Mid-Summer Check-in

I hope all are enjoying this beautiful Saskatchewan summer and getting some down time. I wanted to give you some brief updates.

First, I want to provide a belated welcome to our PGY1’s as they are now two weeks into their residency programs. I was in clinic on Orientation Day and pleased to see the new Family Medicine residents and especially pleased to see so many familiar faces.

We have had great success at seeing our own graduates choose our residency programs and that bodes well for the future recruitment by the Saskatchewan Health Authority of our graduates. And hopefully the new residents have all successfully survived their first few nights on call and their average daily heart rates are starting to trend back to normal!

Second, I would like to congratulate Dr. Troy Harkness and Dr. Terra Arnason from the CoM and Dr. Christopher Eskiw from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources for their success in the latest Project Grant round of CIHR. They were awarded $872,000 over five years and even more remarkably their project received a score of 4.59 and was ranked second among 54 grant applications. Congratulations to Troy and his team!

I would also like to point out that Troy thanks the CoM for the CoMBridge funding that he received last year that was instrumental in this tremendous CIHR success. Repeatedly researchers who have received CoM support have gone on to national success.

What many in the public do not understand is that local and provincial support to researchers is absolutely essential for success in the big national competitions. Researchers need immense amounts of preparation and preliminary data to compete on the incredibly competitive national stage. The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation has very limited funding and thus this internal support to our researchers is essential to our research success.

However, what the public may not also realize is that provincial research funding is directly correlated with provincial health outcomes. A paper from the University of Calgary School of Public Policy by Zwicker and Emery entitled, “How is Funding Medical Research Better for Patients?”  is sobering reading for anyone from Saskatchewan or Manitoba!

We all know correlation is not causation but the authors quite clearly demonstrate that mortality from potentially avoidable causes and treatable causes is inversely correlated with provincial research funding. So as a socially accountable organization we must do all we can to support research.

Finally, and on a personal level, I can report our 40th wedding anniversary river cruise in Eastern Europe was incredible! Budapest and Prague are my new favorite cities and the concert on board by Jann Arden was incredible. We also had a few days last week in the Rockies with family and look forward to a family wedding in NB and some Miramichi salmon fishing in early August.

So I hope you all are having a great summer and remember my door is open and I value your feedback.