2009-2010 IHSPR Rising Star Award RecipientsIHSPR is pleased to announce the 2010 IHSPR Rising Star Award recipients. Three outstanding students studying in the field of health services and policy research were recognized as Rising Stars and will receive the Rising Star Award ($1,000), a certificate of excellence, and the opportunity to present their research at the May 2010 Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) conference.
The Rising Stars were selected by a review committee based on their demonstration of excellence in research and/or knowledge translation (KT), the innovation of their work, and the potential impact of their work within the field of health services and policy research. Congratulations to the IHSPR Rising Stars!
Practicing General Internist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and
A Scientist at the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
Dr. Dhalla completed his clinical training at the University of Toronto. After a year as chief medical resident at St. Michael's Hospital, he was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship, which he used to study for an MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing at the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He subsequently received a CIHR Fellowship Award and is supervised by Drs. Andreas Laupacis and Geoffrey Anderson. He is a practicing general internist at St. Michael's Hospital and a Lecturer in the Departments of Medicine and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.
The paper for which Dr. Dhalla won the CIHR Rising Star Award, co-authored by David Juurlink, Muhammad Mamdani, Marco Sivilotti, Alex Kopp and Omar Qureshi, was titled "Prescribing of opioid analgesics and related mortality before and after the introduction of long-acting oxycodone." It was published in the December 8, 2009 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Dr. Dhalla started this project during his residency and continued it through his master's degree and into his postdoctoral fellowship. Data from over 7000 charts were abstracted from the coroner's office. These data were then linked to administrative databases at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
The paper showed that opioid-related deaths have doubled over a 14-year period, and that the increase in deaths was especially large after a specific opioid formulation, long-acting oxycodone (OxyContin) was added to the public formulary. The paper was also the first to show that most deaths were accidental (rather than from suicides) and that most people who died had received opioids via prescription.
The obvious implication is that most of the 1,000 or so opioid-related deaths in Canada each year are likely to be preventable.
The paper received national media attention with feature segments on all the major television networks and prominent coverage in all the major newspapers. In Ontario, Dr. Dhalla has presented his findings to both the Committee to Evaluate Drugs and the Narcotics Advisory Panel.
Post-Doctoral Student with the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy, McGill University
Marc-André Gagnon is a post-doctoral student at McGill University's Centre for Intellectual Property Policy, where his supervisor is Professor Richard Gold. Dr. Gagnon received his Ph.D. in Political Science from York University in May 2009. His doctoral thesis, supervised by Professor Rodney Loeppky, dealt with the global political economy of the pharmaceutical industry and was honoured with the Yumiko Iida Memorial Ph.D. Prize for the best doctoral dissertation in political science. A section of this thesis was published as a paper in the journal PLoS Medicine (Gagnon and Lexchin, "The Cost of Pushing Pills").
Dr. Gagnon's current research deals with pharmaceutical innovation policies in Canada, public drug insurance coverage, and corporate influence on medical practice and medical research. He is currently a researcher for the Pharmaceutical Policy Research Collaboration, a pan-Canadian research network led by Professor Steve Morgan. He also holds a fellowship from Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Foundation Centre for Ethics, through which he is conducting a research project on the political economy of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, under the supervision of Professor Lawrence Lessig. Dr. Gagnon teaches pharmaceutical regulation at McGilll's Faculty of Law, and economics at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Montréal. He will be starting his career as a university professor in July 2010 at Carleton University's School of Public Policy and Administration, where he has just been hired for a tenure-track position in social and political health policy.
The knowledge-application initiative for which Marc-André Gagnon has received a CIHR Rising Star Award is a lecture series based on his doctoral thesis and entitled « Modèle d'affaire de l'industrie pharmaceutique : Des profits fondés sur le contrôle du savoir médical » [the pharmaceutical industry's business model: profits based on controlling medical knowledge]. The goal of this initiative was to let physicians benefit from the results of institutionalist economic analyses of the pharmaceutical industry's business model. These analyses have shown that, contrary to popular belief, the profitability of the pharmaceutical industry is based less on its ability to innovate than on a set of corporate strategies designed to unduly influence medical research and the prescribing habits of physicians—for instance, ghostwriting medical papers, conducting clinical trials for promotional purposes, providing corporate funding to opinion leaders, paying targeted sales visits, and giving out samples for promotional purposes. Many physicians regard themselves as immune to outside influences and have very little understanding of the strategies by which corporations attempt to influence their prescribing habits. By explaining these strategies, Dr. Gagnon's knowledge-application initiative is raising awareness of the structural problems in the medical establishment and enabling physicians to take a rational look at possible regulatory reforms and amendments to existing codes of ethics.
A conference that Dr. Gagnon delivered in English via the Web on November 12, 2009, entitled "The Dominant Business Model in the Pharmaceutical Sector", is available on-line from the McGill Centre for Continuing Health Professional Education.
Director Nursing Research, St. Michael's Hospital
Scientist, Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's
Lianne Jeffs completed her PhD in Health Services Research in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto in 2010. She has expertise in health services research and evaluation, policy development and analysis, nursing leadership and professional practice, and knowledge translation with a particular focus on patient safety and quality improvement. As a doctoral student, Lianne was the recipient of the University of Toronto and CIHR's Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Knowledge Translation in Patient Safety Student Scholarships. Her dissertation work focused on developing a theoretical explanation for organizational learning associated with near misses in the health care system with Dr. G. Ross Baker as her supervisor and mentor. While completing her dissertation, Lianne assumed the role of Director Nursing Research at St. Michael's in Toronto, Ontario. In this role, she developed the Nursing Research Advancing Practice (RAP) Program, a key research capacity building and knowledge translation initiative targeted at equipping clinical nurses to conduct research. Dr. Jeffs received the CIHR – IHSPR Rising Star Award for the Nursing RAP Program Knowledge Translation Initiative. Over the course of 2 offerings, this program has included over 60 nurses involved in 20 research projects. Findings from many of the research projects have informed patient outcomes at the local level (e.g. safer medication practices, falls prevention, and enhanced quality of life) and policy changes at organizational and professional levels (e.g. changes to the use of restraints). Moreover, the program has served as a key retention strategy for nurses with 58 nurses (out of 64) still employed at the hospital.
Lianne's current research focus is on designing and testing out integrated knowledge translation, patient safety and quality improvement interventions aimed at enhancing clinicians' competencies to provide safer care in health care organizations. In June 2009, Lianne was awarded and received Early Nursing Research Career Award from the Ministry of Health and Long Term care with Dr. Andreas Laupacis as her research mentor. Through this work, she is generating knowledge that advances nursing practice and policy through evidence based design and delivery of safer clinical and organizational practices in Ontario.
Many thanks to the members of the Rising Star Review Committee, and congratulations to the Rising Star Award recipients!
2010 Rising Star Award - funding opportunity details.