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The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research harnesses the power of health research for the benefit of all British Columbians. Learn how

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News

// September 15, 2014

Patients and researchers will benefit from a new $11-million grant from the provincial government to the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR).

“This funding will help the Foundation maintain the global competitiveness of B.C.'s health research sector,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research helps support solutions to our more pressing health problems by funding the best and brightest researchers and spearheading significant projects to address health system priorities.”

In July, the Foundation awarded 32 highly-ranked leaders in health research with MSFHR Scholar Awards totalling up to $11.2 million over five years. These awards, a flagship program for MSFHR, have a proven impact on health research in B.C.  Since 2001, MSFHR Scholars have attracted more than $1.1 billion in additional investments to B.C.’s research community and trained more than 4,700 apprentices.

“BC researchers and the Foundation appreciate the ongoing support from our provincial government,” said Dr. Diane Finegood, president & CEO of MSFHR. “Our scholars have made discoveries that drive innovation in our health system and improve the health of our populations, allowing them to attract additional funding amounting to ten times MSFHR’s investment of $117 million in their awards over the past decade.”

> Government of B.C. press release

MSFHR-funded researchers and research programs such as scholars and trainees, infrastructure funding and health services and policy research, have had a significant impact on a provincial, national and international scale.

A few examples include:

MSFHR works closely with the provincial government and other key stakeholders to ensure British Columbia remains internationally competitive in health research to help improve the health status of British Columbians.

The province has provided $392 million to MSFHR since 2001.


// September 11, 2014
BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative

A new website that will act as the primary portal for news, resources, and information about the BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative is now available at www.bcethics.ca.

The launch of this website is an important step for BCEHI. It will support public communication about the initiative and provide resources to help researchers, research ethics board administrators, and reviewers understand and implement harmonized approaches to ethics review.

The site will grow and evolve with BCEHI as the initiative moves towards its goal of creating efficient, coordinated, and high-quality processes for multi-jurisdictional human health research. Additional information and resources will be added to the site as they become available.

BCEHI nearing implementation of harmonized review models

MSFHR is actively working with the BCEHI’s partner organizations to facilitate the development and implementation of harmonized ethics review models for research involving human subjects.

An advisory committee representing the partner organizations, the main geographic areas of BC, and key areas of expertise met twice over the summer months with excellent progress. The committee developed a harmonized ethics review model for minimal-risk studies that has been endorsed by the partner organizations’ senior leadership for pilot implementation and evaluation over six months, starting in October.

Advisory committee members will be meeting with research ethics board members and administrators in their respective organizations during September to share and provide orientation to the model prior to implementation.

The means by which the model will be evaluated is integral to this pilot implementation. Evaluation tools are under development and will be finalized prior to implementation of the pilot. The aim is to seek feedback from the stakeholders involved in each harmonized review, including researchers, REB members, and REB administrators, using standard metrics and a post-review survey.

A draft model for the review of above-minimal-risk studies has also been developed by the advisory committee. Refinement of this model is underway and will be followed by a consultation with internal REB members and administrators to gain feedback prior to pilot implementation, which is anticipated later this fall.

The pilot implementation of these models is a key deliverable in achieving harmonized ethics review in BC.

Learn more

> BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative website


// September 10, 2014

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research is proud to partner on a new national initiative that will tackle the growing prevalence of dementia and related illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), announced today by federal health minister Rona Ambrose, brings together 20 research teams and experts from across Canada to focus on preventing and delaying the onset of dementia as well as improving the quality of life for Canadians affected by these illnesses.

The initiative is supported by a national partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and 13 organizations from the public and private sectors, including MSFHR. Total funding of $31.5 million over five years has been committed by the Government of Canada and the partner organizations.

“The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research is proud to support the efforts of BC researchers who are leading nationwide teams focused on unraveling the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” said MSFHR president and CEO Dr. Diane Finegood. “Collaboration between excellent researchers, patients, and care providers will help us find solutions to this devastating health issue affecting tens of thousands of Canadians and their families.”

CCNA will help address a major public health issue confronting Canada’s aging population. The number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to double by 2031 to an estimated 1.4 million. The cost to the Canadian economy of such an increase is estimated at nearly $300 billion per year.

The CCNA partnership builds on MSFHR’s ongoing work to address neurodegeneration and dementia. The BC Alzheimer’s Research Award, launched in December 2013 in partnership with Brain Canada, Genome BC, and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation, commits $7.5 million to support BC research teams investigating new approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Results of this funding competition will be announced in fall 2014.

