Local health-care and academic groups are looking toward the future with the official launch of an innovative research focused regional institute.
“This is a platform that can work together to elevate health research excellence and really support the needs of our community,” WE-Spark Health Institute executive director Lisa Porter said Monday at the launch of the new collaborative initiative.
Officials from Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, the University of Windsor, St. Clair College and Windsor Regional Hospital signed a memorandum of understanding, officially launching the institution. Porter called the partnership between the four organizations “one of a kind.”
WE-Spark aims to provide a hub for researchers through various training programs, academic support, professional development and bi-monthly think tanks.
“It’s got a lot of moving pieces to it,” Porter said. “One piece is about increasing our success with getting those big grants. Another piece is really about bringing researchers together and helping them work together.”
WE-SPARK Health Institute Executive Director Lisa Porter
Some areas of research will include cancer, brain health, rehabilitation and population health.
Windsor Regional Hospital president David Musyj said the collaboration has already opened doors for local research.
“Our oncology physicians are already pushing the envelope in driving advancements in health,” he said.“Last year, the collaboration between WE-Spark and Windsor Regional allowed for the colon fresh tissue trial to begin in earnest.”
“We’re taking fresh tissue from patients with known colon cancer during their surgery and transporting that to a research lab at the University of Windsor. The goal of that study is very simple, to investigate and predict who is at most risk for colon cancer.”
Porter said there are many benefits to health research, including educating the community and attracting “the best and brightest” to the region.
“It aids in supporting rapid adopting of best prevention and care practices,” she said. “And of course it aids in us finding those innovative solutions for us here in Windsor-Essex.”
Since the idea for a regional institution took hold nearly 10 years ago, Porter said there has been an increase locally in health research grants, the number of health researchers, and clinical research trials.
“That means patients getting new drugs, new diagnostics,” she said. “These are things that translate to truly increased health outcomes.”
“I can’t stress enough how much research means to patient care,” she said. “It means that your doctor knows what’s the latest, greatest thing out there. Not only that, they’re not willing to settle and say ‘we have nothing else for you.’ They’re thinking about new ideas.”
University of Windsor DailyNews: http://www.uwindsor.ca/dailynews/2020-03-09/institutions-join-forces-further-community-health