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REF NO.: 116

SUBJECT: Healthy future? Harris Centre forum to discuss provincial healthcare system of tomorrow
DATE: Feb. 9, 2011

What will the healthcare system in Newfoundland and Labrador look like 10 years from now?
That’s the question behind an upcoming “Memorial Presents” public policy forum titled, Healthcare in 2020: Can Newfoundland and Labrador Lead the Way? This free, public event will be take place on Feb.15 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in room 2006 of the S. J. Carew (Engineering) Building at Memorial. The event will also be webcast live at the Harris Centre’s website, www.mun.ca/harriscentre.
The forum, co-sponsored by the Harris Centre and the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research (NLCAHR), will feature John G. Abbott, CEO of the Health Care Council of Canada, and Dr. James Rourke, dean of Medicine at Memorial University. Their keynote presentations will be followed by an open audience question and answer session.
“Healthcare is an issue that affects us all,” explained Mr. Abbott. “As our costs continue to rise, and our population ages, the debate about how much money we can afford to spend on health costs, and how to spend it, will only intensify. We need to begin looking at the full range of planning-related issues today, in order to avoid band-aid solutions in the future.
“More and more, we’re looking ahead to anticipate the sorts of opportunities and challenges that the medical professionals of tomorrow will encounter,” said Dr. Rourke. “Along with the budget-related issues that always accompany the discussion about healthcare, there is also a whole spectrum of human resource and infrastructure challenges to consider. Medical students who start their studies in 2010 will become practicing specialists in 2020. Not only do we need to be sure we’re training enough doctors, nurses and other professionals, but we also need to be clear on how we’re preparing them for the changes we expect to see in the next decade.”
And the debate isn’t limited to what needs to happen at the institutional level. “All you need to do is turn on the television to see the high level of public interest of the issues related to living a healthy lifestyle. From cooking shows, to a program like the CBC’s Village on a Diet, Canadians are becoming more educated, and also more interested in learning how to prevent illnesses and health challenges before they happen,” said Mr. Abbott. “As we move into the future, preventative health and more lifestyle-oriented issues are likely to move to the forefront of the healthcare discussion.”
Healthcare in 2020: Can Newfoundland and Labrador Lead the Way? is open to all members of the public. Free parking is available in Area 16 and a reception will follow.
Watch live online, at www.mun.ca/harriscentre.

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