More information

> Government of Canada press release
> Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging
> CCNA partners


// August 29, 2014

Evidence-based lessons and objectives for improving B.C. seniors’ home care are outlined in a new report that summarizes best practices from around the world.

The report synthesizes findings from an international forum on home care convened in January by MSFHR and the B.C. Ministry of Health. Six international experts were invited to Vancouver to speak about home care practice in their respective countries, offering an important opportunity for BC policy-makers and researchers to learn how other jurisdictions are providing sustainable home care for seniors.

Each expert speaker at the forum described the context for home care in his or her country as well as highlighting recent innovations and lessons learned from their own research. Following the presentations, participants discussed key lessons for B.C. before identifying a core set of objectives to guide the development of improved home care models. All presentations and subsequent discussions are summarized in the report, which is available for download.

MSFHR’s partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Health on this forum supports the Foundation’s strategic focus on addressing priority issues for British Columbia’s health system.

“A growing seniors’ population is a shared challenge among jurisdictions, and we welcomed the opportunity to bring together the Ministry of Health, the health authorities, and international experts to learn from each other and understand best practices,” said Dr. Diane Finegood, MSFHR president and CEO, in a press release.

The information from the forum will contribute to the Ministry’s efforts to improve home and community care services.

Download

> Best Practices in Home Care for Seniors (PDF)


// August 21, 2014
Connections >> An MSFHR Update - August 2014

Connections is MSFHR's monthly e-newsletter. Each issue highlights the top MSFHR news from the past month and showcases the impact of research we've funded.

Join our mailing list to receive Connections by e-mail!


In this issue:

Feature

MSFHR News

MSFHR People

Spark


Aubrey J. Tingle receives Order of BC; nominations for AJT Prize still open

MSFHR's founding President & CEO Dr. Aubrey J. Tingle was among 23 exceptional individuals appointed to the Order of British Columbia at a special ceremony held July 22 in Victoria.

Dr. Tingle was recognized for his outstanding contributions to advancing health research in British Columbia. Through his critical role in the creation of MSFHR, Dr. Tingle helped create a strong health research environment that attracts and retains the best researchers and supports them to produce innovative discoveries. He served as MSFHR's president & CEO from 2001 until his retirement in 2008.

In 2010, MSFHR created the Aubrey J. Tingle Prize to honour Dr. Tingle's work. The award celebrates the achievements of BC-based researchers who have made a significant impact on improving health and the health system.

Nominations for the 2014 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize are open until September 5.

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Applications sought for analysis of aIPCC data

MSFHR is requesting applications for a research project that will analyze data from the BC Ministry of Health to understand the impact of Accelerated Integrated Primary and Community Care (aIPCC) initiatives.

The three main categories of activity under aIPCC are home-based, system/service delivery redesign, and clinical redesign initiatives. A number of these initiatives are being implemented across the province to accelerate the Integrated Primary and Community Care (IPCC) program. This research project's primary objective is to analyze BC Ministry of Health data to identify patterns of health services use and the extent to which these patterns changed as a result of aIPCC initiatives.

The maximum amount of the award is $100,000. Experienced researchers or research teams affiliated with a BC host institution that is eligible to hold MSFHR funds are eligible to submit a proposal for this research project. Applications are due by 4 p.m. (Pacific time), September 12, 2014.

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MSFHR sponsors upcoming conferences

MSFHR is proud to support two events in September that will advance dialogue on health and health research.

  • Connect 2014
    September 22
    Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites, Vancouver

    InspireNet's fifth annual fall conference is focused on the challenges and opportunities in using research to improve health care. All researchers, clinicians, policy-makers, students/trainees, and individuals with an interest in health services research are encouraged to attend. Speakers include MSFHR's Diane Finegood (president & CEO), Bev Holmes (vice-president, research & impact), and Lori Last (director, communications). 
     
  • Interface 2014
    September 29-30
    Vancouver Convention Centre West

    Interface is the only digital health international summit in Canada that brings together health, technology, design, social media, and business. Speakers will include leading experts, innovators, and creative thinkers on the future of health, including MSFHR President & CEO Diane Finegood. Connections readers can save $100 by registering before August 29 or by using the code MSFHR14 between August 30 and September 26.

