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Internationalization

William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

 

Local partnerships support education abroad

Hakeem Subair of 1 Million Teachers speaks during the Muna Taro launch.
Hakeem Subair of 1 Million Teachers speaks during the Muna Taro launch event at the Tett Centre. 

With 13 million children who are without access to schools in Nigeria alone, there is an urgent need for educational support – a trend which is expected to grow over time. Adding to the complexities of this issue are the intersections between gender and access to resources in Sub-Saharan Africa.

To address these challenges, modern policy-driven solutions that are culturally attuned, and advance sustainable community-led changes are needed. Working towards this end, Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College, and the City of Kingston recently co-hosted an event at the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning to showcase and raise awareness on enhancing learning in Nigeria.

Muna Taro (We are coming together) is a collaboration between three organizations based out of Nigeria: 1 Million Teachers, Five Cowries Arts Education Initiative, and Girl Rising.

The exhibit, My Story of Water, uses the power of art to foster creativity and resiliency and was open to the public between June 2- 29. The display included hand-painted water cans and photographs emphasizing the importance of safe access to water, sanitation, pollution, environmental protection, and how basic needs are fundamental to empowering educational development.   

The launch event included comments from Queen’s Provost Mark Green, Dean of the Faculty of Education Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of Smith School of Business Wanda Costen, St. Lawrence College President Glenn Vollebregt, Kingston Economic Development Council CEO Donna Gillespie, as well as the Nigerian High Commissioner, Nigerian Ambassador, and Special Advisers to the President of Nigeria.

“The showcase displays collaboration of like-minded people looking to enhance and provide access to education for the most vulnerable members of our communities,” says Hakeem Subair, founder of 1 Million Teachers and a Queen’s alumnus. “We need to show the world what we’re doing, but more importantly how to make society better, and hopefully we can get support from other people who are not yet part of our movement.”

With the exhibition focusing on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation, Queen’s and the Kingston community continues to build ties with Nigeria and support Muna Taro’s initiatives and pursuit of educational reform.

Wanda Costen and Rebecca Luce-Kapler share a laugh.
Dean of Smith School of Business Wanda Costen, left, and Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty Education discuss their support of the Muna Taro program.

Relationship-building organizations

1 Million Teachers is an organization that hopes to attract, train and retain teachers through the use of their online platform and learning modules. Queen’s connection to Muna Taro stems from the CEO of 1 Million Teachers, and Smith School of Business graduate, Hakeem Subair. In 2018, the Faculty of Education partnered with 1 Million Teachers to assist with program development and to create a practice that supports learning in Nigeria and beyond, while advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“When we started 1 Million Teachers we wanted to support teachers and when we were doing that we started seeing gaps in our programming – areas such as inclusivity, and gender responsive education,” Subair says. “The gaps we were seeing led us to taking a systems approach because most times you could see yourself working on a solution, and that solution may become part of the problem. This process led to us collaborating with all the partners we are working with today.”

The Five Cowries art initiative aims to improve educational outcomes by stimulating engagement and encouraging creativity through the amplification of narratives about social and environmental impact in Nigerian.

Girl Rising empowers young girls through the power of story telling and raising awareness of the barriers preventing girls from attending school and gaining an education. From combating early marriage, sex trafficking, domestic slavery and gender-based violence, Girl Rising’s mission is to create transformational change in the way girls are valued.

Together, these organizations advocate for grass roots changes environmental and social and environmental norms across Nigeria, and 14 other African countries.

Learn more by visiting the Muna Taro and Faculty of Education website.

Introducing Bader College

Name change reflects the UK campus’s close connections to Queen’s, its high level of academic courses, and unique on-campus experience.

  • Bader College was selected as the new name for the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) following an extensive consultation process and review of the Canadian and international post-secondary landscape. (Queen's University)
    Bader College was selected as the new name for the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) following an extensive consultation process and review of the Canadian and international post-secondary landscape. (Queen's University)
  • First-year programs in Arts, Science, Health Sciences, and Concurrent Education are offered at Bader College, as well as a number of specialized programs for upper-year undergraduate and professional students.
    First-year programs in Arts, Science, Health Sciences, and Concurrent Education are offered at Bader College, as well as a number of specialized programs for upper-year undergraduate and professional students.
  • Recent efforts at Bader College have focused on rewilding and naturalizing the castle estate to help cultivate and preserve the natural environment and diverse species, while providing a living lab for students, staff, and members of the public.
    Recent efforts at Bader College have focused on rewilding and naturalizing the castle estate to help cultivate and preserve the natural environment and diverse species, while providing a living lab for students, staff, and members of the public.
  • Alfred and Isabel Bader gifted Bader College to Queen’s with a vision for the campus as a venue for educating students from around the world, as well as showcasing research strengths, and nurturing connections to the UK and local communities.
    Alfred and Isabel Bader gifted Bader College to Queen’s with a vision for the campus as a venue for educating students from around the world, as well as showcasing research strengths, and nurturing connections to the UK and local communities.

