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World-class cardiopulmonary research facility opens

Queen's CardioPulmonary Unit to conduct heart, lung, blood and vascular research.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science have jointly awarded $7.7 million in funding to establish a new, state-of-the art facility, the Queen’s CardioPulmonary Unit (QCPU) which opened its doors to the public for the first time on Friday, Oct. 6.

"Stephen Archer speaks during the launch event for the Queen’s CardioPulmonary Unit"
Stephen L. Archer, Head of Medicine at Queen’s University, speaks during the launch event for the Queen’s CardioPulmonary Unit on Friday, Oct. 6, at the Biosciences Complex.

The new QCPU, housed within the Queen’s Biosciences Complex, allows the team to conduct world-class, transformative heart, lung, blood and vascular research to identify novel therapeutic targets and evaluate them in preclinical studies. The QCPU team will then translate these preclinical discoveries to humans through investigator-initiated clinical trials located in Kingston, Ottawa, Edmonton, Chicago, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

QCPU is the brainchild of Stephen L. Archer, Head of Medicine at Queen’s University and recipient of a prestigious Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Translational Medicine. QCPU is a catalyst that accelerates research and discovery.

“Unique aspects of QCPU include the assembly of potent research teams and the provision of state-of-the-art tools that exist in very few centres in Canada or indeed globally,” says Dr. Archer.

QCPU is integrated with Kingston Health Sciences Centre, designated as a hospital satellite, and offers a state-of-the-art cardiac ultrasound facility and cardiopulmonary testing facility to explore why patients with heart and lung diseases are short of breath. In addition, there are exam rooms for patients in clinical trials.

On the basic science side, QCPU has a two-photon confocal intra vital microscope, allowing scientists to peer inside organs, blood vessels and cells. There is also a micro-PET-SPECT-CT to study preclinical models of human disease, says Dr. Archer. Finally, QCPU has advanced facilities for cell culture, protein chemistry and a NexGen sequencer to assess the role of the human genome and epigenome in disease.

“QCPU also supports patients who are participating in clinical trials, and connects them with scientists who study disease mechanisms and clinician investigators who are inventing new more effective treatments. The air that investigators and students breathe in QCPU is perfumed with creativity and a sense of discovery that focuses them on the identification of cures for heart, lung, blood, and vascular diseases. They are inspired and informed by the patients who pass through our center,” says Dr. Archer.

The network will also patent and commercialize its discoveries through partnerships with PARTEQ Innovations, Queen’s technology transfer group.

"QCPU will introduce a novel structure in which scientists who pursue the fundamental secrets of cells align with clinician investigators. This holds great promise for drug development and new therapies. Based on a model of research that is at its heart translational in nature, development will be directed by this unique interaction at the interstices of biomedical research,” says John Fisher, interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Due to the comprehensive ‘bench to bedside’ scope of QCPU research, its investigators have profound control over the discovery-therapy pipeline, so that novel approaches and targets identified in preclinical studies can be moved into multicenter, investigator-initiated trials throughout North and South America.”


How healthy is the Canadian health care system?

 

File 20170828 1612 bhj9um
Our rapidly aging society will place even greater pressure on the already expensive and mediocre Canadian health-care system. (Shutterstock)
 

Canada’s health-care system is a point of Canadian pride. We hold it up as a defining national characteristic and an example of what makes us different from Americans. The system has been supported in its current form, more or less, by parties of all political stripes — for nearly 50 years.

 

Our team at the Queen’s University School of Policy Studies Health Policy Council is a group of seasoned and accomplished health-care leaders in health economics, clinical practice, education, research and health policy. We study, teach and comment on health policy and the health-care system from multiple perspectives.

While highly regarded, Canada’s health-care system is expensive and faces several challenges. These challenges will only be exacerbated by the changing health landscape in an aging society. Strong leadership is needed to propel the system forward into a sustainable health future.