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Career opportunities

MSFHR is currently recruiting for the following position:

  • Financial Analyst
    You are a numbers whiz who loves everything to do with analysis, budgeting, forecasting, modeling and reporting.
    Deadline: August 29, 2014

  • Manager, Human Resources & Facilities
    You are an HR generalist who is proactive, creative and passionate about HR. Working closely with senior leadership, you will provide HR support to a team of 35.
    Deadline: September 5, 2014

  • Senior Coordinator, Partnerships & Marketing
    You have a strong background in fundraising, community relations, and marketing and love working with other organizations to explore and promote partnership opportunities.
    Deadline: September 9, 2014

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MSFHR People

  • Nadine Caron
    MSFHR board member Dr. Nadine Caron is featured in a new video by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation explaining breast self-examination. Caron and a team of specialized researchers are currently collecting information from previous breast cancer patients who reside in northern BC, as a result of the current scarcity of data representing this population. Her research will help make recommendations for improved cancer care system improvements and policy development in the area of breast cancer care.
  • Menno Oudhoff
    2013 MSFHR Trainee Menno Oudhoff is one of 70 newly announced recipients of Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. First awarded by the Government of Canada in 2010, Banting fellowships support the career development of post-doctoral researchers at Canadian universities and leading international research institutions. Oudhoff, who is based at the University of British Columbia, is researching the role of the gene Set7 in intestinal stem cells during regeneration and cancer.

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KT needs assessment survey informs SPOR business case

As a leader in the health research community, MSFHR has an important role to play in helping to close the gap between knowledge (what we know) and action (what we do), through knowledge translation (KT).

A new blog post reflects on MSFHR's 2012 provincial KT needs assessment survey and how its findings are helping to address the needs of BC's health research community with the ultimate goal of increasing the use of health research evidence in BC and beyond.

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// August 15, 2014

MSFHR is requesting applications for a research project that will analyze data from the BC Ministry of Health to understand the impact of Accelerated Integrated Primary and Community Care (aIPCC) initiatives.

The three main categories of activity under aIPCC are home-based, system/service delivery redesign, and clinical redesign initiatives. A number of these initiatives are being implemented across the province to accelerate the Integrated Primary and Community Care (IPCC) program. Initiatives range from expanding mental health treatment in the community to better assessments of seniors at risk from multiple chronic diseases to building care teams that support patients through an early discharge from acute care.

This research project’s primary objective is to use BC Ministry of Health data to identify patterns of health services utilization and the extent to which these patterns changed as a result of aIPCC initiatives. The suggested approach is to consider utilization of individual program participants before and after enrollment in the program, as compared to similar persons who are not enrolled. The project will be implemented in two phases – development of the analysis methodology, followed by conduct of the analysis itself upon receipt of data from the Ministry of Health.

> Full application instructions and guidelines

The maximum amount of the award is $100,000. Experienced researchers or research teams affiliated with a BC host institution that is eligible to hold MSFHR funds are eligible to submit a proposal for this research project.

Applications must be submitted by email to Greg Martyn, Director, Projects, (gmartyn@msfhr.org) by 4 p.m. Pacific time, September 12, 2014.


// August 6, 2014

As a leader in the health research community, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) has an important role to play in helping to close the gap between knowledge (what we know) and action (what we do), through knowledge translation (KT).

Knowledge translation encompasses the theories, strategies and activities used to increase the development and use of health research evidence in policy, practice and further research. MSFHR supports the KT activities of the British Columbia (BC) health research community through a variety of roles as described in our 2012 Implementation Science article.

Much of our focus has been on the role of building capacity for KT among BC researchers and knowledge users through KT skills training and access to KT resources. To further understand the KT training and resource needs in BC, MSFHR launched a provincial online needs assessment survey in March 2012. More than 1,200 people responded to the survey, which was targeted at both BC health researchers and those who use health research evidence in their work.

The results of the survey were recently outlined in a June 2014 Implementation Science article written by MSFHR’s KT and Evaluation staff. The findings emphasize the importance of considering all aspects of KT in training opportunities (e.g., tailoring research results to identified key audiences; engaging key users of the research in its development and use; understanding the body of research literature on a particular research topic; and using the research evidence in different contexts), while taking into account different stakeholder needs (e.g., different training methods, costs, levels).

The value of the survey results has already been demonstrated in relation to one provincial capacity-building effort where learnings informed the development of the business case for a Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Unit in BC -- a provincial initiative co-led by MSFHR in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health. SPOR aims to improve health outcomes and enhance patients’ health care experience through the integration of research evidence at all levels in the health system; KT and KT skills training is a fundamental component of this initiative. [1] It is a national initiative developed by CIHR “to foster evidence-informed health care by bringing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the point of care.” [2] Read more about SPOR here.

Through our involvement in the BC SPOR Support Unit and other regional and provincial KT initiatives, opportunities will continue to be developed to address the KT needs of the health research community with the ultimate goal of increasing the use of health research evidence in BC and beyond.   

