look forward to continued future partnership with the government in strengthening innovation, research and economic development in Kingston and Canada as a whole.”

The Innovation and Wellness Centre, located on the site of the former Physical Education Centre, will feature expanded engineering facilities, makerspaces and experiential learning spaces funded by the SIF investment. The centre will be home to an Innovation Hub – centered around the successful Queen’s Innovation Connector – and state-of-the-art interdisciplinary laboratories. These facilities will increase opportunities for research, student design and learning, while also strengthening the university’s position in world-leading research. 

[Collaborative Learning Spaces]
The Innovation and Wellness Centre will bring collaborative and experiential learning spaces, state-of-the-art laboratories and mental health and wellness services together in one convenient location at the heart of campus.

The innovation and engineering facilities will be co-located with space for Student Wellness Services and the Chaplaincy. The wellness centre, funded entirely by philanthropic gifts, will also feature athletic and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre. The co-location of innovation and wellness services, a recommendation of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health, will blend academic, recreational and other student life activities, and will emphasize to our students the important relationships that connect mental health, physical well-being and academic success. The project will also provide both a short-term and long-term economic stimulus to the Kingston community – through construction jobs and ongoing research and innovation, respectively.

“Today's investment from the Strategic Investment Fund is evidence of the Government's commitment to excellence in research, and understanding that we need to support our students, both in and out of the classroom,” says Mark Gerretsen, MP for Kingston and the Islands. “By investing in our educational facilities, universities and colleges across the country can foster the development of skilled and successful workers, who will help Canadian companies compete and grow in a global market.”

The SIF investment will also allow for the revitalization of campus biomedical research facilities that support research by a number of top-level research groups at Queen’s. The investment will strengthen Queen’s and Canada’s position in world-leading biomedical research – providing Queen’s researchers with the facilities necessary to expand their translational research in areas such as neurological, cardiovascular and cancer research.

“Improving post-secondary facilities is part of our government’s plan to build Ontario up, grow our economy and create jobs, so I’m incredibly pleased that we are able to work cooperatively with Queen’s University and our Federal counterparts,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “Through this investment, we foster excellence, build our capacity to train the highly-skilled workforce of tomorrow, and to create knowledge and insights that will fuel discovery.”

“This is truly a game changing addition for the faculty and the university as a whole."  - Michael Norris (Sc’75), volunteer chair of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences fundraising campaign.

Nearly $37 million was donated by Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences alumni to support the innovation component of the revitalization project. Michael Norris (Sc’75), the volunteer chair of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences fundraising campaign said donors were inspired by the vision put forth by Dean Kim Woodhouse to promote entrepreneurialism within the faculty, and build on Queen’s standing as the premier engineering program in Canada.

“This is truly a game changing addition for the faculty and the university as a whole,” says Mr. Norris. “This campaign focused on reconnecting our alumni with the faculty and inspiring them with the vision put forth by Dean Woodhouse. This was a grassroots program that will hopefully have impact on the Queen’s community for generations to come.”

Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, says the new facility will play a vital role in the lives of students and the university as a whole.

“This generous funding from two levels of government, combined with the passionate support of dedicated Engineering alumni like Mike Norris, helps the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science remain a leader in engineering education and research,” says Dean Woodhouse.

The total cost of the two projects is approximately $119 million. In addition to the government funding announced today, Queen’s is contributing nearly $45.8 million towards the projects. Construction on the Innovation and Wellness Centre began in September and is expected to be completed in spring 2018. More information will be made available on the Queen’s Gazette website as the project progresses.

 

Stubbing out tobacco use

Queen’s–led summit concludes with a call to bring tobacco prevalence rate to “less than 5 by ’35."

Representatives of various health advocacy groups and health researchers gathered at Queen's University on September 30 and October 1 for the Tobacco Endgame Summit. (Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)

A summit of Canada’s leading health experts spent two days discussing bold ideas and examining a series of recommendations aimed at reducing the rate of commercial tobacco use in Canada to below five per cent by the year 2035. The Tobacco Endgame for Canada Summit, which ran from September 30 to October 1 at Queen’s University, brought together leading health and policy experts with the aim of developing a strategy to achieve a “tobacco endgame” – defined as commercial tobacco use prevalence of less than five per cent by 2035

“Achieving this goal towards a commercial tobacco-free future will require us to consider bold, novel ideas,” says Elizabeth Eisenhauer, Head of the Queen’s Department of Oncology and Chair of the Executive Planning Committee for the Tobacco Endgame Summit. “There is no current recipe or playbook to achieve a tobacco-free future, but we believe the ideas coming out of this summit represent a strong basis for governments, professional organizations and advocacy groups to work together towards this important objective.”