A national health insurance model

The roots of Canada’s system lie in Saskatchewan, when then-premier Tommy Douglas’s left-leaning Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government first established a provincial health insurance program. This covered universal hospital (in 1947) and then doctors’ costs (in 1962). The costs were shared 50/50 with the federal government for hospitals beginning in 1957 and for doctors in 1968.

This new model inspired fierce opposition from physicians and insurance groups but proved extremely popular with the people of Saskatchewan and elsewhere. Throughout the 1960s, successive provincial and territorial governments adopted the “Saskatchewan model” and in 1972 the Yukon Territory was the last sub-national jurisdiction to adopt it.


Read this article in French: Système de santé canadien : un bilan en demi-teinte


In 1968, the National Medical Care Insurance Act was implemented, in which the federal government agreed to contribute 50 per cent toward the cost of provincial insurance plans. In 1984 the Canada Health Act outlawed the direct billing of patients supplementary to insurance payments to physicians.

The five core principles of the Canadian system were now established: universality (all citizens are covered), comprehensiveness (all medically essential hospital and doctors’ services), portability (among all provinces and territories), public administration (of publicly funded insurance) and accessibility.

For the last 50 years, Canada’s health-care system has remained essentially unchanged despite numerous pressures.

Long wait times

The quality of the Canadian health-care system has been called into question, however, for several consecutive years now by the U.S.-based Commonwealth Fund. This is a highly respected, non-partisan organization that annually ranks the health-care systems of 11 nations. Canada has finished either ninth or 10th now for several years running.

One challenge for Canadian health care is access. Most Canadians have timely access to world-class care for urgent and emergent problems like heart attacks, strokes and cancer care. But for many less urgent problems they typically wait as long as many months or even years.

Patients who require hip or knee replacements, shoulder or ankle surgery, cataract surgery or a visit with a specialist for a consultation often wait far longer than is recommended. Many seniors who are not acutely ill also wait in hospitals for assignment to a long-term care facility, for months and, on occasion, years.

Canada ranks 9th out of 11 countries in The Commonwealth Fund ‘Mirror, Mirror 2017’ report.
 

And it’s not just accessibility that is the problem. Against measures of effectiveness, safety, coordination, equity, efficiency and patient-centredness, the Canadian system is ranked by the Commonwealth Fund as mediocre at best. We have an expensive system of health care that is clearly under-performing.

A landscape of chronic disease

How is it that Canada has gone from a world leader to a middle- (or maybe even a bottom-) of-the-pack performer?

Canada and Canadians have changed, but our health-care system has not adapted. In the 1960s, health-care needs were largely for the treatment of acute disease and injuries. The hospital and doctor model was well-suited to this reality.

Medical care offered in homes can be more efficient and comfortable than hospital visits. (Shutterstock)
 

Today, however, the health-care landscape is increasingly one of chronic disease. Diabetes, dementia, heart failure, chronic lung disease and other chronic conditions characterize the health-care profiles of many Canadian seniors.

Hospitals are still needed, to be sure. But increasingly, the population needs community-based solutions. We need to “de-hospitalize” the system to some degree so that we can offer care to Canadians in homes or community venues. Expensive hospitals are no place for seniors with chronic diseases.

Another major challenge for Canadian health care is the narrow scope of services covered by provincial insurance plans. “Comprehensiveness” of coverage, in fact, applies only to physician and hospital services. For many other important services, including dental care, out-of-hospital pharmaceuticals, long-term care, physiotherapy, some homecare services and many others, coverage is provided by a mixture of private and public insurance and out-of-pocket payments beyond the reach of many low-income Canadians.

And this is to say nothing of the social determinants of health, like nutrition security, housing and income. None of these have ever been considered a part of the health-care “system,” even though they are just as important to Canadians’ health as doctors and hospital services are.

Aging population, increasing costs

Canada’s health-care system is subject to numerous pressures.

First of all, successive federal governments have been effectively reducing their cash contributions since the late 1970s when tax points were transferred to the provinces and territories. Many worry that if the federal share continues to decline as projected, it will become increasingly difficult to achieve national standards. The federal government may also lose the moral authority to enforce the Canada Health Act.

