Home | About CAHO | Contact Us     November 2011
Leading and partnering to get the most out of health research for the benefit of patients

CAHO takes every opportunity to get the most out of our health research enterprise to improve quality in health care for Ontarians. This work takes place in our research and academic hospitals everyday and is recognized beyond our community, with the Ontario government seeking our support to lead and partner on strategic initiatives. 

One opportunity originated from a request from government for CAHO to assist in the progress of the collaborative work in finding ways to improve the ethics review process for clinical trials in Ontario. Working with industry, universities and our own members, CAHO facilitated recommendations on how best to streamline the ethics review process for multi-site clinical trials in Ontario. The result was the creation of the provisional Clinical Trials Stakeholders Association (CTSA). I am proud to serve as chair of this dedicated group, along with my fellow CAHO colleagues, Art Slutsky and Duncan Stewart, and representatives from universities and industry. We look forward to working with government to create Clinical Trials Ontario – a one-stop shop for industry looking to conduct multi-site clinical trials in Ontario. 

Again, CAHO was called on by the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care and Economic Development and Innovation, to lead a working group to develop a collaborative Ontario approach to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Ontario Strategy for Patient Oriented Research. CAHO is committed to working with partners to get the most out of our investments in the health research enterprise and linking them together more effectively to ensure we can use research evidence to provide the best quality care for patients. 

Our commitment to advancing world-leading patient care and a sustainable health care system is demonstrated in a number of ways. Whether it is health research support or providing implementation, economic or health system strategies, CAHO is stepping forward to lead, partner and find solutions to the pressures facing health care in Ontario. 

I look forward to keeping you posted on our progress.

Dr. Barry McLellan
Chair, CAHO
President & CEO
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Leslee Thompson has over 25 years of health care experience that extends from the bedside to the boardrooms of some of Canada’s largest public and private sector organizations. She started her career as a critical care nurse, and is now the President & CEO of Kingston General Hospital (KGH).

Leslee is charged with leading KGH through a major organizational turn around. Prior to her KGH appointment in February 2009, Leslee was Vice President Health System Strategies for Medtronic, a global medical devices company where she had national and international responsibilities. Leslee has been a senior executive with community and teaching hospitals, a regional health authority and a provincial cancer agency.

In addition to executive experience, Leslee has an MBA from University of Western Ontario, a Masters of Nursing from University of Toronto, and a Nursing degree from Queen’s. She is also a certified health care executive (CHE) and a certified corporate director (ICD.D).

As Vice Chair of CAHO, and a member of the Executive Committee, Leslee is working with her colleagues to help strengthen the health research enterprise in Ontario. CAHO Catalyst recently asked Leslee to reflect on her career and the current challenges facing health research in Ontario.

You have an extensive background in health care leadership. To date, what are you most proud of in your career?
Two things. First, I am very proud of the teams that I have had the privilege of building and leading over the years – especially the one I have now at KGH. I love putting together high performing teams of people with diverse and complimentary skills, so that together we can achieve things that none of us could ever do on our own. I get great joy out of helping people develop and grow in ways that they had never imagined. Second, I am extremely proud of the patient and family advisory council that was created at KGH two years ago. This group of dedicated individuals is literally turning our organization inside out. We are on a journey from being a patient centered to a patient led organization, and it is so exciting to be part of this radical and high impact change.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in your current role at KGH?
Over the past 2 ½ years we have made tremendous progress on financial and operational fronts and achieving results that many people didn’t think were possible. The biggest challenge in getting there, has been finding ways to channel the immense talent and energy that exists within the organization toward our collective aim of achieving “Outstanding Care, Always”. We have an exciting new strategy, a five year action plan, metrics and deliverables, but getting these in place is really the easy part of change. Only when each individual takes ownership of the plans, infuses them with energy and passion and then bring them to life through their actions and attitudes every day, does strategy really matter. In fact, as corny as it may sound, I see my CEO role as “chief energy officer” in many respects – inspiring people to work together in new and different ways so that together we can deliver on our mission to transform the patient and family experience. That’s our new bottom line.

As Vice Chair of CAHO, how do you think the CAHO community can be a catalyst for creating a stronger health research enterprise for Ontario?
We are already well on our way. There are some tremendous areas of excellence in our research hospitals today that are truly world class. The opportunity for us in the future is to forge stronger and more innovative partnerships across our hospital, university and business sectors to accelerate the generation and adoption of knowledge that makes a difference to patients and patient care. We need to be much better at articulating the value of research and I look forward to the work that the research committee is going to be doing in the upcoming year on research metrics. This will be key to the ongoing profile and positioning of hospital based research.

Can you share with CAHO Catalyst some of the research priorities at KGH?
Cultivating patient oriented research is one of our four strategic directions at KGH. We have a strong track record of cross discipline research in Kingston, especially in areas of gastrointestinal disease, human mobility, respirology, critical care and neuroscience. Last year we launched the new KGH research institute and thanks to the partnership with Queen’s School of Medicine we are expanding the clinician scientist program and preparing for a new clinical investigation research centre. This is an exciting time for research in Kingston.

