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Canadian Institutes of Health Research president hosts town hall meeting at York

Canadian Institutes of Health Research president hosts town hall meeting at York

After accepting an invitation from the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, Dr. Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), made his first visit to York University on Jan. 19.

During the visit, Beaudet met with a strong and diverse group of York researchers and conducted a town hall meeting. The visit also gave York the opportunity to highlight life science and health-related research underway across the University’s Faculties, research centres and institutes, to emphasize its research accomplishments and future initiatives.

Right: Dr. Alain Beaudet

The town hall meeting featured a presentation by Beaudet on CIHR’s five-year strategic research plan, which seeks to expand the funding council’s $974-million budget to support researcher-driven and strategic projects in 13 institutes across CIHR’s four pillars: biomedical research; clinical research; health systems and health services; and the health of populations, societal and cultural dimensions of health and environmental influences on health.

CIHR plans to allocate approximately 30 per cent of its funds to support strategic research priorities. These priorities include investing in world-class research, addressing the needs of Canada’s health care system, accelerating the capture of the health and economic benefits of health research, and achieving organizational excellence while fostering ethical research activity and demonstrating impact. Several key areas include encouraging more Canadian participation and leadership in global health research initiatives, preparing young researchers for health-related careers and reducing health inequities faced by aboriginal Canadians and other minority populations.

York currently has more than 9,000 undergraduate students studying kinesiology & health science, psychology, nursing and health policy & management. Over 400 faculty members are engaged in health research across the full spectrum of academic disciplines. Since 2001, the University’s total CIHR funding has increased six times to over $4 million. This achievement is particularly notable due to York’s non-medical school designation.

In 2010, the Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre is scheduled to open on the Keele campus, providing over 40,000 square feet of research space for vision science, kinesiology, and psychology. In 2011, the Sherman Centre will be complemented by the Life Sciences Building, which will provide 160,000 square feet to meet growing demand for graduate and undergraduate students in Life and Health Sciences.

As well, York is forging vital external research and development linkages with hospitals, industry, health care and social agencies, developing innovative ways to mobilize health-related findings, and exploring the full spectrum of health research challenges to better understand and remove barriers to health and wellness.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. It creates new scientific knowledge and enables its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

Submitted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer