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MICYRN News      Summer 2016  |  8.3
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Welcome New Board Members

At the June AGM Jon Barrett (University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) and Suzanne Tough (University of Calgary) were ratified as the newest members of the MICYRN Board of Directors. MICYRN is fortunate to have these leaders join the board, bringing substantial knowledge and expertise in their respective fields to the network.
 
Dr. Barrett, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine, has held numerous leadership roles and has been the recipient of several awards for his contributions to research. Dr. Tough is the lead scientist on the development of a child data repository, which will enable the re-use of research data to enhance the development of new knowledge and increase research productivity. She also sits on several national and international advisory boards. Please visit Who We Are for their detailed biographies.
 
Martin Osmond and Aubrey Tingle are stepping down from their positions on the board of directors, and we would like to thank them for their tireless efforts and contributions to the network. Dr. Osmond has provided outstanding leadership in his capacity, helping to fundamentally shape MICYRN’s long-term goals and objectives. Dr. Tingle has served MICYRN since 2009, first as an associate director, then as the BOD chair for three years, and this past year as a member of the board. He led the process of incorporating MICYRN as a federal, not-for-profit society and helped establish the network’s charitable status. Thank you to Drs. Osmond and Tingle for your outstanding leadership!

MICYRN is delighted that Sandra Davidge and Katie Lafferty have both agreed to serve an additional term on the board.

 
Dr. Jon Barrett
Dr. Suzanne Tough
Dr. Martin Osmond
Dr. Aubrey TIngle

Three BOD Members Presented with Distinguished Honours 

Congratulations to MICYRN board members Stephanie Atkinson, Patrick McGrath, and Brent Scott for recent recognition of their outstanding achievements in their fields.
 
Dr. Atkinson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from her alma mater Western University. The award was in recognition of her position as “one of Canada's outstanding nutrition scientists.” Dr. Donna Rogers, interim principal of Brescia University College (Western affiliate), introduced her as an internationally recognized leader who has “repeatedly broken new ground in pediatric nutrition.”
 
Dr. McGrath received the inaugural HealthCareCAN’s Legacy of Leadership Award at the 2016 National Health Leadership Conference. “The prestigious award recognizes exceptional individuals who have made long-lasting and outstanding contributions to advancing Canada’s health system and have demonstrated significant and sustained commitment toward the enhancement of the health of Canadians.”
 
At the CPS Annual Conference Dr. Scott was honoured with the Alan Ross Award, which was established in 1976 and is the most prestigious honour given by the Canadian Paediatric Society. The award recognizes lifelong excellence in the fields of paediatric research, education, healthcare and advocacy.

Successful Funding for CANUE

CIHR recently announced a $4,165,000 operating grant distributed over five years for the CANadian Urban Environmental (CANUE) Health Research Consortium. The study is hosted at the University of Toronto under the leadership of principal investigators J. Brook, D. Stieb, P. Awadalla, M. Brauer, H. Hu, K. Mcgrail, M. Kimberlyn, and P. Subbarao.
 
MICYRN wrote a letter accompanying the application that described how the network could support the study’s activities.

MICYRN Members – A Closer Look 


In this newsletter we take a closer look at the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) in Edmonton, which was founded just ten years ago by the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services, with core funding from Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. A number of the researchers and committee members from the Stollery Children’s Hospital who helped form MICYRN in 2007 are still involved in the network’s success today, but now as members of WCHRI. MICYRN’s first chair, Terry Klassen, was at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. (Dr. Klassen is now the member representative for CHRIM.)
 
WCHRI and the Power of Partnerships
In the ten years since WCHRI’s inception, the institute has made tremendous contributions to women’s and children’s health research. With over 450 researchers, WCHRI is advancing knowledge in a broad range of areas, including childhood obesity, autism, heart disease, organ transplant, precision medicine, and mental health.
 
A key to this accelerated success is a powerful partnership structure. As the research arm for both the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, WCHRI is able to focus on women’s and children’s health and their intersection in perinatal and maternal health. This dual focus promotes a collaborative, cohesive approach to addressing women’s and children’s health needs through research. WCHRI’s additional partners, the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services, provide high-quality personnel to the research teams. The research institute notes that the “power of our partnerships fuels our capacity and shared determination to make a positive impact on women’s and children’s lives and futures.” 
Davidge Lab (Sandra Davidge centre)  
photo courtesy of Darren Jacknisky -- Bluefish Studios
Sandra Davidge, WCHRI’s scientific director and a member of MICYRN's Board of Directors, points out that it takes “thousands of small, focused steps over the course of many years to achieve major changes in health outcomes.” It is important to celebrate the incremental advancements and improvements they bring, “as we move forward on the complex path to better health and a fulfilling future for all women and children in this province, and their families and communities.” A number of the research teams making these advancements through their research were provided letters of support from MICYRN to accompany their ultimately successful funding applications.  
 
Researchers at WCHRI have also made tremendous contributions to a number of MICYRN initiatives, extending that collaborative strength across the country and beyond. Associate Director Lawrence Richer sat on MICYRN’s 2007 interim steering committee, was the inaugural lead for the clinical research informatics working group, and currently sits on the KIDSCAN steering committee. He oversaw the development of the informatics initiative charter; facilitated the expansion of REDCap across the MICYRN network; and initiated hosting of the MICYRN version of REDCap to support regulated trials at WCHRI, with additional software validation support at CHEO. Rick Watts and Pam Marples also lent their time and expertise to develop MICYRN’s REDCap platform to be used and integrated across member organizations.
 
In addition to informatics support, WCHRI is also leading the way in clinical trials as one of the five Canadian sites participating in the U.S. Pediatric Trials Network, which is being facilitated in Canada by MICYRN.
 
Recently it was announced that WCHRI would receive a combined gift of $54.5M over the next ten years from the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. This is the largest gift ever to the University of Alberta, and it will ensure their groundbreaking work continues.
 

A Successful AGM and Planning Retreat

This year’s annual general meeting in Niagara was well attended by representatives of MICYRN’s member organizations, as was the joint strategic planning retreat with CCCHR that followed. Retreat participants examined maternal and child health research trends and current opportunities to help to understand how MICYRN and CCCHR could continue to best support member researchers and enhance their research capacity and impact on maternal and child health. Overall there was enthusiastic commitment from CCCHR and MICRYN representatives to continue their collaborative work to forward the maternal and child health research agenda in Canada and beyond.

Please stay tuned to future newsletters for updates on MICYRN’s responses to these trends and opportunities.

A number of members indicated that easy access to biobanking resources and document templates would be a useful tool to have on hand. MICYRN has since added more links to its existing biobanking resources page.

Annual Report

The MICYRN 2015 Annual Report was released in June and is now available online and in print. Highlights this year are advances made in the areas of rare diseases, ethics, stakeholder engagement, research team support, and pediatric clinical trials. MICYRN is strengthening connections between Canadian and international experts through its active engagement on both the national and international stages. Its strong, effective membership is helping to catalyze research and champion causes central to maternal, infant, child and youth health and health care.
 
For the past ten years, the network collaborative has worked hard to build capacity for high-quality applied health research in Canada, and its members’ contributions to national discussions on the state of maternal and child health care are helping to shape policy and funding decisions. For a snapshot of 2015, view the online report here.
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