New Federal Ministers of Health and Industry Look to Innovation and R&D

A new cabinet and with it a new approach to federal health and R&D issues as Ministers Ambrose and Moore got out of their office briefing modes to do a little hands on outreach.

First up, the new federal Minister of Health from Alberta, Rona Ambrose.

Minister Ambrose laid out her personal and departmental priorities in a speech this week in front of the Canadian Medical Association.

This was the first glimpse of how Minister Ambrose will approach her health portfolio. Her priorities included:

  • Family Violence: citing a number of recent reports and statistics Ambrose noted that she has asked the Public Health Agency of Canada to identify opportunities and partnerships that will help end family violence in Canada.
  • The minister made a commitment to working with stakeholders like the CMA.
  • She made a number of health prevention and sustainability proposals including on consumer health and safety and Aboriginal health initiatives.

These are important initiatives and really important to make progress on.

In addition to these, I was really struck by the back end of her speech in which she spoke about the importance of innovation and research as being key to the transformation of our health system to one that is efficient and sustainable.

"If we want to ensure our public system is sustainable then we must explore the important role of innovation and technology as a means to improve the efficiency and productivity of the health system." Minister of Health Hon. Rona Ambrose

The minister also placed patients at the forefront of her approach:

"We are also supporting Canada's Strategy on Patient Oriented Research, which is designed to ensure that patients received the right treatment, at the right time, by putting research in the hands of healthcare providers." Minister of Health Hon. Rona Ambrose

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Turning next to Industry Minister James Moore, he visited his alma mater, the University of Saskatoon this week, and while there visited the Canadian Light Source facility - a facility that Eli Lilly Canada has been a proud partner of in looking at protein structure and function.

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The Minister toured the facility and in his tech-savvy fashion tweeted about his experience, including holding 1,000 non-nuclear reactor based medical scans in his hand. How's that for serious Canadian technology in action!

I was really thrilled to see these two ministers embracing the importance of R&D and innovation within the Canadian space right out of the gates in their new portfolios. I look forward to hearing more from them relating to their views on the role of pharmaceutical R&D and clinical research in supporting patient focused health sustainability while partnering with Canadian researchers and institutions like Canadian Light Source and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.