Health & Community Leaders Talk: Dr. Abraham Rudnick

Ontario's health research hospitals make our province healthier, wealthier, and smarter

Health & Community Leaders Talk: Dr. Abraham Rudnick

By Dr. Abraham Rudnick, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.

Abraham Rudnick

How does health research contribute to a healthier, wealthier, smarter Ontario?

Health research contributes to a healthier, wealthier, smarter Ontario in many ways. Health research advances beneficial health-related innovations that are implemented in practice and have an impact on policy. Health research improves health across the age span in the general population and for particular populations, and reduces negative consequences of ill-health, such as disability related unemployment, so that individuals, organizations, communities and society at large benefit. Thus, health research optimizes individual and collective satisfaction and success, leading to happier and more productive people and societies. Health research helps both current and future generations, so that in addition to benefiting them directly, it can generate intra- and trans-generational solidarity within and across nations, which is a social end in itself. Health research also contributes to the personal growth of health researchers and of lay and other consumers of health research knowledge exchange, as health research is a social process and cultural product in itself, in addition to its health related benefits.

What does health research mean to you?

Health research is the study of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention related to health and related challenges, addressing individuals, organizations, communities, populations and other relevant units of reference. Health research involves basic science from all academic disciplines (exact sciences, life sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts and more), applied research across all systems (physical, chemical, psychological, social, and more), interested disciplines from health professions and many other occupations, and input from people with health challenges, their social supports, health care funders and policy makers, as well as many other stakeholders. Health research aims to prolong life expectancy when possible and acceptable, reduce suffering and dysfunction related to health challenges, improve health care effectiveness, safety, person-centeredness, efficiency and sustainability, promote health awareness across all constituents and address social and other determinants of health. Health research uses various theoretical frameworks and paradigms, such as deductive, participatory, action-oriented and other approaches, and many established, promising and emerging methods, such as experimental, quantitative, qualitative, normative and other means of inquiry.



Stay tuned on our blog for more Health and Community Leaders Talk posts and share your insights on Twitter with #onHWS. To learn more about why health research matters for Ontario and how you can support it, download the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform and check out our other blog posts and videos.

CAHO’s Spring Catalyst: Highlighting the Value of Health System Research

CAHO’s Spring Catalyst: Highlighting the Value of Health System Research

Health system research is a vital component to informing evidence-based policy and effective investment in Ontario’s health care system. The stories in CAHO’s Spring Catalyst highlight past research projects that have had a significant impact on patient care and system efficiency, as well as new research projects that can help steer the future of health care by addressing today’s system priorities. We hope that you enjoy and share these stories as part of the #onHWS conversation.

Not signed up for Catalyst? Register at the bottom of this page!


Bringing Evidence to Care: How the Pediatric Rehabilitation Sector is Adopting Evidence-Based Best Practices 

Ontario is home to global leaders in childhood disability research who are doing foundational work in areas including cerebral palsy, autism, and concussion care. The Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services (OACRS) hopes to leverage this world-class resource by bringing together researchers, clinicians, patients and families to facilitate the dissemination and adoption of top research evidence across the province, elevating care and improving health outcomes for the nearly 80,000 children and youth with special needs that they serve. With support from their pediatric rehabilitation partners at OACRS, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital has applied for a Health System Research Fund to support this work.


The Case for Evidence-Based Policy: Looking at the Impact of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network

In 2008, researchers Tara Gomes and Dr. Muhammad Mamdani from St. Michael’s Hospital and Dr. David Juurlink from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre collaborated with researchers from across Ontario, establishing a research network that could rapidly respond to the policy needs of the Ontario Public Drug Programs. With support from the Health System Research Fund, the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) has since delivered significant impact on the daily lives of patients—and significant savings for Ontario’s health system.


Advancing Senior-Friendly Hospital Care in Ontario

Researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital have spearheaded a knowledge translation project to move evidence-based care into hospitals across Ontario, establishing lasting improvements for seniors care. With support from the Health System Research Fund, 87 hospitals are participating in the Senior Friendly Hospitals ACTION program. The program is increasing capacity to deliver senior friendly care using quality improvement methods and change leadership skills. Many hospitals participating in the program are targeting improvements in delirium care and preventing functional decline.


Using Research Evidence to Improve Community Mental Health and Addiction Services in Ontario: our best kept secret

Health system research is central to ensuring effective, sustainable healthcare for Ontarians. With a deep understanding of mental health care in Ontario, and a commitment to improving its delivery and efficacy, Steve Lurie, the Executive Director of the Toronto branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, highlights the value of investing in health system research and demonstrates where we need to go next in order to improve care for Ontarians facing mental illness and addiction.


Learn more about Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter, and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag, #onHWS.


Patients + Research: Keith Binette

Patients + Research is a platform for patients to discuss their relationship and experience with the research that leads to new cures, cares and treatments.

Patients + Research: Keith Binette

Patients + Research is a platform for patients to discuss their relationship and experience with the research that leads to new care, cures and treatments. Ontario’s 24 research hospitals are committed to driving best practices for patient co-design of health research. When patients are at the table, the Ontario’s health research enterprise does a better job at making Ontario healthier, wealthier and smarter.

Meet Keith

Keith Binette is 55 years old and lives just north of Toronto. In 2010, Keith was diagnosed with rectal cancer—for the second time. He began participating in research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to help develop new treatments for shrinking tumours. Thank you, Keith, for taking time to share about your health experience with us.

Patients + Research - Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Keith and his fiancée, May, on a visit to Hong Kong.


Why does health research matter to you?

Getting involved in research has been important to me and I am honored to be involved. It’s been a good opportunity to help pay back and to contribute to the future. And it helps other patients. We hope that someday cancer will be even more like a chronic disease that you live with, and that we treat as best we can.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your health story?

I was diagnosed 5 years ago with rectal cancer that had come back. And it had come back in a way that was too close to nerves and delicate organs, so surgery was out of the question. I had heard about a treatment called hyperthermia. Some other readers or patients may have heard of this technology before, too. They do it in Germany and Japan using a type of waterbed and generalized heat to warm tumours. It helps increase response to the chemotherapy and radiation therapy applied shortly after.

At Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre, I’ve been participating in research that’s developing a newer way of doing hyperthermia using MRI guided focused ultrasound. It gives heat at a low, consistent temperature and that is monitored all the time while I lie on a special table that slides in and out of the MRI machine. The heat just feels warmish and comes in waves, and I have control to tell them to stop if it starts to feel too hot. The idea is that after the hyperthermia, the tumour is still warmed, making chemo and radiation more effective in shrinking the tumour.

It’s a bit of a risk-reward thing to participate in research that hopefully will bring about a ‘new normal’.


Stay tuned on our blog for more Patients + Research posts and share your own insights on Twitter with the hashtag #onHWS. To learn more about why health research matters for Ontario and how you can support it, download the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform and check out our other blog posts and videos.

If you would like to participate in the Patients + Research blog series, please email or call Elise Bradt at, 416-205-1469, or tweet at @CAHOhospitals.