Queen’s University’s UK campus has a new name – Bader College.

Following an extensive consultation process and review of the Canadian and international post-secondary landscape, Bader College was selected as the new name for the Bader International Study Centre (BISC).

The name showcases the campus’s connections to Queen’s and highlights the unique on-campus and academic experience it provides. The name Bader College also honours donors Alfred and Isabel Bader who gifted the campus to Queen’s and provides an opportunity to restate their vision for the campus as a venue for educating students from around the world, as well as showcasing research strengths, and nurturing connections to the UK and local communities.

“For more than 25 years, our students attending Queen’s at Herstmonceux Castle have been provided with an immersive and unparalleled academic experience offering access to the UK and Europe right outside their door,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “This new name will signal to the international community the importance of the castle to our university and its pivotal role in Queen’s new global engagement strategy.”

The consultation process gathered input from a wide range of stakeholders in the UK and on main campus in Kingston, as well as academic partners and comparable study abroad institutions in the UK. This process was in part sparked by the recognition that much has changed in the UK and the global academic landscape since the creation of the BISC in 1993.

Bader College also embodies the broader Queen’s commitment to advancing social impact and sustainability. The university recently ranked seventh globally in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for its work in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Recent efforts at Bader College have focused on rewilding and naturalizing the castle estate to help cultivate and preserve the natural environment and diverse species, while providing a living lab for students, staff, and members of the public.

Bader College provides a unique opportunity to Queen’s students, featuring small class sizes, strong student supports, a vibrant community, and close transportation links to London, the rest of the UK, and Europe.

Students who study at Bader College are on campus for up to one year as part of their full degree programs, with the majority going on to continue their studies at Queen’s. First-year programs in Arts, Science, Health Sciences, and Concurrent Education are offered at Bader College, as well as a number of specialized programs for upper-year undergraduate and professional students.  

A new brand identity for Bader College will be released in the coming weeks.

________________________________

The philanthropic impact of the Bader family and Bader Philanthropies, Inc. at Queen’s is unparalleled. The Baders, the late Dr. Alfred Bader (BSc'45, BA'46, MSc'47, LLD'86), his wife, Isabel Bader (LLD’07), and Bader Philanthropies, Inc., led by Daniel Bader (LLD’21), have been among Queen’s University’s most significant donors, gifting the 15th-century English castle, Herstmonceux, home to Bader College, providing $31 million in support of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, a lead gift of $40 million (USD) in support of Agnes Reimagined, more than 500 paintings and works on paper to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and funding a variety of student awards, teaching and research chairs, curatorships, and more.

Search committee formed for new Vice-Provost and Executive Director, Bader International Study Centre

The Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor is initiating a search for the next Vice-Provost and Executive Director of the Bader International Study Centre (BISC). The term for Hugh Horton, who has served in the position since 2017, ends on July 1, 2022. Dr. Horton has indicated that he does not wish to be considered for another term.

The Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor will chair a search committee comprised of both BISC and Queen’s main campus members, and Boyden International has been engaged to support the search.

Jennifer Medves, who is currently acting as a Special Advisor to the BISC, will serve as interim Vice-Provost and Executive Director.

More information will shortly be available on the search committee including membership on the Office of the Principal website.

Moving toward a new strategy for global engagement

International Association of Universities representatives visit campus as part of collaborative process to develop Queen’s next global engagement strategy.

IAU representatives together with VP International Sandra den Otter
Sandra den Otter, Vice-Provost (International) (centre) together with visiting IAU representatives (left to right): Harvey Charles, Alessandra Scagliarini, Eva Egron-Polak, and Giorgio Marinoni.