A second challenge has been the increasing cost of universal hospital insurance. As economic growth has waxed and waned over time, governments have increased their health budgets at different rates. In 2016, total spending on health amounted to approximately 11.1 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product); in 1975, it was about 7 per cent of GDP.

Overall, total spending on health care in Canada now amounts to over $6,000 (US$4,790) per citizen. Compared to comparably developed countries, Canada’s health-care system is definitely on the expensive side.

Canada’s aging population will apply additional pressure to the health-care system over the next few years as the Baby Boom generation enters their senior years. In 2014, for the first time in our history, there were more seniors than children in Canada.

The fact that more Canadians are living longer and healthier than ever before is surely a towering achievement for our society, but it presents some economic challenges. On average, it costs more to provide health care for older people.

In addition, some provinces (the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and British Columbia in particular) are aging faster than the others. This means that these provinces, some of which face the prospects of very modest economic growth, will be even more challenged to keep up with increasing health costs in the coming years.

Actions we can take now

The failure of our system to adapt to Canadians’ changing needs has left us with a very expensive health-care system that delivers mediocre results. Canadians should have a health-care system that is truly worthy of their confidence and trust. There are four clear steps that could be taken to achieve this:

1. Integration and innovation

Health-care stakeholders in Canada still function in silos. Hospitals, primary care, social care, home care and long-term care all function as entities unto themselves. There is poor information sharing and a general failure to serve common patients in a coordinated way. Ensuring that the patient is at the centre — regardless of where or by whom they are being served — will lead to better, safer, more effective and less expensive care. Investments in information systems will be key to the success of these efforts.

2. Enhanced accountability

Those who serve Canadians for their health-care needs need to transition to accountability models focused on outcomes rather than outputs. Quality and effectiveness should be rewarded rather than the amount of service provided. Alignment of professional, patient and system goals ensures that everyone is pulling their oars in the same direction.

3. Broaden the definition of comprehensiveness

We know many factors influence the health of Canadians in addition to doctors’ care and hospitals. So why does our “universal” health-care system limit its coverage to doctors’ and hospital services? A plan that seeks health equity would distribute its public investment across a broader range of services. A push for universal pharmacare, for example, is currently under way in Canada. Better integration of health and social services would also serve to address more effectively the social determinants of health.

4. Bold leadership

The ConversationBold leadership from both government and the health sector is essential to bridge the gaps and break down the barriers that have entrenched the status quo. Canadians need to accept that seeking improvements and change does not mean sacrificing the noble ideals on which our system was founded. On the contrary, we must change to honour and maintain those ideals. Our leaders should not be afraid to set aspirational goals.

Chris Simpson, Professor of Medicine and Vice-Dean (Clinical), School of Medicine; David Walker, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Executive Director of the School of Policy Studies; Don Drummond, Stauffer-Dunning Fellow in Global Public Policy and Adjunct Professor at the School of Policy Studies; Duncan Sinclair, Professor of Health Services and Policy Research; and Ruth Wilson, Professor of Family Medicine.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Celebrating a unique international partnership

Representatives from the University of Gondar, Queen’s University and the Mastercard Foundation highlight US$24 million collaboration 

  • Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf, Kim Kerr, Deputy Director, Education and Learning, Mastercard Foundation and Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar exchange university flags to mark the partnership. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf, Kim Kerr, Deputy Director, Education and Learning, Mastercard Foundation and Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar exchange university flags to mark the partnership. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
  • PhD student Molalign Adugna, Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar, chat with Principal Daniel Woolf and Marcia Finlayson, Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director of School of Rehabilitation Therapy. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    PhD student Molalign Adugna, Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar, chat with Principal Daniel Woolf and Marcia Finlayson, Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director of School of Rehabilitation Therapy. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
  • A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony was part of the celebration, featuring freshly roasted beans. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony was part of the celebration, featuring freshly roasted beans. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
  • Guests at the launch event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, also enjoyed Ethiopian bread and other traditional foods. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    Guests at the launch event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, also enjoyed Ethiopian bread and other traditional foods. (Photo by Stephen Wild)

It takes plenty of behind the scenes work to get a 10-year, multi-million dollar program up and running. Over the past nine months, people at the University of Gondar and Queen’s University have been working closely with the Mastercard Foundation to put in place all the supports needed to launch the unique international academic and research program.

