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.

RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Towards a Wealthier City: Impactful, Innovative Health Research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

By Dr. Jack Gauldie, Vice-President Research, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

With a strong history of medical leadership and a legacy of transforming patient care around the world, Hamilton hospitals are transforming the city through innovation, research and scientific discovery.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton was founded in 1890 with a promise and vision to provide compassionate patient care to those who need it most. Since that time, our hospital and research enterprise has evolved to not only make our province healthier and smarter, but also wealthier.

Our affiliation with McMaster University and close relationship with Hamilton Health Sciences has created opportunity for our research to impact the city as a whole through collaborative research that produces innovative diagnostics, treatments and medication. For examples of this kind of impact, watch Building a WEALTHIER Ontario: Hamilton’s Story.

From the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside, health research and patient care go hand-in-hand. Within our institution, researchers have made ground-breaking discoveries in the areas of lung disease, kidney disease, infectious disease and mental health.

As the centre for a number of international clinical trials, the research we do helps keep Canadians healthier – resulting in fewer visits to the emergency department and an improved quality of life.

Developing new treatments for pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and allergies has saved the lives of thousands of Canadians – and has helped thousands more to breathe easier every day. International testing of new treatments for kidney disease has the potential to affect nearly 1.3 million Canadians who suffer from moderate to severe forms of kidney disease.

Working closely with our industry partners presents opportunity to commercialize the research discoveries created within our hospital. From the development of portable devices that can diagnose infectious diseases in only 20 minutes, to the creation of a video game that helps teenagers to recognize the signs and symptoms of psychosis, research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton creates economic change while succeeding in its primary goal of improving patient care.

Innovation has taken many forms. St. Joseph’s Health System has succeeded in developing a new, integrated model of patient care that was successfully tested at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

This pioneering Integrated Comprehensive Care project provides patients with a continuity of care that stretches across each step in the patients’ journey, from hospital to home, and provides a new holistic patient experience for the 21st century. Winning a Canadian leadership award for innovation in improving outcomes, the success of the Integrated Comprehensive Care project has resulted in the province beginning to adopt this model across Ontario.

By working together with our colleagues across Hamilton as well as the patients that we serve, research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton works to make Ontario a healthier, wealthier and smarter place for everyone.

Learn more about research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

 

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is one of Ontario’s 24 research hospitals that contribute to a healthier, wealthier, smarter province. Look for other RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT posts on our Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter blog. To learn more about what’s needed to support Ontario’s health research enterprise, download our Policy Platform.

 

Building a WEALTHIER Ontario: Hamilton’s Story

As key drivers of Ontario’s knowledge-based economy, research hospitals contribute to a wealthier province by creating innovative, cost-effective products, establishing spin-off companies and partnerships, attracting investment from at home and abroad, and generating high-level jobs.

Across the province, communities are moving towards knowledge-based economies, and Ontario’s research hospitals are helping them get there. To illustrate that transformation, we took a focused look at the city of Hamilton. Traditionally known as Ontario’s steel town, the city has seen significant growth and renewal as a result of its health research sector. And, in the words of Mayor Fred Eisenberger, that growth feeds on itself.

“Once the ball starts rolling, it just doesn’t stop”

In our Wealthier video, Mayor of Hamilton, Fred Eisenberger, explains that the health research sector has led to a spillover effect on the economy—and the community.

The city’s success in health research has led to the growth of its educational institutes. Mohawk is now ranked as one of the top colleges in Ontario with many programs geared towards applied science, and McMaster’s medical school continues to climb on Canada’s top ten list, attracting more and more bright minds. And as Hamilton’s two research hospitals—Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare—continue to create more high-level jobs, the city is able to retain those bright minds and attract new ones.

Outside the walls of health research, the sector is having a spillover effect on the community, generating a vibrant arts scene, lots of cafes and shops, and more people living and working in revitalized neighbourhoods.

The story of Hamilton offers just one example of the impact that research hospitals are having on communities in Ontario. Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, and London can all speak to similar growth and spillover. In ten years, we can only imagine what that spillover will look like for these communities, and for the province of Ontario.

Quick Facts: Ontario’s Research Hospitals

  • Employ 18,000 researchers and research staff
    • That’s more than twice the number employed at Ontario’s research-based pharmaceutical companies
    • That’s half of the number employed at the assembly plants of Ontario’s big 5 automotive companies
  • Support 41,000 jobs across Ontario
  • Invest $1.4B in health research annually
  • Commercialized 350 new health products in the last four years
  • 14% of research investment comes from private industry
  • Every dollar spent on health research generates three dollars of economic output

 

Discover more about how Ontario’s research hospitals contribute to a wealthier Ontario, and how you can support them, by downloading the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform.