Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Research Prominence

Keeping up The Conversation

It’s a simple, but powerful, formula. Take one part leading academic research, add a dash of journalistic flair, and mix in a robust digital presence. It is this winning recipe that has earned The Conversation, an academic journalism website, the participation of thousands of researchers worldwide, and captured the attention of millions of citizens interested in news with a healthy dose of academic rigour.

The Conversation
Queen's is a founding member of the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation and, since its launch earlier this year, 33 articles by Queen's experts have been published.   

After a successful soft launch this summer, the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation is running at full steam, having published hundreds of researchers’ articles, including a number from Queen’s. The university is a founding member of the national news platform.

“Our participation in The Conversation relays the importance and impact of disseminating and promoting the leading-edge research and scholarship happening at Queen’s University,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “The Conversation is a powerful tool for community engagement and is already bolstering the efforts of our researchers to share their expertise and build profile.”

Over the course of the summer, over two dozen Queen’s academics contributed to The Conversation, sparking dialogue about the business of marijuana, how to improve the skills of tomorrow’s doctors, , recruiting more women to join the military, how to prevent irregular heartbeats, the meaning of The Tragically Hip’s lyrics, and more. These faculty and graduate students suggested topics, wrote columns, and submitted them to The Conversation. From there, professional journalists helped edit the articles to ensure consistency and clarity.

The Conversation’s unique model puts the researchers in the driver’s seat when sharing their expertise,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “It is increasingly important that we convey the impact of our research and ideas beyond the academy, and we believe tools such as The Conversation are filling that gap in a powerful way.”

THE STATS

The 33 articles published to date by Queen’s experts have garnered a combined 167,000 reads and 166 comments on The Conversation’s website. One of the most popular, and possibly most controversial, pieces was an article by David Maslove, Clinician Scientist with the Department of Medicine and Critical Care Program, about the need to regulate journalism in the same way his profession is regulated.

“Working with The Conversation’s editorial team was great, with turnaround times between drafts that were much faster than what I’m used to in traditional academic publishing,” says Dr. Maslove. “It was really gratifying to see the piece we created reach a wider audience and stimulate debate.”

Another notable Queen’s submission included Sarita Srivastava’s (Sociology) “I wanna be white!’ Can we change race? – a piece analyzing a recent controversy on transracialism. Dr. Srivastava’s piece led to an invitation for her to speak during a symposium on the matter held at the University of Alberta.

Sarita Srivastava
Sarita Srivastava

“Writing for The Conversation has been a wonderful opportunity to reach a wider audience and to comment on current events as they are happening,” says Dr. Srivastava. “Their editor was extremely skilled in working with me to write in a more journalistic style, while maintaining scholarly content. Within days of my article’s publication, I was invited to speak at an upcoming symposium on the same topic.”

Once the articles are posted to The Conversation’s website, they are shared with a large network of Canadian and international media organizations through a “Republish” feature and posting via The Canadian Press Wire service. The work of Queen’s academics has gone on to be featured in major North American newspapers such as The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News and The National Post, magazines like Scientific American, and national dailies as far away as Australia, where The Conversation was originally founded.

“In our first three months of publication, content from The Conversation Canada has been viewed almost two million times. Combining academic expertise with journalistic storytelling means we are reaching a wide audience across Canada and around the world at a time when the public is thirsting for reliable, fact-based information,” says Scott White, editor-in-chief of The Conversation Canada. “We're very pleased that Queen's has been with us from the very beginning, including a Day One story, as well as important articles on the country's health care system and the beauty of song lyrics, to name just a few.”

The Conversation is regularly seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Investing in research

QROF supports cancer research 
Last year, 20 Queen’s faculty members received QROF grants, including Parvin Mousavi (School of Computing) whose project is advancing multi-parametric imaging for augmenting the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer. A recipient of the International Fund, Dr. Mousavi is working within the Advanced Multimodal Image-guided Operating (AMIGO) suite at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School.
According to the American and Canadian Cancer Societies, 262,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually and these numbers are expected to double by 2025 when the baby boomer generation reaches the age of peak prevalence. Dr. Mousavi’s research will contribute to better diagnoses and risk stratification of prostate cancer, and help decrease its mortality and morbidity.

Letters of intent are being requested for two funding competitions open to researchers and scholars at Queen’s University – the 2017-2018 Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds (QROF) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant (SIG) competitions.