An expert delegation from the International Association of Universities (IAU) visited Queen’s recently as part of a collaborative process for developing a new Global Engagement Strategic Plan for the university. From May 9-11, IAU representatives met with more than 100 members of the campus community to discuss Queen’s ongoing global engagement efforts and how the university can evolve its approach to be more just, equitable, and impact-oriented. 

“I want to express our deep gratitude to our IAU experts for their broad and intensive engagement with us, both in advance of this visit and in myriad consultation sessions over the past few days,” says Sandra den Otter, Vice-Provost (International). “This work has prompted essential conversations that will deepen, refine, and bolster how Queen’s engages with the world, and ultimately how we are able to work together more effectively to address the most significant and urgent challenges of our time. I am very grateful to Queen’s students, staff, and faculty who have so thoughtfully contributed to the sessions.”

Queen’s engaged the IAU to assist in building and advancing an approach to global engagement that will best support Queen’s new Strategic Framework, particularly its aim of strengthening the university’s global presence in comprehensive, equity-focused, and collaborative ways. The non-governmental organization, an associate of UNESCO, connects post-secondary institutions worldwide, and offers knowledge-sharing and advisory services to its members, including guidance on advancing global engagement. 

The IAU’s visits to main campus and the Bader International Study Centre (BISC), along with a previously submitted self-assessment report developed by working groups of faculty, students, and staff across campus, will provide them a basis upon which to develop a final report and recommendations, which are set to be delivered this summer.

“We extend our appreciation to many people who were involved in the various working groups and consultations that led to both the careful and detailed self-assessment we reviewed, as well as our productive visit this week,” said IAU representative Eva Egron-Polak, who — alongside IAU colleagues Harvey Charles, Alessandra Scagliarini, and Giorgio Marinoni — shared preliminary thoughts and recommendations with the campus community during an open discussion on May 11. “Queen’s new institutional strategy aims to redefine how Queen’s engages the world, and we’re pleased that institutional leadership has placed a high importance on a values-based approach to global engagement.”

Following delivery of the IAU’s report, the Office of the Vice-Provost (International) will create a draft of the new global engagement strategy and conduct further campus wide consultation this fall. 

“I want to offer many thanks to members of the IAU delegation for their efforts this week and over the past two years, as well as for the clear and impactful preliminary thoughts they’ve shared here today,” said Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, as he concluded the open panel session. “This process has been particularly valuable because it’s been about self-learning, to such a degree that we learned alongside our IAU guests about our strengths and opportunities. This is one step in a process that is still ongoing — one that will be hugely aided by future discussions of the work of our panel.”

Transforming the global academy

Principal Patrick Deane on how the SDGs are helping break down silos, provoke dialogue, and unite us all in a common global purpose.

[Photo of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane]
Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen's University

This op-ed was originally published in the Times Higher Education supplement in 2021.

As a member of the international group tasked with updating the Magna Charta Universitatum – the declaration of university freedoms and principles that was first signed in Bologna in 1988 – I am struck by the extent to which the intervening three decades have altered the global consensus about the nature and function of universities. Where the original document spoke eloquently to the fundamental values of the academy, the new Magna Charta Universitatum 2020 reaffirms those values but also expands upon their social function and utility. I would summarise the shift this way: we have moved from an understanding of universities as defined primarily by their ability to transcend historical contingency to a more complicated view, which asserts that timeless principles such as academic freedom and institutional autonomy are the platform from which the academy must engage with history.

If the situation in Europe and around the world in 1988 made it important to speak up for the freedoms without which teaching and research would be impoverished, by 2020 it had become equally important to speak of the responsibilities incumbent on institutions by virtue of the privileges accorded to them. The reality of rapid climate change has brought urgency and authority to this new view of universities, as have parallel trends in the social, cultural, and political climate, and “education for sustainable development” has emerged as the increasingly dominant model for global higher education – one which fuses the concerns of environment, society, and economy.  

Recent columns in Times Higher Education have admirably described the diverse ways in which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been intrinsic to this reorientation of the global academy: as a rallying point for students and staff, as an accountability framework, and as a global language for political action, for example. Here at Queen’s University, the SDGs have been an important frame for our current planning process, and in all of those ways have influenced the manner in which we understand and wish to articulate our mission.