This week, representatives from all three organizations gathered in the Agnes Etherington Art Centre to celebrate accomplishments so far and to highlight the opportunities the

[Mastercard Scholars Foundation logo]

Learn more about The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

US$24 million partnership will bring. Its overarching aim is to create outstanding and inclusive educational opportunities for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. At the same time, Queen’s will be welcoming University of Gondar faculty members who are dedicated to pursuing their PhDs or Masters.

“I want to acknowledge the vision of the Mastercard Foundation and particularly commend their leadership for choosing a program with such great social purpose,” said Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “It is the beginning of a partnership and the beginning of an exchange of cultures and knowledge that will benefit all of us.”

Under the partnership, 450 African students will become Mastercard Scholars and receive a high quality education at the University of Gondar. In total, the University will provide 290 undergraduate and 160 master’s level degrees in multidisciplinary fields that will encompass health sciences, law, education, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences, taking special care to recruit young people with disabilities, as well as young people from conflict-affected countries.

The University of Gondar will also deliver an annual Summer Leadership Camp for Scholars across the program, as well as a robust, practicum-based experiential program focused on giving back to community, through service and leadership skill development in the field of community-based rehabilitation.

For its part, Queen’s will be providing 60 University of Gondar’s faculty members with an opportunity to study here -- 16 in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program and 44 in PhD programs in various disciplines across the university. All faculty members who will study at Queen’s will enhance their skills in innovative pedagogy and in topics related to disability and inclusion on the continent.

The project will also offer funding for collaborative research to be conducted jointly on disability, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), and inclusive education, with co-Principal Investigators from the University of Gondar and from Queen’s.

The University of Gondar and Queen’s University will also collaborate to develop Ethiopia’s first Undergraduate Occupational Therapy program and will create a CBR certificate program for Mastercard Scholars at the University of Gondar.

“Along with the Mastercard Foundation, I would also like to thank Queen’s University for being an exceptional partner in providing high-caliber expertise in the areas of faculty development, research, and community based rehabilitation,” said Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic at the University of Gondar. “Global partnerships such at this are crucial to realizing our ambition to change the world for the better.”

Also sharing their thoughts at the event, were the first two University of Gondar faculty members to arrive at Queen’s to begin work on their PhDs.

“From my experience in teaching and administration, I have observed there is a great need for inclusion, visibility and equal access to education and employment for students with disabilities in Ethiopia,” said Molalighn Adugna, PhD Student. “I am very excited to be one of the 60 faculty who will receive further training here at this remarkable institution in order to return and support the vision of the University of Gondar to serve the community.”

Both students arrived in June and will be here for the next two years, before heading back to UoG to complete their dissertations.

“When I complete my study, I will pass my knowledge, skills and experiences to the next generation through teaching, research and most importantly by serving my community through strengthening clinical care,” said Mulugeta Chala, PhD student. “I want to thank the Mastercard Foundation for realizing this need and creating the opportunity for African youth like me to learn and prosper.”

Worldwide, the Mastercard Foundation runs a network of 28 Scholars Programs that provide education and leadership development for nearly 35,000 bright, young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them.

“There are more than 80 million people across Africa who are living with disabilities and these young men and women deserve an inclusive education that’s designed to help them thrive, and professors and faculty that are committed to ensuring that they develop their skills,” said Kim Kerr, Deputy Director, Education and Learning, Mastercard Foundation. “The Mastercard Foundation played a role in bringing your institutions together based on common objectives, but your vision, commitment, and your passion for working together has truly exceeded all of our expectations.”

Over the coming weeks, the Gazette will continue its coverage of this partnership with a look at some of the experiences of students and faculty taking part in the program so far.

