A Message From the Chair

A Health Research Strategy Requires Collaboration

Chair, CAHO, Dr. Catherine Zahn
Chair, CAHO, Dr. Catherine Zahn

This edition of the Catalyst marks my introduction as Chair of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO). First of all, a big thank you to our outgoing Chair, Leslee Thompson. During her two-year tenure, Leslee set the tone for collaboration. During Leslee’s Chairmanship, CAHO established a foundational partnership with Health Quality Ontario (HQO) to spread the Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) Program beyond CAHO hospitals to the entire province. Together, we represented CAHO on the Ontario Health Innovation Council, which issued a report that calls for better coordination and collaboration across the sector, ensuring that we make the most of our innovation engine. And finally, Leslee oversaw the creation of CAHO’s strategic plan for the next five years. I am honoured to help bring that plan to life.

On June 1st, CAHO held a conference to officially launch our Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter campaign, which is designed to tell the story of the value health research brings to the people of Ontario, and to our economy. The 300 delegates participating in person and online at that event heard the powerful voices of Gail Bellissimo and Tina Ceroni who, as patients, breathed life into that story in a way that facts and figures never can. Tina’s story, creatively described in our Healthier video, has attracted over 66,000 views on YouTube.

These voices remind us that research changes real lives, for the better, now. This fact is the foundation of our HWS campaign. It’s the driving force for an Ontario health research strategy that promotes better care, greater efficiency, increased productivity, and a knowledge-based economy. A Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Ontario is something to strive for – and it will take cross-sectoral commitment to create a shared vision for our future. Learn more about a policy agenda to support a Healthier, Wealthier and Smarter Ontario by reading our Policy Platform.

The HWS campaign is a platform for collaboration. Since its launch on June 1st, the level of enthusiasm for dialogue and partnership has accelerated. To date, our #onHWS hashtag has made over 7.6 million impressions on Twitter, with engagement from over 600 participants, including MPs, MPPs, policy makers, funders, industry leaders, patients, and researchers. Speaking with one voice to a diverse audience, we remind each other that our common goal is moving discovery to practice for the benefit of people, today and tomorrow. That requires stable, ongoing investment in health research.

Partnerships, dialogue and a collaborative environment are required to create an actionable Ontario health research strategy and ensure investment. Two years ago, Leslee made a speech on behalf of CAHO, declaring that “partnerships are our new power tools.” I couldn’t agree more. I look forward to working with government, citizens, and research, health care and industry partners, towards that healthier, wealthier and smarter Ontario.

I hope you enjoy this fall edition of Catalyst, and that you to continue contributing to the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter campaign by visiting www.healthierwealthiersmarter.ca, sharing our Policy Platform, and joining the conversation on social media using the hashtag #onHWS.