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ICES, Sunnybrook & SickKids scientists part of Canadian Respiratory Research Network receiving a boost from Government of Canada


Scientists from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) are part of the Canadian Respiratory Research Network, which is receiving a boost from Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose today. Minister Ambrose announced the funding today as part of the launch of three pan-Canadian research networks.

Dr. Andrea Gershon, ICES scientist, and respirologist and scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Dr. Teresa To, senior scientist at SickKids and adjunct scientist at ICES, are both founding members of the newly launched respiratory network.

“This new funding will allow us to continue to conduct population health research in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A main project we will be working on will examine how having a co-diagnosis of asthma impacts the course of COPD. This builds on the hypothesis that asthma may be a risk factor for the development of COPD,” said Gershon.

Both Gershon and To are members of the Network Steering Committee.

“Our platform targets to identify hot spots of incidence, exacerbations and respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD, in association with air pollution and climate change. Our findings may be used to guide the development and implementation of preparedness and response plans for health threats such as smog days and severe weather events like this winter’s extended severe cold spell,” said To. “This research also aims to target the most vulnerable subpopulations like children and the elderly to minimize asthma and COPD incidence, progression and morbidity.” This platform is a partnership with researchers at various universities (University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Western University, University of Ottawa and Carleton University), the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Health Canada and Public Health Ontario which is made possible through this new initiative.

The Emerging Networks will bring together Canada’s best minds in the three research networks: the Canadian Respiratory Research Network, the Canadian Stroke Prevention Intervention Network and the Canadian Vascular Network. They will include a broad group of researchers and stakeholders, ranging from areas of basic discovery to clinical trials, to health systems and services as well as population health. Together, they will build a critical mass of technical and scientific expertise to enhance research innovation and impact.

“Our Government is committed to supporting Canada’s health research communities,” said Minister Ambrose. “The Networks that we have launched today will unite Canada’s best and brightest researchers in the goal of bringing about real improvements in healthcare.”

Federal Health Minister Ambrose was joined by Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Dr. Jean Rouleau, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, and Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, to announce the launch of the research networks.

The Networks will:

  • develop a coordinated national approach to evaluating and resolving specific research challenges provide a forum for sharing ideas, resources and best practices
  • allow Canada to attract, train and retain the best talent in health research;
  • and align stakeholders within their respective communities to work toward the attainment of common goals.

The Emerging Networks fit within the wider Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). SPOR is a national coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners (patient advocates, provincial health authorities, academic health centres, charities, philanthropic organizations and the pharmaceutical sector) dedicated to the integration of research into care.

More than 20 partners from industry, health charities and academic institutions are providing support to these Networks, including the Canadian Lung Association, Hypertension Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The Emerging Networks will move research evidence into practice. They will create health-care innovations, thereby improving health outcomes for Canadians.

The ultimate goal of each Emerging Network is to translate research into practice for the benefit of Canadian patients.

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of healthcare issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting healthcare needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.

For the latest ICES news, follow us on Twitter:@ICESOntario

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world's foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada's leading centre dedicated to advancing children's health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada's most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally. Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca


  • Deborah Creatura
  • Communications, ICES
  • [email protected]
  • (o) 416-480-4780 or (c) 647-406-5996