Visit Flickr to see more photos of the Mastercard celebration.

Queen’s surgical pioneer receives top health science award

Queen’s University researcher John Rudan (Surgery) has been formally inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Fellowship, one of Canada’s premier academic honours. An internationally recognized trailblazer in orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Rudan was selected for his global leadership, academic performance and scientific creativity.

"John Rudan"
John Rudan (Surgery) has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Fellowship, one of Canada’s premier academic honour, for his global leadership, academic performance and scientific creativity. (University Communications)

“I am extremely honoured to be elected as a fellow to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences,” says Dr. Rudan, Head of the Department of Surgery at Queen’s and the Britton Smith Chair in Surgery. “Throughout my career I’ve remained focused on the innovative clinical outcomes of research so as to improve quality of life for patients sooner. I owe this recognition to an interdisciplinary approach that brought together a variety of expert perspectives to solve complex problems.”

Notably, Dr. Rudan helped to establish the Human Mobility Research Centre (HMRC), which engages experts in tissue biology, kinematics, biomaterials and imaging to improve clinical practice in orthopaedics. Within this group of clinicians, basic scientists, and electrical, mechanical and software engineers, he was able to pioneer many new treatments and technologies.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Rudan has engineered several procedures, including the design and implementation of computer-assisted surgeries – even performing the world’s first-ever computer-assisted knee re-alignment.

“Dr. Rudan is an accomplished researcher whose clinical research innovations have greatly improved patient health and mobility,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s University. “This recognition speaks to his research excellence, his forward-thinking approach to surgical science and his desire to continually improve operative and post-operative care. On behalf of Queen’s, I extend my sincerest congratulations on this important award.”

Dr. Rudan’s efforts to integrate computer-assisted procedures into the operating theatre have generated over 240 peer-reviewed publications and over $20 million in grant funding.

Impressively, Dr. Rudan is also a named inventor on 23 patent applications and 20 patents worldwide – a testament to his ability to identify and fix clinical problems using an approach that expedites the manner in which technologies are prototyped and clinically validated.

“My philosophy in orthopaedics recognizes that as much as it is my personal goal to improve the mobility and function of my patients, surgical intervention will never fully recreate the exquisite engineering of the human skeleton,” says Dr. Rudan. “That said, by drawing on expertise across disciplines we can continue to design solutions that will vastly improve patient care.”

New scientific director for Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) has a new scientific director with David Pedlar being appointed for a five-year term beginning Dec. 1.

"David Pedlar"
David Pedlar begins his five-year term as scientific director of CIMVHR on Dec. 1 (Supplied Photo)

Dr. Pedlar brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and leadership to CIMVHR and, since 2002, held the position of national director of research for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).

CIMVHR is partnered with 37 universities across Canada. The institute acts as a channel between the academic community, government organizations, industry and similar international organizations to address the health and well-being of military personnel, veterans and their families. 

Dr. Pedlar built VAC’s research capacity by founding and growing the department’s research directorate, executed numerous research programs on veteran health, and led the groundbreaking Life After Service Studies program of research in partnership with Statistics Canada and the Department of National Defence.

At Queen’s, Dr. Pedlar will join the School of Rehabilitation Therapy as a professor in the physical therapy program. He previously held the positions of adjunct professor at both the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Prince Edward Island and the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. In 2015, he was named the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Military Social Work at the University of Southern California where he continues as an International Affiliated Faculty at the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families.

For further information see the news release announcing Dr. Pedlar’s appointment.

Dean recognized for outstanding achievement

Dr. Ian Bowmer and Dr. Karen Shaw of the Medical Council of Canada present Dr. Richard Reznick with his award.
Dr. Ian Bowmer and Dr. Karen Shaw of the Medical Council of Canada present Dr. Richard Reznick with his award. (Supplied Photo)

Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has been named the recipient of the Medical Council of Canada’s 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award in the Evaluation of Clinical Competence. The award is given to an individual who has made a significant and vital achievement in the field of assessment and evaluation of clinical and professional competence in the health professions.