The QROF provides researchers and scholars financial support to accelerate their programs and research goals, and offers opportunities to leverage external funding to build on areas of institutional research strength. Through a federal government block grant provided to Queen’s by SSHRC, the recently-redesigned SIG competition supports social sciences and humanities researchers with funding for research project development, pilot study work, or to attend or run knowledge-mobilization activities like workshops, seminars or scholarly conferences.

“Championing research and scholarly excellence is a cornerstone of our mission at Queen’s University,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The QROF competition allows us to make our largest internal investment in research, scholarship and innovation by supporting researchers striving to take their work to the next level. With SSHRC's recent redesign of the allotment of funding from the SIG, we are poised to reinvigorate research in the social sciences and humanities, further strengthening scholarship in the SSHRC disciplines."

The QROF competition consists of four funds:

  • The Research Leaders’ Fund – for strategic institutional commitments to aspirational research in support of the university’s research strengths and priorities
  • The International Fund – to assist in augmenting the university’s international reputation through increased global engagement
  • The Arts Fund – designed to support artists and their contributions to the scholarly community and to advancing Queen’s University
  • The Post-Doctoral Fund – to both attract outstanding post-doctoral fellows to Queen’s and to support their contributions to research and to the university

The SIG competition provides funding through two granting programs:

  • SSHRC Explore Grants – support social sciences and humanities researchers at any career stage with funds to allow for small-scale research project development or pilot work, or to allow for participation of students in research projects
  • SSHRC Exchange Grants – support the organization of small-scale knowledge mobilization activities in order to encourage collaboration and dissemination of research results both within and beyond the academic community, as well as allow researchers to attend or present research at scholarly conferences and other venues to advance their careers and promote the exchange of ideas

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) has issued calls for letters of intent, and successful candidates will be invited to submit a full application. Information on each of the funds and the application processes can be found on the on the website of the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research). For more information, email ferrism@queensu.ca.

CFI invests in dark matter and optical science

Two Queen's University physicists awarded $4.8 million in funding.

Queen's University physics researchers Stephen Hughes and Anthony Noble, and their Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) collaborators, were awarded a combined $4.8 million in funding from the CFI Innovation Fund.

Dr. Noble’s team is building a next generation detector, PICO 500L, that will search for dark matter while Dr. Hughes and his CFI collaborators, including co-lead James Fraser, will establish a Queen’s Nanophotonics Research Centre to explore the behaviour of light and light-matter interactions on the nanometre scale.

The funding was announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, as part of a CFI investment of more than $554 million in 117 new infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges, and research hospitals across Canada.

Anthony Noble (l) and Stephen Hughes have been awarded $4.8 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

“This funding is critical to ensuring Queen’s researchers are competitive on the global stage and have the tools necessary to continue their innovative research and technology development,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “As one of the top-ranked research-intensive universities in Canada where physics is an area of institutional research strength, Queen’s will benefit greatly from this investment.”

According to Dr. Hughes, photonics is the science of generating, controlling, and detecting the fundamental particles of light (photons), and is now poised to be a key technological driver of the 21st century in much the same way that electronics were for the 20th century.

“However, as devices and optical structures continue to shrink, we have started to enter a new realm of optical technology termed 'nanophotonics,' wherein the behaviour of light on the nanometre scale, and of the interaction of nanometre-scale objects with light, is substantially different,” explains Dr. Hughes. “We propose to explore and exploit the optical science that will underpin next-generation nano and quantum optical technologies, while unlocking entirely new regimes of light-matter interaction.”

The PICO 500L detector will be located at the SNOLAB facility for astroparticle physics, located two kilometres underground in Sudbury.

“Building on prior success, the international PICO collaboration has embarked on a program to build a next generation detector,” says Dr. Noble, who is also director of the Canada Particle Astrophysics Research Centre. “This detector, PICO 500L, will employ a unique technology that will give it world-leading sensitivity in the search for the mysterious dark matter, which is known to pervade the Universe but has yet to be observed unambiguously on earth.”

For information on the Innovation Fund visit the website.

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.”


