Connections >> May 2015

22 May 2015


Latest MSFHR News

National survey shows strong support for health research

A strong majority of Canadians believe health research makes important contributions to health care and the economy, according to a new public opinion poll commissioned by Research Canada. MSFHR collaborated on this survey with Research Canada and other national partners, including our provincial counterpart, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation.

For the first time, we commissioned a BC-specific sample, and we are encouraged by the fact that British Columbians are committed to health research and health innovation in Canada.

In fact, 89 percent of British Columbians view health and medical research as making important contributions to the Canadian health-care system. And three quarters of British Columbians say health and medical research makes important contributions to the Canadian economy.

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Enzyme could hold the key to changing blood type

Every sixty seconds, someone in Canada needs blood.

The ability to give any blood type to any recipient represents a dream scenario that would dramatically reduce blood shortages. Thanks to new research by a team from the University of British Columbia — including five current or former MSFHR award holders — that dream is one step closer.

In a new study, the UBC researchers outline their creation of an enzyme with the potential to turn Type A or B blood into the universal Type O. The study’s lead author is Dr. David Kwan, a 2011 MSFHR Trainee.

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Partnership yields high-impact promise for better brain health

A new discovery that may prevent dangerous brain swelling after head trauma demonstrates the impact of research supported through MSFHR partnerships.

UBC researchers have identified a protein that enables chloride ions to enter nerve cells in the brain following a traumatic injury, creating a crushing pressure that damages the brain. The researchers found that blocking this protein’s activity prevents fluid entry into the cells.

This finding finally gives scientists a specific focus for much-needed drug development.

The research leading to this discovery was supported by a $1.5-million grant awarded in 2013 through Brain Canada’s Multi-Investigator Research Initiative (MIRI). MSFHR co-funded this award in partnership with UBC, Genome BC, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Canada Brain Research Fund.

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BC SUPPORT Unit moving forward with business plan, patient engagement strategy

Work is underway to revise the BC SUPPORT Unit business plan for re-submission to CIHR during the summer.

To support the revisions, the BC SUPPORT Unit team is forming a number of reference groups, drawing upon the expertise of the project’s multi-partner Interim Governing Council. These reference groups are helping to further define patient engagement, the provincial data platform and the SUPPORT Unit’s data services, regional centres, hiring process for permanent leadership, and evaluation framework.

The team is also developing a patient engagement strategy that will further define how patients will be engaged in the SUPPORT Unit’s governance, priority setting, and the conduct of research itself.

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Connecting the dots on health research in BC: Knowledge translation

This is the first in a series of monthly updates designed to help readers “connect the dots” on various initiatives in BC that support and advance the actions outlined in the provincial strategy document Directions for Health Research in BC.

Knowledge translation, captured in action 2b, is an action that is already well underway. While hardly exhaustive, even a quick survey of KT activity in BC uncovers an impressive list. To begin with, each of the regional health authorities has its own set of internal activities underway designed to increase capacity for health research and its translation into the organization.

On a provincial scale, the BC KT Community of Practice (CoP) recently launched a new website designed to support collaboration among and increase engagement between KT researchers, practitioners, and others with an interest in KT in BC.

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Collaborative approach to ethics harmonization paying off

BC’s emerging models of harmonized research ethics review were acclaimed by a national audience earlier this month at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards.

Three members of the BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative (BCEHI) Advisory Committee presented the initiative’s progress to date, including challenges, successes, and lessons learned. The presenters shared details of BC’s pilot models for ethics review of minimal risk and above minimal risk studies, describing how committee members came together across organizational lines to develop and adopt a common framework.

Conference participants were impressed by the collaborative approach and the progress that has been made in bringing the harmonized models to pilot implementation. The minimal risk model — launched in December 2014 — is nearing the end of its pilot phase, while the above minimal risk model is scheduled to start June 1.

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MSFHR partners on Change Day BC

What drew you to health, social or community care? What ignites your passion? What step — big or small — could you take to make our health care system better for British Columbians?

On October 15, 2015, as a partner in Change Day BC, MSFHR encourages you to take that step by making a pledge to change or try something new to make things better.

A pledge is something that you commit to doing, changing or improving in health, social and community care. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is or how you carry it out. Your pledge can be personal (“I pledge to be more physically active by putting 10,000+ steps into my daily life”) or work related (“I pledge to focus on providing a supportive communication liaison between my patients and their family physicians”).

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Expert’s Corner: Q&A with Dr. Diane Finegood

MSFHR President & CEO Dr. Diane Finegood will be among the expert speakers at the 15th Annual Healthcare Summit in Kelowna this June. In anticipation of the summit, Dr. Finegood sat down to provide her views and opinions on the future of health care.

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