The summit concluded with a call for the creation of a Tobacco Endgame strategy for Canada that will achieve a rate of commercial tobacco usage of less than five per cent by 2035.

“We want to see a future where every Canadian can breathe easily,” says Debra Lynkowski, CEO of The Canadian Lung Association. “Reducing commercial tobacco use is a pivotal step towards achieving that goal. The success we have had to date is a direct result of a collaborative, coordinated effort; the Endgame is the natural progression of those efforts. It is necessary for us all to bring forth our most innovative ideas and lead Canadians towards a healthier future free of lung disease and we are excited to be a part of it.”

To ensure momentum carries forward from the convention, the summit also called for the creation of an Endgame Cabinet. Membership in the cabinet is to include members of health charities and health professional organizations from across the country – including but not limited to those represented at the summit. The Cabinet will be responsible for communicating with and educating the public about the Endgame initiative, encouraging Endgame strategy deliberations and discourse amongst policy makers and government and ensuring accountability of those in leadership to pursue Endgame measures. This Cabinet will also engage with relevant federal, provincial and territorial government officials to continue progress towards the Endgame objective.

“The Canadian Medical Association issued its first public warning about the dangers of tobacco use in 1954, and led by Dr. Fred Bass and many other dedicated and visionary physicians across Canada it is gratifying that rates of use have fallen substantially since that time,” said Granger Avery, President of the Canadian Medical Association. “The time is now, however, for a final push to completely eliminate this public health scourge that has caused so much pain and suffering.”

The summit was hosted by Queen’s University as part of its 175th Anniversary celebrations, as a continuation of the Queen’s tradition of bringing together remarkable people who have helped build Canada as a nation and made significant contributions around the world. For more information on the summit and it's outcomes, please see the summit background paper.

Q&A: Health Minister Jane Philpott

Following the Duncan Sinclair Lecture, Minister Philpott sat down with communications officer Chris Armes to discuss the future of health policy and the role of universities in preparing the next generation of policy experts.

[Jane Philpott speech]
The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, delivered the Dr. ​Duncan G. Sinclair Lecture in Health Services and Policy Research at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Sept. 26, 2016.

Chris Armes: What, in your view, are the most pressing issues in health care policy today and how can universities best help solve them?

Minister Jane Philpott: I think that one of the most critical areas we need to address is Indigenous health. It poses a huge challenge and the gaps in healthcare outcomes are stunning. I think universities have a tremendous role to play, by working with stakeholders to make sure that healthcare providers from Indigenous communities receive the training they need to serve those communities, for example. Research is another area where universities play a critical role. There is a lot more research that needs to be done with Indigenous peoples to be better able to understand the problems in healthcare and how they can best be addressed.

In addition, one of the things I talked a little bit about tonight is the fragmentation in the health care system. I think that’s incredibly challenging because of these silos that exist in healthcare systems across the country. Universities have a role to play as partners in addressing the fragmentation of the healthcare system, including research and informing health policy, to be able to look at how we can bring those systems together and ensure that the changes we make are more effective.

The aging population is the third area I would mention – in particular the issue of how to keep the health care system sustainable as the population ages. Universities, in their teaching and their research, definitely have a huge role to play in terms of how we actually keep the system sustainable so that it’s there for Canadians as they grow older.

 

Minister Philpott speaks with Principal Daniel Woolf and Dr. Steven Liss (Vice-Principal (Research)) following the Duncan Sinclair lecture.

CA: You’re the first physician to serve as Minister of Health – how has your time in practice shaped the way you approach the portfolio?

JP: I think it has been very helpful to have been a healthcare provider, just to be able to have the content knowledge and to be able to better understand how health policy impacts on the ground. When I’m helping to make policy decisions or changes, I think through not just what it looks like in theory but what I believe it would look like in practice and in the lives of healthcare providers and patients.

 

Minister Philpott's lecture focused on the lessons learned both during her term in cabinet and in her previous career as a family physician.

CA: On a similar note to the last question, what can governments and universities do to attract people from a wide range of careers and interests into the public policy field?

JP: I think it’s important for universities to continue to reach out to people from different communities and career backgrounds, and ensure that there are different program offerings available for people from these diverse backgrounds, who may not have thought of themselves as policy experts. These people could come from any number of fields into graduate-level training. I think there’s a need for mid-career opportunities for people to pursue academics after they’ve worked for a number of years, to return and do a Master’s of Business Administration or a Master’s of Public Administration or similar degree. Universities need to help people find mechanisms to take their life experience from diverse backgrounds, and use those in a policy environment.

 

Minister Philpott's lecture touched on a wide range of health policy topics - such as access to affordable pharmaceuticals, mental health, home care and access to care in Indigenous communities.

CA: How do you see the health policy landscape changing in the next five to 10 years, and what skills will those entering the public policy field need most, in order to keep up?

JP: I think, to be effective, you need to not only know the policy but you have to figure out how to make it work in real life. Sometimes, it is the things that we don’t necessarily learn in school – or the skills that universities traditionally haven’t taught, like communications – that are hugely important. You may understand the policy but you need to learn how to be able to communicate that and learn how to implement those changes. They also need to focus on building leadership skills, so that graduates have more than just the policy content, but have the ability to be able to share that and work collaboratively across multiple sectors to translate that policy into meaningful action.

Honoured by his alma mater

Chancellor Jim Leech added to the Wall of Honour at Royal Military College.

  • The Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada, Brigadier-General Sean Friday, accompanies Honorary Colonel James William Leech to the Wall of Honour Ceremony on 24 September 2016.  Honorary Colonel Leech was one of three ex-cadets honoured with a plaque in this year's ceremony.(Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)
    The Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada, Brigadier-General Sean Friday, accompanies Honorary Colonel James William Leech to the Wall of Honour Ceremony on 24 September 2016. Honorary Colonel Leech was one of three ex-cadets honoured with a plaque in this year's ceremony.(Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)
  • Wall of Honour inductee, Honorary Colonel James William Leech (left), with his older brother Major-General (Retired) John Leech at the Royal Military College of Canada's Wall of Honour Ceremony that was held on 24 September 2016.  (Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)
    Wall of Honour inductee, Honorary Colonel James William Leech (left), with his older brother Major-General (Retired) John Leech at the Royal Military College of Canada's Wall of Honour Ceremony that was held on 24 September 2016. (Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)
  • Royal Military College of Canada Wall of Honour inductee, Honorary Colonel James William Leech, addresses gathered family and guests at a ceremony that was held on 24 September 2016.  (Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)
    Royal Military College of Canada Wall of Honour inductee, Honorary Colonel James William Leech, addresses gathered family and guests at a ceremony that was held on 24 September 2016. (Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)
  • Honorary Colonel James William Leech's plaque that was unveiled at the Royal Military College of Canada's Wall of Honour Ceremony that was held on 24 September 2016. (Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)
    Honorary Colonel James William Leech's plaque that was unveiled at the Royal Military College of Canada's Wall of Honour Ceremony that was held on 24 September 2016. (Photo Credit: Adam Dargavel. ©2016 DND-MDN Canada)

Chancellor Jim Leech has been inducted to the Royal Military College of Canada’s Wall of Honour, in recognition of his achievements in academia, business and volunteerism. Chancellor Leech is one of only 27 other outstanding alumni of Canada’s military academies to receive the honour – joining Colonel Chris Hadfield, Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire and Air Marshal William Avery “Billy” Bishop, among others.

“I would like to sincerely thank the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), the selection committee and the class of 1963 for this tremendous honour,” says Chancellor Leech “To be included in the same company as my two fellow honorees and those giants who have proceeded us to the wall is quite humbling.”

Chancellor Leech received acclaim both as an athlete and student leader during his years at RMC. After graduating in 1968, he spent most of his active service with the Royal 22nd Regiment in Germany. Following his release from the Canadian Forces, he attended Queen’s University for his MBA, where he was elected class president.

After graduating from Queen’s in 1973 at the top of his class, he entered the financial services and real estate industry, holding increasingly senior executive positions across Canada. In 2001, Chancellor Leech was recruited to establish the private investment arm of the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. Subsequently he was promoted to chief executive officer, overseeing its growth to become Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan, responsible for investing $150 billion for 310,000 teachers by the time he retired in 2014.

Outside of business, he has taken on leading roles with the True Patriot Love Foundation – for which he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 – the MasterCard Foundation, the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and 32 Signal Regiment and co-authored The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures, which received the 2014 National Business Book Award. In 2014, he took part in an expedition to the magnetic north pole to raise awareness and funds for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 2014.

"This Wall of Honour is the ultimate validation of what this great Canadian institution is striving to accomplish and has accomplished since 1876 - that is, training and educating great leaders for future service to Canada within the profession of arms.”

-  Brig.-Gen. Sean Friday, Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada.

The Wall of Honour, presented to the Royal Military College of Canada as a gift from the class of 1963, serves to recognize ex-cadets and others with College numbers for outstanding achievements and contributions to Canada and the world. The physical wall, which measures two metres high and 40.23 metres long, is located on the RMC campus along the main path for cadets proceeding to and from the campus sports facilities – to serve as a continuing source of inspiration for the cadets.

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