To learn more about KT, visit the KT 101 page on the MSFHR website.

 

Chelsea Noel is a Marketing & Stakeholder Relations Assistant and Jessica Collins is a Knowledge Translation Coordinator for the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.


[1] “About SPOR”, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research website, http://www.msfhr.org/our-work/activities/patient-oriented-research/about...

[2] "Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research", Canadian Institutes of Health Research website, http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/41204.html


// July 29, 2014

Connections is MSFHR's monthly e-newsletter. Each issue highlights the top MSFHR news from the past month and showcases the impact of research we've funded.

Join our mailing list to receive Connections by e-mail!


In this issue:

Feature

MSFHR News

Spark


MSFHR announces 2014 scholar award recipients

Thirty-two exceptional BC health researchers have been named recipients of scholar awards through MSFHR's 2014 Scholar Program funding competition.

The award recipients, selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 120 applicants, represent a bright future for health research in BC. Their innovative projects span a broad range of disciplines and will help to address important health challenges for the benefit of all British Columbians.

With a maximum term of five years, MSFHR Scholar Awards help British Columbia create and sustain a base of excellence that fosters world-class research across the health spectrum.

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Scholar award partners support research innovation

Three of this year's MSFHR Scholar Awards are jointly funded in partnership with BC-based not-for-profit organizations. The BC Schizophrenia Society Foundation and the Rick Hansen Institute have partnered with MSFHR to support high-quality research that is directly relevant to these organizations' mandates.

The recipients of partnered scholar awards in the 2014 competition are:

  • Leigh Anne Swayne (MSFHR/BC Schizophrenia Society Foundation Partner Scholar Award)
  • John Kramer (RHI/ICORD/MSFHR Partner Scholar Award)
  • Christopher West (MSFHR/RHI Partner Scholar Award)

The 2014 competition represents the second time MSFHR has partnered on scholar awards. A complete list of our scholar and trainee partners is available on our website.

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New infographic shows impact of MSFHR Scholar Awards

A recent MSFHR analysis has confirmed the significant value of scholar awards to individual research careers and to the strength of BC's health research enterprise.

With the generous support of a large cohort of past and current scholars, MSFHR analyzed CV data from 79 percent of individuals funded since 2001.

Highlights of this analysis are available in a new brochure that demonstrates the exceptional nature of the individuals and work supported by MSFHR funding.

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Understanding the peer-review process

Peer-review is a cornerstone of MSFHR's Scholar Awards and other funding programs. This mechanism ensures the research we support meets the highest scientific and academic standards. It also maintains our accountability to the provincial government and to British Columbia's health research community.

But what actually happens between the application deadline and the announcement of funding decisions? To demonstrate the excellent work of MSFHR's dedicated Programs staff, we have prepared a brief overview of the peer-review process.

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SPOR business plan submitted to CIHR

A business plan outlining the vision and model for BC's SPOR Support Unit has been submitted to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for review.

The plan, which was formally approved by the project's Interim Governing Council in June, represents the foundation of a unit that will transform BC's health system through research by engaging patients as key members of a new partnership that includes decision-makers, health care providers, and researchers.

CIHR will conduct an iterative review of the business plan, consisting of internal and external evaluation. More information will be posted to the BC Support Unit website as it becomes available.

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2014 HSPRSN Partnership Awards launched

MSFHR is pleased to announce the launch of the 2014 Health Services & Policy Research Support Network (HSPRSN) Partnership Program.

These awards, offered annually since 2005, support BC researchers in applying to peer-reviewed national or international competitions that require matching funds as a condition of award. Successful applicants will receive up to $80,000 per project to investigate issues that address provincial health system priorities.

Currently, MSFHR has a partnership agreement with CIHR's Partnerships for Health System Improvement (PHSI) Program; however, other competitions requiring matching funds that are launched in 2014 will be considered as well.

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Nominations open for 2014 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize

Nominations are now open for the fifth annual Aubrey J. Tingle Prize and Lecture.

This prize, created in honour of MSFHR’s founding president & CEO, recognizes a BC health researcher whose work has had significant impact on advancing clinical or health services and policy research. The prize is valued at $10,000, and the winner will be invited to present at an MSFHR event scheduled in early 2015.

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Career opportunities

MSFHR is currently recruiting for the following position:

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Stronger public voice will improve impact and quality in health research

According to CIHR, fewer than 60 percent of decisions on general medical services are supported by appropriate research evidence, and up to 25 percent of patients get care that is not needed or could be harmful. Can the public — as patients, taxpayers or citizens — help change these statistics?