“The Medical Council of Canada has been pursuing its vision to strive for the highest level of medical care for Canadians through excellence in the evaluation of physicians for over 100 years,” says Dr. Reznick. “So to be recognized by an organization that has contributed so much to the excellent standards of health care we have in Canada is truly an honour.”

The international jury responsible for selecting the recipient chose to recognize Dr. Reznick for his leadership within the Medical Council of Canada and at Queen’s University, along with his innovative educational approaches.

Dr. Reznick notes that it was the Medical Council of Canada that gave him his first big break as a young surgeon who was interested in medical education. It was there that he led a national committee to develop the first objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) for national licensure in Canada (and in the world) – an examination that is still used to demonstrate competence in thousands of medical trainees each year.

At Queen’s, Dr. Reznick has overseen the development of new educational programs, such as the Clinician Investigator Program, an intensive, research-based postgraduate medical education program which aims to develop the next generation of Clinician Scientist research leaders; the Queen’s combined MD/PhD program; the Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS); and a fully-online Bachelor of Health Sciences. Recently, he led the charge for competency-based medical education, making Queen’s the first university in Canada to fully deploy this new methodology across all of its specialty programs. Dr. Reznick has also deepened the Faculty of Health Science’s focus on research.

“We are delighted to award Dr. Reznick with the Outstanding Achievement Award,” says Dr. Ian Bowmer, Executive Director and CEO of the Medical Council of Canada. “Richard has made tremendous contributions to medical education and assessment. We are very pleased that this year’s award recipient has such deep roots within the Medical Council of Canada, including as the Chair of the Examination Development Advisory Committee for many years. As a father of the MCC’s Qualifying Examination Part II, Richard has had a tremendous impact on how we assess clinical skills for licensure in Canada.”

In addition to serving as Dean, a position he has held since 2010, Dr. Reznick is Chief Executive Officer of the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Association, a professor in the Department of Surgery, and a member of the boards of Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care.

The award was presented to Dr. Reznick Sunday night at the Medical Council of Canada’s annual general meeting in Ottawa.

Canadian research leaders elected to College

Early-career Queen’s researchers honoured by the Royal Society of Canada.

See also:
A Royal Honour
Royal Society of Canada recognizes three Queen’s University faculty members as RSC fellows. (September 7, 2016)

Two Queen’s University faculty members have been named to the Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists program. The Members of the College are research leaders who, at an early stage in their career, have demonstrated a high level of achievement these elections are indicative of the research excellence fostered at Queen’s.

Katherine McKittrick’s (Gender Studies) research focuses include black studies, gender studies, history and literature while Karen Yeates (Medicine) is focused on bringing healthcare expertise to impoverished areas of Africa including Tanzania.

The New College program recognizes an emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership and seeks to gather scholars, artists and scientists at a highly productive stage of their careers into a single collegium where new advances in understanding will emerge from the interaction of diverse intellectual, cultural and social perspectives.

Karen Yeates

“The College opens the doors of the RSC to early and mid-career scholars and researchers, and provides them an opportunity to contribute to the promotion of learning and research,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The researchers elected as part of the 2017 Membership are great representatives of the diverse range of leading edge and innovative research being undertaken by our younger colleagues on campuses across Canada.”

Dr. Yeates’ implementation science research program brings healthcare expertise to Tanzania and other nations using mobile phone technology. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mobile health research, and she has been praised internationally for her contributions to disease screening and prevention.

“I thought my research program wouldn’t really fit the metric of the scientist but this honour gives me motivation to keep pushing forward,” says Dr. Yeates.

Katherine McKittrick

Dr. McKittrick’s scholarly work looks at the links between the theories of race, liberation and creative texts in relation to the fields of geography, cultural studies, black studies and gender studies where her work on interdisciplinary and anti-colonial intellectual thought is widely recognized.

“I’m still very early in my career so this award is a deep honour,” says Dr. McKittrick. “To have a scholar who works on questions of black liberation recognized by the RSC is very exciting.”

