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Newfoundland's Health Research Community Receives $5.1 Million Boost: Memorial Researchers to Receive Funding
DATE:     Oct. 9, 2001
SUBJECT:     Newfoundland's Health Research Community Receives $5.1 Million Boost: Memorial Researchers to Receive Funding



For immediate release - 2001-29

ST. JOHN'S (October 9, 2001) - - Health Minister Allan Rock, Industry Minister Brian Tobin, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) University Delegate Dr. Sandra LeFort, today announced a Government of Canada contribution of over $5.1 million to fund Newfoundland health research initiatives. Minister Tobin paid tribute to the researchers receiving funding during a visit to Memorial University of Newfoundland.

"In the one year since it was created, CIHR has dramatically changed Canada's health research landscape in positive ways," said Mr. Rock. "Today's announcement is another step forward in the building of CIHR, advancing heath research and the overall health of Canadians and strengthening our health care system."

"Health sciences is playing an ever increasing role in boosting the Newfoundland economy in addition to contributing to the long-term health of area residents," noted Mr. Tobin. "CIHR is building our research capacity and will have a major impact on health research developments in the future."

Memorial University received funding for five projects that will take place over the next three to five years and cover the full spectrum of health research - biomedical, clinical, health services and population health. Dr. Robert Adamec, Department of Psychology, will examine the connections between epilepsy, stress and behaviour; Dr. Dale Corbett, Division of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, will study neuroprotection and recovery of function following stroke; and Dr. Thomas Michalak, Division of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, will delve into the pathogenicity of Hepatitis B.

A team of researchers in the Faculty of Medicine, led by Drs. Patrick Parfrey and Ban Younghusband, received over $2 million for its share of a study on colorectal cancer. The team will study the determinants, impact and control of colorectal cancer in Newfoundland. The research could lead to improvements in our understanding of the causes of this disease and how health services are provided.

In particular, Minister Tobin highlighted the research of the multidisciplinary team of political scientist Dr. Stephen Bornstein and sociologist Dr. Barbara Neis. Under the umbrella of the provincially-funded Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research, this team received $2.1 million to study marine and coastal workplace health and safety.

The Bornstein-Neis team is examining work in the fisheries, the oil and gas industry, and work that results in exposure to cold air and cold water to develop a scientific understanding of the causes, treatment, and prevention of workplace accidents in these environments. The research will also provide practical recommendations for innovation in diagnosing and treating these accidents, establishing regulations and training health professionals, workers, and managers to prevent them.

"The CIHR dream is becoming a reality at an astonishing pace," stated Dr. LeFort. "This year alone Canadian researchers reported several health breakthroughs in diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Through CIHR we will be able to build upon these discoveries, continuing Canada's role as an important player in the health research revolution."

Memorial University Vice-President (Research and International Affairs) Dr. Christopher Loomis said "CIHR is providing a major boost to the university and the people of the province with research funding that addresses a wide range of health concerns. The research will benefit people suffering from cancer, stroke victims and those afflicted by epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Hepatitis B. Similarly, the Newfoundland Centre for Applied Health Research will lead to tremendous improvements in the working environment of the fisheries and oil and gas industry."

Over the last year, CIHR has moved rapidly to fulfill its mandate, creating 13 virtual institutes, appointing Scientific Directors to run them, selecting 218 volunteers to guide the institutes and providing funding to over 5,000 established researchers and thousands of trainees across Canada. Further funding opportunities will be available for health researchers later this year through the CIHR Institute's strategic initiatives that will aim to fill research gaps and build capacity across Canada.

CIHR is Canada's premier agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened health care system.

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Grant Allocations - Memorial
CIHR Backgrounder

Andrew Matejcic, CIHR, (613) 954-7143
Catherine Lappe, Minister Rock's Office (613) 957-0200
Heidi Bonnell, Minister Tobin's Office (613) 995-9001
Sharon Gray, Memorial University of Newfoundland, (709) 777-8397
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