One of the great joys of these last eight years as dean has been working alongside one of Canada’s most well-known and talented scientists, Dr. Roger Deeley. Roger’s successes are many, but importantly, a very major one just opened its doors this morning – the W. J. Henderson Centre for Patient-Oriented Research.
As Vice-Dean of Research in our Faculty of Health Sciences, Vice-President of Health Research at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), and the President of the KGH Research Institute, Roger was uniquely positioned to champion the partnership between the three organizations in creating a state-of-the-art centre with improved patient outcomes in mind.
The centre will bring together the facilities, equipment and research projects requiring direct patient involvement into a single venue, giving clinician-scientists, researchers, and research volunteers a safe and accessible environment where patients can be consulted, assessed and monitored as they take part in research studies.
“We have spent ten years envisioning this centre, and we think it’s a model for fostering collaboration and multidisciplinary discovery – whether it’s patients working with clinician-scientists, researchers sharing ideas, treatment teams supporting clinical trials with hospital services, or industry, university researchers and health care institutions joining forces to improve health care,” notes Roger. “It also increases KHSC’s research space in health sciences by 25 percent, and includes, for the first time, facilities and capability to conduct Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, the vital first steps in developing new treatments or devices.”
I must say that I was blown away by the spacious and modern facilities as I first toured them during the opening ceremonies this morning. The centre includes shared laboratories and work spaces as well as a treatment room for minor surgeries and procedures. There is a clinical trials unit, including overnight stay facilities, and a comfortable waiting area complements the new patient examination rooms. There are state of the art meeting rooms and areas for monitoring visits. Amongst other research themes, the Centre will host both the eye-tracking labs and KINARM™ robotic assessment labs, as well as the gastrointestinal diseases research lab.
The Centre provides a home for many of our talented clinician scientists, some of whom provided the opening’s guests with demonstrations of their current research projects, including Dr. Anne Ellis, who conducts leading-edge allergy research, Dr. Amer Johri, an innovator in the use of 3D echocardiography imaging of the carotid artery, Drs. Gianluigi Bisleri, Damien Redfearn, and Ben Glover who are pioneering new approaches to cardiac ablation technologies, and Dr. Graeme Smith, who founded one of the world’s first clinics that focuses on disease prevention in pregnancy and the postpartum period.
The Centre will also include the work of two scientists whose success in Canada Foundation for Innovation grants has helped fund the centre – Drs. Stephen Vanner (from the Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit) and Doug Munoz (from the Centre for Neuroscience Studies). In total, more than 150 donors made the centre a possibility, including the William J. Henderson Foundation with a $1M donation, and the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation with a $3M donation.
“This is big step towards a bold new vision for health research in our community: Queen’s, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, the KGH Research Institute, and Providence Care are all working together towards a new Academic Health Sciences Network Research Institute,” Roger noted at the opening today. “It will enable us to combine resources, increase efficiencies, attract and train world-leading researchers and clinician-scientists, and build dynamic networks in our areas of strength. Collectively, we’ll be one of the top health research institutes in Canada.”
I wish to congratulate Roger and the large and talented team of physicians, scientists, hospital and university staff, and generous donors who have made this a reality for our community. Today, I am especially proud of the healthcare we provide to the people of Kingston and beyond. If you would like to leave a message of congratulations and/or thanks to those who make the WJH Centre for Patient-Oriented Research a possibility, please do so in the comments below, or better yet, please stop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.