At one point in the process, an influential and valued friend of the university expressed some irritation to me about the way in which the SDGs had come to dominate and disrupt the university’s normally untroubled and inwardly-focused dialogue with itself about mission and values. “And in any case,” came the throwaway dismissal, “there’s nothing original or new about aligning with the SDGs.” Of course, that is true in 2021, but is it relevant? If a university is able to maximise its global impact, does the inherent originality or novelty of its planning parameters matter? In such exchanges – still occurring, I’m certain, on campuses everywhere – we can see that the changing consensus about which I wrote at the start is not yet complete.

It seems to me, in fact, that much of the value of the SDGs as an organising framework for universities resides in their not being proprietary or “original” to one institution, or to an exclusive group of institutions. It has often been pointed out that they now provide a shared language which helps universities in diverse geographical, political, and socio-economic locations understand and build upon the commonality of their work in both teaching and research. Adoption of the SDGs, however variously that is done from institution to institution, is turning the “global academy” from a rhetorical to a real construct, and I can’t imagine why it would be in the interests of any university to hold itself aloof from that transformation. Having watched our planning process unfold at Queen’s over the last two years, I can confirm that what the SDGs do at the global level, they do also at the level of the individual institution, providing a common language that provokes and sustains dialogue – not only between disciplines, but between the academic and non-academic parts of the operation.

I want to end by commenting on the excitement generated when siloes are broken open and when people and units understand how they are united with others in a common purpose and in service to the greater good. To cultivate that understanding has been the primary objective of planning at Queen’s for the last two years, and preparing our first submission to the Impact Rankings has been an intrinsic part of that process of learning and self-discovery. Naturally, we are delighted and excited by where we find ourselves in the rankings, but we are energised in a more profound way by the knowledge of what synergies and collaborations exist or appear possible both within our university and in the global academy.

The first 16 SDGs point to the areas in which we want to have impact. The 17th tells us what the whole project is really all about: acting in community for the communal good.

 

Queen’s secures second consecutive top 10 position globally in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

Queen’s places 7th in international rankings out of over 1,500 institutions in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

[7th in the world - 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings]

Capturing 7th position globally, Queen’s is ranked in the top 10 of the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings for the second year in a row. The rankings measure the actions universities are taking to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) both within and beyond their local communities. This 2022 international competition saw participation from over 1,500 post-secondary institutions (up from 1,240 in 2021).

Created in 2019, the THE Impact Rankings are the only international assessment to evaluate how universities’ programs and initiatives align with the SDGs. This set of 17 wide-ranging goals is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a universal call to protect the planet and its people.

"I am incredibly proud of the Queen’s community for this repeat stellar performance," says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University. "The ranking recognizes the sustained impact we are having in our local and global communities, but also serves to inspire future action fueled by our collective intellectual curiosity, passion to achieve, and commitment to collaboration – key to our mission and values."

Using calibrated metrics and indicators across four key areas – research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship – the rankings assess hundreds of data points and qualitative evidence that tangibly measure the impact of higher education institutions in addressing urgent global challenges. Since its inaugural year in 2019, participation in the THE Rankings has increased from 450 institutions to 1,500 participating institutions across 110 countries in 2022. This includes 400 first-time ranked institutions and 24 Canadian universities.

"The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are unique in examining universities’ impact on society, through each of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals," says Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education. "Canada is one of the outstanding performers in this ranking, with ten universities in the world top 50 – and it is great to see Queen’s among Canada’s leading institutions, making the world top 10 and excelling in its contribution to SDG 1, and SDG 11, and SDG 16, in particular. It is important to be able to identify and celebrate the work universities do to make the world a better place."

Queen’s performance

Queen’s results once again reflect the cross-university collaboration and partnership of dozens of units across faculties, portfolios, and departments. Highlights from the 2022 rankings include:

  • Queen’s was ranked across all 17 SDGs
  • 2nd worldwide for SDG 1: 'No Poverty.' Queen’s strong performance acknowledged the Commitment Scholars program, which provides financial support for students who are members of underserved or underrepresented groups and who have demonstrated leadership in, and commitment to, racial justice, social justice, or diversity initiatives, and Swipe it Forward, a peer-to-peer program that facilitates the donation of meals to students facing food insecurity
  • 3rd worldwide for SDG 11: 'Sustainable Cities and Communities.' Queen’s supports public access to green spaces, including self-guided tours of the university’s Snodgrass Arboretum, free trail access at Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre, and the castle gardens at the Bader International Study Centre in the UK. State-of-the-art cultural facilities – including the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre – showcase world-class performing arts and collections to the community
  • 2nd worldwide for SDG 16: 'Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.' In addition to significant collaboration with all levels of government and training the next generation of policy makers though the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s supports academic freedom and is a member of the Scholars at Risk program, which arranges temporary research and teaching positions for scholars whose lives, freedom and well-being are under threat
  • Queen’s ranked in the top 100 of 12/17 SDGs and in the top 30 of 8/17 SDGs

