Canada's top health researchers to be recognized



    HIV/AIDS specialist to be named Canada's Health Researcher of the Year

    OTTAWA, Nov. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's top health researchers will be
recognized tonight at the 6th annual Canadian Health Research Awards - A
Celebration of Excellence. These awards are among the Canadian research
community's highest honours.
    This year's Health Researcher of the Year in the category of Biomedical
and Clinical Research will be Dr. Francis Plummer of the National Microbiology
Laboratory in Winnipeg. Dr. Plummer will be awarded the prestigious CIHR
Michael Smith Prize for his world class research on HIV resistance and work on
an HIV vaccine.
    The Health Researcher of the Year in the Health Services and Systems and
Population Health Research category will be Dr. Peter Singer from the
University of Toronto. Dr. Singer will receive the esteemed CIHR Michael Smith
Prize for his research focusing on using life sciences to improve health in
developing countries.
    Canada's Premier Young Researcher will be Dr. Michael B. Reed from McGill
University. He will be presented with the Peter Lougheed/CIHR New Investigator
Award for his important research on tuberculosis. Dr. Wilbert J. Keon,
Senator, will be named the 2007 Champion of Health Research. He will receive
the CIHR Distinguished Leadership Award for his pioneering efforts creating
Canada's largest research and clinical artificial heart development program.
    The Canadian Health Research Awards, which will be held tonight in Ottawa
at the National Gallery of Canada, are hosted by the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research (CIHR), in collaboration with the Government of Canada, the
Health Charities Coalition of Canada (HCCC), Research Canada - An Alliance for
Health Discovery, the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare
Organizations, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, Canada's
provincial health research organizations and the event's national media
sponsor, the Globe and Mail. André Picard, public health reporter at the Globe
and Mail, will be Master of Ceremonies for the event.
    Attending the event will be Canada's leading health researchers as well
as Steven Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, other Members of
Parliament and Dr. Pierre Chartrand, Acting President of CIHR.
    "Canadian health researchers are generating the knowledge that makes a
difference to Canadians in so many different areas," said the Honourable Tony
Clement, Minister of Health. "They are helping to ensure a strong health care
system in which needed treatments are provided on a timely basis and in which
patient safety is key. They are developing better ways to prevent, diagnose
and treat diseases such as cancer and heart disease. And they are finding new
ways to promote and maintain mental health."
    The following individuals and organizations are among those being
recognized for their outstanding contributions to improving the health of
Canadians:

    
    -   Dr. Francis Plummer (Chief Science Advisory and Scientific Director
        General, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of
        Canada) is the recipient of the CIHR Michael Smith Prize in Health
        Research - Canada's Health Researcher of the Year in the category of
        Biomedical and Clinical Research. This award recognizes innovation,
        creativity, leadership and dedication to health research. Dr. Francis
        Plummer is one of the world's leading specialists in HIV/AIDS. His
        work has also led to low-cost interventions to reduce the spread of
        HIV/AIDS, tools that have been adopted by UNAIDS and the World Bank.

    -   Dr. Peter Singer (Senior Scientist, McLaughlin Rotman Centre,
        University Health Network and Professor of Medicine at the University
        of Toronto) is the recipient of the CIHR Michael Smith Prize in
        Health Research - Canada's Health Researcher of the Year in the
        category of Health Services and Systems and Population Health
        Research. Dr. Singer's research is at the nexus of life sciences and
        the developing world. His core ideas include learning how to move
        life sciences technologies from 'lab to village' and discovering how
        determining how countries can accelerate commercialization of life
        sciences for health and economic development.

    -   Dr. Wilbert J. Keon (Senator, The Senate of Canada) is the 2007
        Champion of Health Research. He receives the CIHR Distinguished
        Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership qualities
        and support by individuals for health research. Dr. Keon's has
        pioneered many groundbreaking clinical innovations which are now
        standard practice; these include surgical reperfusion in acute heart
        attacks. He has also established broad-based research programs. As a
        senator he has participated in numerous major health- and science-
        related reports, including reports on Canada's health care system and
        on mental health.