Celebrating research excellence

  • John Fisher, interim Vice-Principal (Research), welcomes guests to the celebration of research excellence, held in Stauffer Library's Alan G. Green Fireplace Reading Room. (University Communications)
    John Fisher, interim Vice-Principal (Research), welcomes guests to the celebration of research excellence, held in Stauffer Library's Alan G. Green Fireplace Reading Room. (University Communications)
  • Nobel Laureate Art McDonald speaks about the importance of the Fundamental Science Review, published earlier this year, during Friday's celebration of research excellence. (University Communications)
    Nobel Laureate Art McDonald speaks about the importance of the Fundamental Science Review, published earlier this year, during Friday's celebration of research excellence. (University Communications)
  • Scholars attending Friday's celebration of research excellence listen to Nobel Laureate Art McDonald as he speaks about the Fundamental Science Review. (University Communications)
    Scholars attending Friday's celebration of research excellence listen to Nobel Laureate Art McDonald as he speaks about the Fundamental Science Review. (University Communications)
  • Nobel Laureate Art McDonald chats with Amir Fam, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, ahead of his speaking engagement.  (University Communications)
    Nobel Laureate Art McDonald chats with Amir Fam, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, ahead of his speaking engagement. (University Communications)
  • The celebration of research excellence event honoured scholars who have received federal and provincial research funding for the first time, funding from the Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds (QROF) program, external research awards, and internal honours such as the Prizes for Excellence in Research. (University Communications)
    The celebration of research excellence event honoured scholars who have received federal and provincial research funding for the first time, funding from the Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds (QROF) program, external research awards, and internal honours such as the Prizes for Excellence in Research. (University Communications)

Queen’s scholars across disciplines were recognized at a celebration of research excellence on Sept. 29, held in the Alan G. Green Fireplace Reading Room in Stauffer Library.

Hosted by interim Vice-Principal (Research) John Fisher, the celebration honoured scholars who have received federal and provincial research funding for the first time, funding from the Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds (QROF) program, external research awards, and internal honours such as the Prizes for Excellence in Research. Notably, over the last year, Queen’s researchers have been the recipients of national and international honours from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

According to Maclean’s magazine, Queen’s scholars are highly decorated – ranking first in faculty awards and accolades from 2003-2012, and have since maintained the second spot.

Attendees also listened to Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald speak about the importance of the Fundamental Science Review (commonly referred to as the Naylor Report), published earlier this year. The report was commissioned by Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan and was developed by a panel of nine non-partisan experts that included Dr. McDonald. The report focuses on the importance of fundamental research support to Canada, and also to its global competitiveness.

Dr. McDonald urged guests to write to their federal Members of Parliament and Ministers to ensure that the recommendations outlined within the report lead to meaningful action. A statement issued by Principal Daniel Woolf in April upon the release of the report also shows Queen’s support for fundamental science advocacy. Resources to assist in writing a letter in support of the Fundamental Science Review can be found on the website of the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research).

Queen’s is a member of the U15 group of Canadian research-intensive universities, and our faculty and students are advancing research programs that have real world impact and are addressing global challenges.

True crime book by Queen’s Mafia expert becomes national TV series

Bad Blood actors Tony Nappo, Kim Coates, Anthony LaPaglia, and Enrico Colantoni. (City/Rogers Media)

Bestselling true crime novel Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War by Queen’s University lecturer and organized crime expert Antonio Nicaso has inspired Bad Blood, a six-part television drama that recently premiered on City TV.

Bad Blood stars Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace, Empire Records) as Montreal mobster Vito Rizzuto and centres around the kingpin's life and death as researched and recorded by Mr. Nicaso and his co-author, Toronto Star reporter Peter Edwards.

Antonio Nicaso (centre) with actor Kim Coates (left) and producer Mark Montefiore (right)
Antonio Nicaso (centre) with Bad Blood actor Kim Coates (left) and producer Mark Montefiore (right).

“It’s a great feeling to see your book turned into a television show, as it underlines the power of ideas,” says Mr. Nicaso. “I have spent most of my life trying to deconstruct the myth of mobsters to show that the real Mafia is not the one glamorized by Hollywood. I hope this series helps to remove old stereotypes.”

Mr. Nicaso is currently teaching courses at Queen’s on the social history of organized crime in Canada, and on Mafia culture and the power of symbols, rituals and myths.

It took him 20 years of research with Mr. Edwards to sculpt what would become their true crime non-fiction book. “We interviewed around 100 people, ranging from law enforcement and government officials, to people who knew Mr. Rizzuto and our sources within the underworld,” says Mr. Nicaso.