Evidence of impact

[Report Cover - Queen’s contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals Advancing social impact | 2020-2021]
Read the report: Queen's contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Advancing social impact | 2020-2021 [PDF Report 13 KB]

More than 600 pieces of quantitative and qualitative evidence looked at Queen’s research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship and included:

  • Queen’s partnership with the Karta Initiative to provide educational opportunities to low-income youth from rural India
  • The new Queen’s Institute for Global and Population Health, created to boost research, education, service, and collaborative projects that will help advance and decolonize global health systems
  • Black Youth in STEM, an outreach program engaging Black elementary students in science, technology, engineering, and math programming through fun, hands-on activities in a Black-positive space
  • Leanpath Spark, a program to measure food waste and foster education and inspire action in Queen’s dining halls
  • A new Campus Map focused on accessibility to assists campus visitors in navigating Queen’s buildings and accessible routes, entrances, washrooms, and more
  • The Queen’s University Biological Station, one of Canada’s premier scientific field stations dedicated to environmental and conservation research and outreach
  • Supporting and connecting women of all ages through the Ban Righ Centre, dedicated to diversity and community building
  • Queen’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and meeting its goal for a 35 per cent reduction in emissions between 2008 to 2020
  • A website and report created to illustrate Queen’s commitment to the SDGs and showcase programs and initiatives that address some of the world’s most pressing challenges

The Queen's University’s community of exceptional students, researchers, staff, and alumni all contribute to making a positive contribution to social impact and sustainability. For more information on the THE Impact Rankings and how the university is contributing to the SDGs, visit the Advancing Social Impact website.

[Illustration of Queen's campus and collaborations]

Queen’s impact on world health

On World Health Day learn more about how Queen's researchers and educators are working to advance better global health for all.

This article was originally promoted by the Queen's Health Sciences communications team.

[Art of Research photo: This is EPIC by Monakshi Sawhney, Nursing]
Queen's Art of Research PhotoThis is EPIC: Simulation Education with Patient Actors to Improve Care by Monakshi Sawhney (Nursing).

Queen’s Health Sciences is helping to fulfil the university’s vision to "solve the world’s most significant and urgent challenges with their intellectual curiosity, passion to achieve, and commitment to collaborate."

QHS researchers and educators – and their international partners – are changing the lives of people around the globe in areas such as community-based rehabilitation, cancer care, training, health equity, and humanitarian aid. As the planet celebrates another World Health Day, Queen’s ongoing impact can be felt in places as wide-ranging as Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Case in point, a new $89,925 grant recently awarded to researchers in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine – alongside the Department of Public Health Sciences and partners at the University of Rwanda. The International Development, Aid and Collaboration (IDAC) grant from Royal College International will build upon ongoing educational work, and help foster anesthesiology training, mentorship, and sustainable health workforce development.

Meanwhile, Queen’s International Centre for the Advancement for Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) continues to partner on research, educational initiatives, and policy and infrastructure development that improve health and social services for people with disabilities, their families, and their communities.

[Photo of Christiana Asantewaa Okyere with a student]
Queen's PhD candidate Christiana Asantewaa Okyere (Rehabilitation Therapy) with ICACBR working with a student in Ghana.

For example, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a collaboration between Queen’s and the University of Gondar (UoG) in Ethiopia. Halfway through a 10-year partnership, the initiative is advancing inclusive higher education for young people with disabilities, developing a new occupational therapy undergraduate degree at UofG, and fostering research for inclusive education and community-based rehabilitation. Early success stories include eight collaborative research projects, and the development of a Community Based Rehabilitation certificate program will be offered to 175 Mastercard Foundation Scholars at UoG. Four of the program’s Queen’s graduates have now returned to UoG to establish the institution’s first Occupational Therapy department and first Occupational Therapy clinic.

Elsewhere in Ethiopia, Queen’s University continues to partner with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and Haramaya University to develop new residency programs and a sustainable program of training specialist physicians in Ethiopia (learn more in this video). The Haramaya Project is working to improve access to health services, quality of care, and patient outcomes for the underserved population. Early successes include the recruitment of trained physicians that enabled the establishment of three specialty departments; and launch of two of three planned residency training programs at Haramaya University in 2021: Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine.

[Art of Research photo: Immnuofluorescence Stain]
Queen's Art of Research Photo: Immunofluorescence Stain by Shakeel Virk and Lee Boudreau, CCTG Tissue Bank.

Queen’s University is an international leader in cancer research thanks to collaborative partnerships, dynamic faculty – including the Global Oncology team – and the campus serving as the proud home of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG). Supporting these groundbreaking efforts, the Canadian Cancer Society recently renewed a $30 million grant for the CCTG. Recent global cancer research highlights include:

  • A 2022 study led by Queen’s and University of São Paulo (Brazil) that saw researchers develop a new tool to help set priorities for building radiotherapy infrastructure – helping to improve access to cancer care.
  • Research published in the fall 2021 by Dr. Chris Booth – in collaboration with the World Health Organization – that showed patients in most countries of the world do not have access to basic cancer medicines.
  • An international group of researchers and physicians based at Queen’s and institutions in Sri Lanka teamed up to develop the first database of cancer patients in Sri Lanka – a project that will make important contributions to cancer care in the South Asian country.
  • Dr. Bishal Gyawali’s ongoing work in Nepal to help establish a training program for primary care doctors – an effort order to build capacity to deliver basic cancer treatment in rural settings.    

Also established at Queen’s, A Research Collaborative for Global Health Equity (ARCH) serves as an interdisciplinary, collaborative platform for conducting and sharing global health research that leads to positive change. One member of the collaborative, Canada Research Chair Dr. Susan Bartels, is primarily focused on areas of the world affected by conflict and disaster. Her research aims to improve the science and practice of delivering emergency medicine and humanitarian aid, and understand health impacts on women and children. Dr. Bartels has studied the effects of civil war on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as sexual and reproductive health and parenting in adversity across a variety of conflict zones.

Of course, issues such as access to care and reducing disparities in health outcomes locally are also part of the global health picture. Queen’s researchers are addressing domestic patient needs and healthcare inequities through efforts to enable better access to healthcare by bringing a portable MRI scanner to Canada’s north for the first time and bringing interactive ultrasound training to remote communities.

QHS’s ongoing impact on world health also aligns with its own new strategic plan – Radical Collaboration for a Healthier World – which calls for leveraging "unique interdisciplinary strengths to discover and share solutions to the world’s most pressing questions in the health sciences."

Learn more about Queen’s global health initiatives.

Queen's increases support for forcibly displaced students, faculty, and researchers

University launches Principal’s Global Scholars and Fellows Program for those affected by war, conflict, and political instability.

Humanity is facing the highest levels of displacement on record. According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 82.4 million people have been forcibly displaced due to conflict, persecution, human rights violations, and violence. 

“Recent and ongoing conflicts worldwide, including in Afghanistan and Ukraine, have illustrated the disastrous consequences of physical and political violence,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Queen’s is a global institution that champions diversity, inclusivity, academic freedom, and peace. It is critical that we act on these ideals.”

As a result, Queen’s is launching the Principal’s Global Scholars and Fellows program to increase its support for students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty members forcibly displaced by conflict, political instability, violence, and persecution. The university has made an initial commitment of $1.25 million to this program which aims to offer sanctuary and assistance while also bringing a diversity of insights, talents, and experiences to the university.

The Principal’s Global Scholars and Fellows Program is comprised of two streams. The first—Principal’s Global Scholars—serves to connect undergraduate and graduate students with streamlined admission options and funding to support their learning. The second stream—Principal’s Global Fellows—provides displaced faculty members and post-doctoral fellows with one year of support to continue their academic work. 

Queen’s will continue its long-standing relationships with World University Service of Canada (WUSC)Scholars at Risk, and Artist Protection Fund to implement these programs and is also developing alternative pathways to be flexible to the individual needs and aspirations of applicants. More information can be found on the Principal’s Global Scholars and Fellow Program webpage.

“Queen’s has a social responsibility to support students and colleagues who have been forcibly displaced. The need is great, and we will grow this initiative,” says Sandra den Otter, Vice Provost, International. “We recognize that people from all over the world suffer from forcible displacement and that marginalized people experience heightened barriers to finding sanctuary. This program is open to people from all geographic and social locations. We are committed to working with Queen’s colleagues and partners to ensure the ongoing equity of this program.”