    -   Dr. Michael B. Reed (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, McGill
        University) is the recipient of the Peter Lougheed/CIHR New
        Investigator Award - Canada's Premier Young Researcher. This award is
        given to Canada's brightest young health researchers at the beginning
        of their careers. Dr. Reed's research focuses on better understanding
        strain variation within the tuberculosis bacterium, studying and
        characterizing the unique attributes of the Beijing strain lineage
        that help it adapt to the diverse environmental conditions it
        encounters within the human host. His research could potentially lead
        to improved treatments for tuberculosis and an improved way to
        identify patients most at risk for developing active disease.

    -   Dr. Thomas Kerr (Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
        Scholar, Research Scientist, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS,
        Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of British
        Columbia) is the national recipient of the CIHR Knowledge Translation
        Award. This award recognizes an exceptional individual or team
        currently involved in a collaborative health research or development
        project that aims to advance and expand the understanding of
        knowledge translation. Dr. Kerr's research evaluating North America's
        first safe injecting facility, Vancouver's Eastside medical injection
        site program, has contributed significantly to academic, public and
        government discussions on the subject of injection drug use and
        HIV/AIDS.

    -   Dr. Ron Zernicke (Executive Director, Alberta Bone and Joint Health
        Institute) is the recipient of the CIHR Partnership Award for his
        work in designing one-stop clinics for hip and knee replacements
        where patients have access to a multidisciplinary team of health-care
        providers. This award recognizes partnerships that bring health
        research communities together to create innovative approaches to
        important research challenges. The Alberta Bone and Joint Health
        Institute worked with the Alberta Orthopaedic Society (AOS), three
        Regional Health Authorities (Calgary, Capital and David Thompson) and
        Alberta Health and Wellness on a one-year randomized controlled study
        of the new approach. It was one of the most extensive research
        efforts in health services delivery ever in North America. The model
        is now being expanded to all health regions in Alberta, and the
        knowledge is being shared with health-care providers across Canada.

    -   Ms. Pamela A. Kolopack (Graduate Student, University of Toronto) is
        the recipient of the CIHR Douglas Kinsella Doctoral Award for
        Research in Bioethics. This award honours the accomplishments of Dr.
        T. Douglas Kinsella in bioethics and his lifelong promotion of the
        ethical treatment of humans in research. Ms. Kolopack's work will
        contribute to the development of an improved framework for the
        analysis of the ethics of proposed public health research
        initiatives.

    -   Dr. Filio Billia (Clinician-Scientist Trainee, University Health
        Network) is the recipient of the CIHR BIOTECanada Schering Plough
        Canada Fellowship. The award is presented to the highest-ranked
        postdoctoral fellowship candidate in the fields of immunology,
        infectious and inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular conditions,
        allergies and respiratory problems. Working under Dr. Rudiger van
        Harsdorf of the University Health Network, Dr. Billia is studying why
        the cardiac muscle cells that make up the heart are unable to
        replicate, by identifying signaling pathways that are responsible for
        keeping the cells in this state of arrest. The Fellowship will help
        to support her further research training as a clinician scientist,
        focusing on new approaches to treating heart failure.

    -   Mr. Bechara Saab (PhD Student, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute,
        Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto) is the recipient of the
        CIHR Synapse Youth Mentorship Award. This award recognizes the
        efforts of a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow who has made
        exceptional efforts to promote health research among Canada's high
        school students. Mr. Saab is involved with a variety of activities to
        motivate youth to learn about science, including SciHigh, the youth
        outreach program of the Samuel Lunenfeld Institute.
    

    "This evening we honour exceptional individuals for their remarkable
contributions to health research and for the benefits this research has
generated for Canadians," said Dr. Chartrand about the Canadian Health
Research Awards.

    For a complete list of award recipients, please visit the CIHR website
www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

    CIHR is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's
mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze 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 over 11,000 health researchers and trainees
across Canada.

    Ce document est également disponible en français.




For further information:

For further information: David Coulombe, CIHR Media Specialist, (613)
941-4563; Laryssa Waler, Office of the Honourable Tony Clement, Federal
Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200


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