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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 01 | Jan. 11, 2001

Researchers lead national networks

Two institutes among 13 that aim to consolidate health-care research

Two UBC investigators -- a cardiovascular researcher and a health-care economist and policy analyst -- will lead two of 13 national virtual health research institutes recently established by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Dr. Bruce McManus will lead the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, which will support research into the causes, prevention and treatment of conditions associated with heart, lung, blood and stroke.

Prof. Morris Barer will lead the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research which will support research on how health-care services are regulated, funded, organized and delivered and their effects on patient health.

"This is a strong endorsement of our reputation in the national research community," says UBC President Martha Piper. "This network of scholars will contribute significantly to biomedical, clinical, and health-care system knowledge both in Canada and internationally."

Thirteen Canadian researchers were named to lead the network of virtual health research institutes which seek to co-ordinate and consolidate investigations and translate research into improved health care and health for Canadians. McManus directs the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory and Cardiovascular Registry at Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital, part of Providence Health Care. He is also the co-director of the iCAPTURE Centre at St. Paul's.

The research facility, recently funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, seeks to find innovative solutions to cardiac, pulmonary and blood vessel diseases.

"It's an amazing privilege to serve Canada's outstanding circulatory and respiratory research leaders and programs," says McManus. "The institute represents a unique opportunity to draw on the power of preparedness, brilliance and diligence of this research community. We must reach across traditional boundaries to find new solutions for problems like the failing heart, the asthmatic lung and the brain injured by interrupted blood supply."

A faculty member since 1993, McManus served as professor and head of the Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine until last month. His own research focuses on the mechanisms of inflammatory and infectious injury.

A UBC alumnus, Barer joined the university in 1979 and in 1990 became the founding director of UBC's Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, based in the Office of the Co-ordinator of Health Sciences.

A professor in the Dept. of Health Care and Epidemiology, his research has focused on issues such as health-care financing, health human resource policy, pharmaceutical sector policy and access to care.

With colleagues at the centre, he has championed the development of B.C. databases that can be used by a wide range of health services and population health and social science researchers to investigate relationships between social and economic circumstances, the use of health-care services and health over the course of an individual's lifetime.

"There is much to admire about the health-care services available to Canadians, but there is also plenty of room for improvement," says Barer who is also an associate of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Population Health Program.

"Health-care issues fuel heated debates that often suffer from glaring gaps in basic information and research evidence," he says. "The challenge for the institute is to develop the capacity to fill those gaps in a scientifically rigorous, timely and comprehensive way."

The scientific directors will work with public, private and voluntary sectors to build national health research initiatives in areas ranging from healthy aging to infection and health services. The 13 institutes will start implementing strategic plans by April 2001.

Directors will lead the institutes from their current work locations. Each appointment is for an initial period of four years.

CIHR is the major federal agency responsible for funding health research in Canada. It has replaced the Medical Research Council of Canada and Health Canada's National Health Research and Development Program.

More information on CIHR can be found at www.cihr.ca.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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