The Principal’s Global Scholars and Fellows program originated from the recommendations of a campus working group tasked with operationalizing the global engagement elements of the new Queen’s Strategy, alongside activity to expand support for refugee students from Afghanistan who arrive on campus in September 2022. 

Advancement has created a donations page for the Principal’s Global Scholars and Fellows Program so that anyone who wishes to do so can contribute to the university’s support for at-risk people around the globe.

A tool to boost cancer care access

New index assesses need for radiotherapy equipment and can guide investments in cancer care infrastructure.

Linear accelerator (LINAC)
Radiation therapy is one of the pillars of cancer treatment. However, many countries lack the appropriate infrastructure, compromising access to cancer care. (National Cancer Institute/ Unsplash)

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is one of the pillars of curative oncology and plays a key role in providing better outcomes for patients with some of the most common cancers, like prostate or breast cancers. In high-income countries, over a half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy to cure or control the disease, and sometimes for palliative care. However, many developing countries still face radiotherapy equipment shortages that compromise access to even basic or standard cancer care.

In a study led by Queen’s and University of São Paulo (Brazil), researchers developed a new tool to help set priorities for radiotherapy infrastructure building: an index that combines information on linear accelerators (LINACs) – the primary technology used in radiation therapy – distribution, cancer incidence, and the distance patients need to travel to access radiotherapy services.

A pilot analysis was conducted using data from the public health system in Brazil. Results, published in Lancet Oncology show that all Brazilian states have insufficient numbers of LINACs. “There is a national LINAC shortage: Brazil has 121 per cent less than the required radiotherapy capacity,” highlights Fabio Ynoe de Moraes, oncologist and assistant professor in Queen’s Health Sciences, who led the study.

Although the situation is worse in Brazil's poorer regions, like Midwest, North, and Northeast, even states with stronger healthcare infrastructure face equipment shortages. Dr. Moraes was surprised to realize that only 30 per cent of cancer patients in the São Paulo state, the wealthiest in Brazil, are receiving radiation therapy. “Literature suggests that 50-60 per cent of patients should receive radiotherapy during their cancer journey,” he says.

Fabio Moraes
Fabio Ynoe de Moraes, oncologist and assistant professor in Queen’s Health Sciences.

Another concerning result is that, because some states have little to no available equipment, patients often must travel long distances to access therapy. For instance, the data show some patients in Amazonas needed to travel an average of 3,841 kilometers to São Paulo to receive treatment.

The team hopes the analysis can assist in public health planning, prioritizing regions with the most need for radiotherapy infrastructure. “Connecting to decision makers and high-level politicians is our end goal now in Brazil, but we know how challenging it can be. We started by engaging some key stakeholders, like the Brazilian societies supporting oncology and NGOs, and distributing our results via our social media networks,” says Dr. Moraes.

In addition to advocating for better cancer care in Brazil, Dr. Moraes and his colleagues also plan to use the same index to evaluate radiation therapy infrastructure in other countries, including Canada and the US.

“The problems of access and distribution of LINACS are not unique to Brazil,” Dr. Moraes states, noting that even higher-income countries face challenges regarding equality in cancer care. Even in these nation access to LINACs, he believes, is usually uneven and tends to benefit wealthier patients. 

In Canada, we see patients needing to travel hundreds of kilometers to reach a cancer care centre, and treatments can be limited by patients’ ability to access transportation or financial constraints. “If you consider that a standard radiotherapy treatment encompasses five to 35 visits to a cancer centre, it will translate to thousands of kilometres travelled, and also expenses on gas, hotel, food, and parking,” warns Dr. Moraes.

Accessing appropriate infrastructure, while fundamental for cancer care, is not all, and countries face additional challenges in guaranteeing long-term sustainability of radiation facilities, including training human resources, doing overtime maintenance and, when needed, upgrades. Regulatory, technical, and societal investments are also needed to expand access to radiation therapy, including, for instance, safety regulations, power supply chains, and meeting parking and road needs.

Dr. Moraes hopes that the new tool can be used to inform decisions regarding cancer care access worldwide. “We believe that the LS index can have a substantial impact on public health planning and investment not only in Brazil, but globally,” he says.

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