Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI), Laurentian University, and Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) celebrated the opening of a new health data centre in Sudbury today.
“Through our network of satellite sites, ICES’s vision to create a province-wide community of research, data and health-system experts in partnership with many of Ontario’s leading health institutes and universities has become a reality. This vision could never have been complete until ICES was present in the North, enabling high-quality, locally informed research and training to benefit the people of the North and all of Ontario. By engaging with scientists, trainees and the breadth of expertise and local knowledge available in the North, our partnership will contribute to the effectiveness, quality, equity and efficiency of health care and health services for all Ontarians,” says Dr. Michael Schull, CEO of ICES.
ICES North opened today as the sixth and last satellite of the ICES, a not-for-profit research institute that serves the research community in Ontario. Each and every time, patients interact with the health system, unique data sets, which do not disclose patient information, are saved. This allows researchers to compare data sets from various regions to help determine how we can improve delivery of health care and outcomes for patients.
“Health research is growing in Northern Ontario. It is allowing us to attract, retain and most importantly, train the next generation of scientists here in the North. Together, we are creating heath solutions for the North while fostering new opportunities for collaboration with our partners and communities. This results in new innovation that will improve patient outcomes,” says Dominic Giroux, CEO of Health Sciences North Research Institute.
Working side by side with ICES North analysts, northern researchers will be able to answer important questions about the health of northern populations which previously could only be done in Southern Ontario. In the past, scientists had to leave Sudbury to conduct research at ICES Central in Toronto to work with their analysts. Now, that research can happen right here in Sudbury with the help of the ICES North team. “The ICES North will lead cutting-edge studies in population-based health research, combining data and discovery to improve public health and health care. This important resource will better inform research priorities and help us to develop innovative patient-focused research collaborations between researchers at Laurentian University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the Health Sciences North Research Institute,” says Dr. Rizwan Haq, Interim Vice-President Research at Laurentian University.
HSNRI, Laurentian University and NOSM have worked together to bring an ICES satellite to Sudbury to advance research opportunities for researchers, clinicians and learners. “For years, Canadian health research took place primarily in large cities which meant that many health questions were going unanswered in Northern Ontario. ICES North is a critical resource that will allow us to strengthen our collaborative and meaningful community-based research to address the priority health concerns faced in our region,” says Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM Dean and CEO.
Creating ICES North requires the development of highly secure space to house dedicated information technology infrastructure and workstations to be used by researchers and data analysts to access ICES data. This project came together with funds from FedNor, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation in the fall of 2017.
The renovation of 1,000 square feet of highly secure space includes a total of 10 work spaces, with two dedicated work stations for student training. As well, a trained data analyst will provide support services to researchers. Dr. Mike Conlon was appointed the Site Director with three HSNRI staff members under his leadership.
- The ICES North satellite is located at Health Sciences North’s Ramsey Lake Health Centre
- In November 2017, FedNor, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation invested $563,424 into the project.
- The project required the renovation of 1,000 square feet of highly secure space that includes 10 work spaces, with 2 dedicated work spaces for student training and development of highly qualified personnel.
- Thanks to the installation of a highly secured information technology, ICES North connects directly to ICES to access secure data.
- Researchers wanting to access data will work with a trained data analyst to access data and provide analytic support services.