For more information on the New College visit the website.

Investigating the genes and proteins behind bleeding disorders

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research awards substantial funding to professor David Lillicrap.

Queen’s University professor and one of the leading researchers in common inherited bleeding disorders David Lillicrap has received a $3.55 million Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Grant.

“This funding will be used to support our program of research focused on the molecular science of the two most common inherited bleeding disorders – hemophilia and von Willebrand disease,” says Dr. Lillicrap (Pathology and Molecular Medicine). “These studies involve the application of a range of molecular approaches to understand the pathological basis, enhance the detection and improve the treatment of these conditions.” 

David Lillicrap has earned a Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr. Lillicrap’s research focuses on the genes and proteins that are deficient or defective in hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Both conditions are lifelong bleeding disorders in which blood doesn’t clot correctly. Until recently, the treatment of these disorders has involved frequent injections of the missing clotting factor protein, but work conducted by Dr. Lillicrap’s group has shown that gene therapy is a feasible approach to deliver long-term benefits and a possible cure of the bleeding problem.

“Dr. Lillicrap’s research has led to innovative strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of the world's most commonly-inherited bleeding diseases,” says Dr. John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  “His novel findings, now being applied to clinical care worldwide, are improving the quality of life for patients with inherited bleeding disorders, and this significant investment from the CIHR will help to further this work.”

Dr. Lillicrap says the funding is the most significant operating grant his laboratory has received and will allow him to establish and complete more long-range goals. It will also enhance his work with the Queen's Clinical and Molecular Hemostasis Research Group, run by Dr. Lillicrap and Paula James.

“Many of our studies involve interactions between our two laboratories and include the exchange of knowledge, reagents and valuable research resources,” says Dr. Lillicrap. “We believe that our program is successful in part because we have complementary areas of research interest - the Lillicrap group is focused more on basic/molecular aspects of these diseases and the James group more on clinical and population based research.”

“Both groups share an overlapping interest in certain aspects of molecular and cellular pathology - one example being how blood vessel lining cells (endothelial cells) function in these bleeding diseases.”

He joins three other Queen’s faculty members who currently hold Foundation grants. The grants are designed to contribute to a sustainable foundation of established health research leaders.

For more information visit the CIHR website.

Researchers revolutionize cardiac procedure

Queen’s doctors first in Canada to successfully complete operation to treat patients who suffer from common heart condition.

Queen’s University researchers Gianluigi Bisleri (Surgery) and Benedict Glover (Medicine) became the first doctors in Canada to compete a hybrid cardiac ablation procedure. The procedure, which was completed at the Kingston Health Science Centre, is a treatment for patients who suffer from the heart condition atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate.

The new procedure will help patients heal faster, stop or reduce their use of medication, as well as reduce the number of future hospital visits that they require.

“No other centre or clinician has ever performed this hybrid procedure (combining a closed-chest surgical ablation with a transcatheter mapping) in Canada,” explains Dr. Bisleri. “Furthermore, the use of the Ensite Precision cardiac mapping system makes this procedure even more unique, since maybe only other one centre in the United States may have done this procedure so far.”

Ensite Precision technology provides highly detailed models and maps of the heart: Dr. Glover was the first cardiologist in North America to utilize this technology in late 2016.

"Patients have historically relied on medication along with traditional cardiac ablation procedures to help restore normal heart rhythms. During a traditional ablation procedure, physicians create scars inside the heart which prevent abnormal electrical signals from moving through the heart tissue. This traditional approach is typically performed either by inserting long, flexible tubes with wires into the heart through the patient’s groin or by using more invasive surgical approaches that often require opening the chest and stopping the heart," says Dr. Glover.

With the new procedure, a cardiologist uses digital technology to map the inside of the heart while the surgeon performs ablation on the outside of the heart using another specialized device. This requires only three keyhole incisions to navigate to the heart, removing the need to open a patient’s chest.