They combed through thousands of judicial documents, police reports, and municipal files to pull together a full picture of Mr. Rizzuto and his operations.

Mr. Rizzuto allegedly led a criminal empire that imported and distributed narcotics, laundered money, facilitated illegal gambling and loans, and contracted the murders of its opponents. More interesting to Mr. Nicaso were the repeated corruption investigations that connected multiple Montreal mayors, provincial politicians, engineering firms, and bureaucrats to Mr. Rizzuto’s illegal activities.

“The most important feature of a mobster is the ability to build relationships in the ‘Upperworld’ - relationships with politicians, businessmen, bankers, builders and union leaders,” says Mr. Nicaso. “The idea with the book, and now the television show, was to demonstrate that organized crime is entrenched in Canadian society, with infiltrations into many sectors of our economy.”

Mr. Nicaso provided expert testimony to the Charbonneau Commission during its 30-month long examination of organized crime and corruption in Quebec. Despite uncovering that corruption in the province was far more prevalent than previously believed, few sweeping changes were implemented after the report’s 2015 release.

“There is no political will to fight the Mafia and corruption in Canada,” says Mr. Nicaso. “We have to nurture a new generation of thinkers who can look past the glorification of the Mafia and who can continue to push for reforms.”

While Bad Blood is the first television show based on one of Mr. Nicaso’s works, he is also the bestselling author of 30 books focused on Mafia and related criminal organizations. He is also an award-winning journalist and regularly consulted by governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world on issues of organized crime.

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 National Scholar wins prestigious Trudeau Fellowship

Norman Vorano giving a lecture.
Dr. Vorano discusses the North Baffin Drawings with guests at Queen's Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Queen’s National Scholar Norman Vorano has been named as one of only five recipients of a prestigious Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship – one of the most competitive awards available to humanities and social science scholars in Canada.

Dr. Vorano, assistant professor in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation and curator of Indigenous art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, was recognized for his work with Indigenous communities in the Canadian Arctic to record, understand, and share Inuit art history. Through innovative public outreach, his career-long efforts have sought to transcend cultural and generational boundaries so Indigenous voices are central in shaping how their history is shared.

Dr. Norman Vorano
Dr. Norman Vorano

“I am truly honoured to receive this fellowship from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation,” says Dr. Vorano. “I am also humbled by the task ahead, to continue to build a collaborative research network of individuals and communities across the North who share in the belief that our public museums, schools, and universities can do more to promote cross-cultural understanding, empathy, reconciliation, and community health.”

This unique recognition speaks to the nationally important collections curated by Dr. Vorano and heightens awareness of Indigenous art in Canada.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Vorano on being named a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellow,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This major award speaks to the quality and significance of his contributions to arts and culture in our country. His collaborative work with Northern communities to preserve and share these collections stands as a shining example of how history can and should be written to reflect the experiences of all Canadians.”

In 2017, Dr. Vorano debuted a travelling exhibition of Inuit sketches originally collected by Terry Ryan, an arts advisor in Cape Dorset who journeyed to three North Baffin communities in 1964 and invited people to use pencil and paper to record their traditional knowledge before encroaching Southern influences transformed their way of life.

The exhibition featured a selection of sketches created around Clyde River, Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet alongside video and audio commentary that Dr. Vorano collected from some of those very same artists, their descendants and communities more than 50 years after the drawings were made.

Dr. Vorano in Clyde River, Nunavut. (Aug. 2015)

“Showcasing this collection, particularly in Northern venues, has been a vital first step in reconnecting communities in Nunavut with this vast and profoundly important record of their heritage,” says Dr. Vorano, who will use the $225,000 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship to fund the second phase of the project. “The next step is to work with the communities to build a culturally-appropriate reciprocal network that links this collection, and possibly other Arctic collections from museums around the world, to their communities of origin.

The creation of this ‘Arctic Cultural Heritage Research Network’ (ACHRN) is premised on the understanding that access to cultural heritage promotes health and well-being. The ultimate goal of this digital platform is to provide all Inuit, including educators and heritage workers in Nunavut, access to heritage collections stored in southern museums – collections from which they are largely alienated.

Every year, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation awards up to five fellowships to individuals recognized for their productivity, their commitment to communicating their findings to the public and their ability to devise innovative solutions to some of the major issues facing Canada and the world.

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.”

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Research Prominence