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CAHO’s Chair Calls for Dialogue on Renewed Investment in Health Research and Innovation

TORONTO, September 23, 2013 – Leslee Thompson, President & CEO, Kingston General Hospital and Chair, Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO), spoke at the Economic Club of Canada on September 23, on the topic “Healthier, Wealthier & Smarter: The New Bottom Line for Investment in Health Research and Innovation.”

Thompson used the speech to open a dialogue on the value of investing in health research. “Today is a start. I want you to think about the value of Ontario renewing investment in discovery science,” she said. “I think we need to invest in making Ontario the place where the brightest minds in the world want to come to research, explore, and discover,” she said.

She spoke of Ontario’s health innovation heritage: “This has made our lives stronger and richer through many generations—from insulin and Pablum to stem cells and genetics.”

Thompson urged all those in the room to join in the discussion about making our health care system more productive, agile and innovative. “We can’t rest on our laurels. Health research and innovation in Ontario needs to evolve not just with, but ahead of the curve to make our economy stronger, more dynamic and more competitive,” she said.

Thompson sees research is a solid investment in the future that sees a healthy return. “For every dollar invested in health research and innovation in Ontario’s 24 research hospitals, three dollars of economic output is generated,” she said.

Research, she stated simply, makes Ontario healthier, wealthier and smarter. “It makes us healthier by raising the quality of care we provide our patients and bringing productivity improvements in our health care system,” she said. “Not just for patients, but with patients,” she added.

It makes us wealthier by introducing breakthroughs and innovations that save money and benefit patients. It makes us wealthier by creating new jobs for Ontarians. “It makes us smarter by positioning Ontario as a magnet for attracting and retaining the brightest minds from here and around the world,” she added.

Thompson cited eye-opening examples of research that’s currently being undertaken at CAHO hospitals around the province. She argued that all of these success stories were made through investments in research and partnerships with patients, other hospitals, the community, and business and industry. “Innovation just doesn’t happen. It’s the result of the relentless pursuit of answers, of discovery. It’s the result of pushing the boundaries on partnerships,” she said.

Thompson, who began as a front-line nurse, has built an impressive 25-year health care career that spans both the public and private sectors. She has held senior executive positions in leading organizations such as the University Health Network (UHN), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Cancer Care Ontario and Capital Health (Alberta). Before joining KGH, she was Vice-President, Health System Strategies for Canada with Medtronic, a global medical devices company.

To read the speech go to:

 About CAHO

The Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario is the non-profit association of Ontario’s 24 academic hospitals and their research institutes. CAHO provides a focal point for strategic initiatives on behalf of our member hospitals. As research intensive hospitals, CAHO members are fully affiliated with a university medical or health sciences faculty. Our hospitals provide the most complex and urgent care, teach the next generation of health care providers and foster health care innovation derived from discovery research. For more information, visit


For more information contact:

Chris Paterson
Director – Stakeholder Relations
t. 416-205-1404
m. 416-402-4461

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