“So far, we have performed two cases and we are planning to continue performing two cases per month during the early stages of this newly developed program. We obviously have plans to further expand our volumes in the near future, since a larger majority of patients could benefit from this innovative strategy,” says Dr. Bisleri. “The outcomes have been excellent to date.Both patients underwent the hybrid procedure successfully and without perioperative complications, with a restoration of normal sinus rhythm at almost two months of follow-up.”

According to Dr. Bisleri, this procedure will also help reduce wait times, especially for patients who have received unsuccessful treatments so far.

“We are committed to further expand our understanding of the mechanisms of atrial fibrillation and the effects of ablation on it. We will also analyze the mid-long term outcomes of this patient population, as we envision this procedure has the potential not only to benefit the single patient but the healthcare system overall by reducing the need for repeated hospitalization or the likelihood to develop heart failure in the long term.”

School of Rehabilitation Therapy marks 50th anniversary

Fifty years ago, Dr. David Symington proposed that Queen’s University establish the School of Rehabilitation Therapy in order to respond to shortages of occupational and physical therapists locally and nationally.

MOMENTS IN TIME
• Master’s program in Rehabilitation Science approved and accepts its first students, 1988.
• Director Malcolm Peat leads the creation of the International Centre for Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR), 1991.
• Admission criteria for BSc programs change, requiring a minimum of one year of university education with specific prerequisites, 1997.
• The School of Medicine and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy were joined by the School of Nursing to become the current Faculty of Health Sciences, 1998.
• PhD program in Rehabilitation Science implemented, 2000.
• DSc in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership (DSc RHL), a professional doctorate program, receives approval in 2017 for implementation in 2018.

This year, the School celebrates a 50 year legacy of contributing to the everyday lives of individuals and communities across the globe through the work of its graduates, students, faculty, and staff.

“The initial request to establish the School was sent January 9, 1967 to Dean Edmund Harry Botterell,” says Marcia Finlayson (Director, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Vice-Dean, Health Sciences). “The request was positively received, and it was decided to establish a School of Rehabilitation Therapy with two divisions - occupational therapy and physical therapy.”

By September of that same year, the school was accepting its first cohort of students into its three-year diploma programs in either occupational therapy or physical therapy.  When it launched, the school was located in Brockington House and Dr. Symington was its director.  Muriel Driver oversaw the occupational therapy program while Dr. Roy Walmsley oversaw the physical therapy program.

A lot has changed over 50 years. The School of Rehabilitation Therapy relocated to the Louise D. Acton Building in 1972, where it remains today. Incoming cohorts of occupational therapy and physical therapy students have grown from 20 to 148 students, and the credentials for each discipline have evolved from a three-year diploma, to a four-year Bachelor of Science (1972), to a Master of Science (2004).   

Additional programs have been developed and launched over the years including a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science (1988), a PhD in Rehabilitation Science (2000), a Graduate Diploma and Master of Science in Aging and Health (2015), and a PhD in Aging and Health (2016). In 2017, the School received approval to launch a Doctor of Science in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership, commencing in May 2018. The student population of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy has grown to over 350 and, since inception, over 3,500 students have graduated from the School. 

“The growth and evolution of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy is a testament to the quality of our educational programs, the growing roles of occupational therapists and physical therapists across the health care system, and our commitment to research that informs and advances rehabilitation practice,” says Dr. Finlayson.

Over the anniversary year, members of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, along with a committee of alumni, have been collaborating on a variety of celebratory activities in honour of this important milestone, culminating with a Gala taking place in Kingston on Saturday, September 23rd.

The Gala is an evening event with dinner and music that celebrates the School’s five decades of academic achievement.  Guests will be treated to a proclamation by Kingston’s Town Crier, Chris Wyman, musical entertainment, a retrospective slideshow and a collection of donated artifacts and memorabilia including the graduation gown worn by Muriel Driver when she received her BSc degree from Queen’s. In addition to alumni attendees from across the School’s 50 years, invitees will include current and former directors, faculty, and staff.

For more information on the School’s 50th Anniversary and the upcoming Gala dinner event, please visit the website.

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