A new blog post by Bev Holmes, MSFHR vice-president, research & impact, examines the important role the public can play in health research and describes how the SPOR initiative is working to make this a reality.

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// July 17, 2014

A recent MSFHR analysis has confirmed the significant value of scholar awards and other funding programs to individual research careers and to the strength of BC’s health research enterprise.

With the generous support of a large cohort of past and current scholars, MSFHR analyzed CV data from 79 percent of individuals funded since 2001.

Highlights of this analysis are available in a new infographic that demonstrates the exceptional nature of the individuals and work supported by MSFHR funding.

Among the key findings:

  • 94% of MSFHR-funded scholars remain in BC as health research leaders
  • More than $1.1 billion in additional health research funding has been attracted to BC by scholar award recipients - more than 10 times MSFHR's investment of $117M
  • MSFHR-funded scholars exceed BC and Canadian quality benchmarks for impact factor and number of citations
  • 55% of MSFHR-funded scholars have achieved the level of full professor within five years of completing their scholar award

Supplementing this analysis of scholar awards, a companion document provides a visual overview of the full scope of MSFHR funding programs, including trainee awards, infrastructure projects, and government priorities.

Downloads

> MSFHR Scholar Impact (PDF)
> MSFHR Research Impact, 2001-2013 (PDF)


// July 16, 2014

Peer review is a cornerstone of MSFHR’s Scholar awards and other funding programs.

This mechanism ensures the research we support meets the highest scientific and academic standards. It also maintains our accountability to the provincial government and to British Columbia’s health research community.

But what actually happens between the application deadline and the announcement of funding decisions? To demonstrate the excellent work of MSFHR’s dedicated Programs staff, we have prepared a brief overview of the peer-review process.


How are reviewers selected?

The recruitment of review panel members and external readers is a huge undertaking.

Immediately after the competition’s letter-of-intent deadline, MSFHR programs staff create a pivot table of keywords submitted with applications and analyze which terms appear most often. Those keywords that are consistently repeated must be represented by subject matter experts on the appropriate review panel.

Two types of reviewers must be recruited:

Review panel members

These reviewers are selected for their research excellence, breadth of knowledge, and maturity of judgment. They provide a critical assessment of the application, participate in rating applications, and vote during the peer-review panel meeting. Each application is reviewed in depth by two lead reviewers.

Key facts:

  • Review panels correspond to CIHR's four research pillars (biomedical, clinical, health services, population health)
  • Recruitment of committee members can take up to 2-3 weeks
  • Review panels consist of 50% BC researchers and 50% from outside BC but within Canada

External readers

These reviewers are subject matter experts whose research corresponds exactly to the content of a particular award application. Each external reader is assigned only one application to review. They provide constructive feedback on the research approach, as well as the project's originality and potential impact. Panel members refer to the external reader reports when evaluating applications.

Key facts:

  • Recruitment of external readers for a competition can take up to 4-5 weeks
  • It can be necessary to contact 20-25 researchers to secure one external reviewer

What happens at the review panel meeting?

  • Panel members in conflict with an application leave the room for the duration of the review panel’s discussion of that application.
  • The two lead reviewers for each application summarize its strengths and weaknesses with their initial scores displayed to the rest of the review panel.
  • The committee chair leads the panel discussion, inviting feedback from all members.
  • Based on the panel’s discussion, the lead reviewers are given the opportunity to revise their initial scores.
  • The panel's scientific officer reads out notes summarizing the discussion that took place and the recommendations of panel members.
  • The lead reviewers agree on a consensus score. To ensure consistency, a common scale is used, ranging from 0 to 4.9. Panel members are encouraged to use the full range of scores.
  • All panel members, including the lead reviewers, confidentially score each application within +/- 0.5 points of the consensus score.
  • MSFHR’s Programs team produces a list of the applications in ranked order. A ranked list, with the identity of each applicant masked, is presented to the review panel for a final review.
  • Funding decisions are based on this ranked list, with the funding cut-off varying from one competition to another.

What are the principles governing peer review?

  • Confidentiality
    All information contained in applications submitted to MSFHR, reports made by reviewers, and review panel discussion is strictly confidential and subject to the BC Personal Information Protection Act.
  • Impartiality
    All reviewers must read and agree to abide by MSFHR’s guidelines on conflict of interest prior to viewing any application information.
  • Parity
    Reviewers are expected to be fair and reasonable, to exercise meticulous scientific judgment, and to understand and take into account the particular context of each application.