When you are not running KGH, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Our family has built a timber frame cottage, literally from scratch, so on the weekends I trade in the high heels and power suits for construction boots and power tools! Relaxing on the dock with friends and family is my favorite sport, and running on the country roads is a close second.

Leslee Thompson
Vice Chair, CAHO
President & CEO, Kingston General Hospital
Working together to streamline clinical trials  

In the spring of 2010, the Ontario Government launched its $161 million Life Sciences Commercialization Strategy, earmarking $17 million for three clinical trials related initiatives. One of these initiatives is: “A new province‐wide coordinating infrastructure to streamline administrative processes and ethics reviews across multiple clinical trial sites in order to increase the speed of patient recruitment.”  

Working together, the Clinical Trials Stakeholder Community submitted recommendations in response to a request from the Ministry of Research and Innovation, now the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI), on how to best streamline the ethics review process for industry-sponsored multi-site clinical trials in Ontario. As a key stakeholder for this initiative, CAHO facilitated the broad stakeholder consultations in order to achieve the overall goal, which is to create a more competitive environment for clinical trials in Ontario, while ensuring the highest ethical standards for patient safety.  

Earlier this year, MEDI endorsed the stakeholder recommendations and made a few amendments, including a proposal to initiate the work through a legal entity which reflected the entire clinical trial stakeholder community in Ontario. In an effort to move this work forward, the stakeholder community created the interim entity of “Clinical Trials Stakeholders Association” or “CTSA.”  

In its interim capacity, the mandate for CTSA is to establish the permanent entity of Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO), and to ensure CTO is equipped with the necessary tools to accelerate the streamlining of ethics reviews. 

Recognizing the responsibility of the hospitals in ensuring patient safety, Barry McLellan, in his capacity of Chair of CAHO, was appointed Chair of the Clinical Trials Stakeholders Association, which includes the following representative members:  

Three members from the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario

Barry McLellan, President & CEO, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, Chair, CAHO Council 
Duncan Stewart, CEO, Ottawa Hospital RI & CP Research, Co‐Chair, CAHO Research Cmte. 
Arthur Slutsky, VP Research, St. Michaels’ Hospital, Co‐Chair, CAHO Research Cmte.  

Two members from the University sector

Michael Owen, Associate Provost—Research, University if Ontario Institute of Technology, representing the Ontario Council of Universities Research (OCUR
John Kelton, VP and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University representing the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine (COFM)  

Three members from Industry

Lawrence Sereacki, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, MEDEC, representing Canada’s Medical Technology Companies (MEDEC)
Mark Lundie, Director of Medical Affairs, Pfizer Canada, representing Canada’s Research‐based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)
Clive Ward‐Able, Executive Director of R&D, Amgen Canada, representing the Industrial Biotechnology Association of Canada (BIOTECanada)  

Quick Synopsis

  • August 2011: CTSA submitted a work plan to MEDI outlining the activities and timelines required to initiate the work of streamlining ethics reviews of industry‐sponsored clinical trials in Ontario.
  • September 2011: CTSA work plan was approved and a transfer payment agreement was signed to create “Clinical Trials Ontario.”
  • November 2011: Currently, CAHO provides staff support to CTSA.
  • Next steps include hiring an Interim Executive Director of the CTSA to lead this work.
Leading the development of Ontario’s strategy on patient-oriented research  

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is designed to improve health outcomes and enhance patients' health care experience through integration of evidence at all levels in the health care system It involves ensuring that the right patient receives the right clinical intervention at the right time, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.

CAHO has been requested by the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care and Economic Development and Innovation to facilitate a working group to lead the development of Ontario’s approach to CIHR’s Strategy on Patient Oriented Research.

CIHR Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Ontario Working Group includes:

Heather Arthur, Chief Scientific Director, Hamilton Health Sciences
Larry Chambers, President & Chief Scientist, Élisabeth-Bruyère RI
Roger Deeley, VP Health Sciences Research, Kingston General Hospital
Francisco Diaz-Mitoma, VP Research, Health Sciences North
Vivek Goel, CEO, Public Health Ontario
David Henry, President & CEO, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Colin Macarthur, Associate Chief of Clinical Research, The Hospital for Sick Children
Karen Michell, Executive Director, CAHO
Michael Owen, Associate Provost, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), representing the Ontario Council of Universities Research
Bruce Pollock, VP Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Mark Poznansky, President & CEO, Ontario Genomics Institute
Arthur Slutsky, VP Research, St. Michael's Hospital
Duncan Stewart, CEO, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Alison Buchan, Vice Dean, Research & International Relations, University of Toronto, representing the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine
Michele Noble, Corporate Secretary, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Allison Barr, Director, Research Branch, Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation
Alison Paprica, Acting Director, Health System Planning and Research Branch, MOHLTC

The initial meetings of the Ontario SPOR Working Group served to identify broad system priorities for action and clear criteria to aid in the selection of a focus for SPOR in Ontario.

The output of the SPOR working group will be shared with a broad range of Ontario stakeholders for review, prior to a formal submission to CIHR in 2012. 

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