Fourth annual Georgian Bay Healthcare Wellness Research and Innovation Day

The fourth annual Georgian Bay Healthcare Wellness Research and Innovation Day, took place on Wednesday June 19th at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH).

This event was the product of collaboration between CGMH, the Town of Collingwood, the Rural Ontario Medical Program (ROMP), and Georgian College.

Research Day was designed to showcase posters and bring speakers together to deliver lectures on the topics of cancer care, quality improvement, and patient-centred care in the South Georgian Bay area.

If you missed it, the full recording of Research Day can be found here: https://romponline.com/events/

Over 35 research and innovation posters were exhibited from local health and wellness professionals, and time was dedicated to networking and conversing around these posters. The posters described innovative partnerships, quality improvement projects, new community and organizational programs, and more! For a full catalogue of posters at this event, please visit the CGMH Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CollingwoodGMHospital

Leaders from Research Day’s partner organizations delivered opening remarks to begin the day. Dr. Michael Lisi, Chief of Staff at CGMH and Chair of the Research Day Committee, welcomed the diverse crowd of attendees, which included students, physicians, researchers, community business partners and more. Many attendees chose to watch the day’s events through the live stream online option. There were over 265 live streamers watching this event, which included viewers from across Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, and Qatar.

This is an innovative way of bringing increased numbers of busy healthcare providers to education forums. There was almost a 400% increase in the live stream usage of the event compared to the previous year. Organizers of this event were thrilled that not only the local community but the province, Canada, and other countries are learning from this world class event. “Our region is emerging as a destination for learning partnerships and expertise. The success of this event demonstrates how we are striving to meet our strategic mission for innovation” Dr. Lisi said in response to the increase in live stream users.

Michelle Hunter, from the Rural Ontario Medical Program and Dr. Jacqueline Limoges, Faculty of Health, Wellness and Science Professor at Georgian College and Vice Chair of the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics board, shared opening remarks to welcome the day’s attendees and invited everyone to take full advantage of the opportunities offered.

The first keynote speaker of the day was Dr. Jonathan Irish, surgical lead for Cancer Care Ontario. Dr. Irish spoke about the use of performance data and how this can be used impact health care through quality improvement. Next, Dr. Tak Mak, Director of the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and University Professor in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology at the University of Toronto, discussed his ground-breaking research and developments in identifying potential targets for novel cancer therapeutics. Alaa El Danab, a Registered Dietician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, wrapped up the first half of the day by discussing how nutrition can be used as a tool in the treatment and recovery of cancer.

A networking and poster viewing session followed the first session, where attendees had a chance to view the multitude of posters lining the walls of CGMH and engage in conversations with their authors.

Leading the second half of the day was an impactful perspective provided by Gregory Armstrong, Chaplain at CGMH, who shared his journey as a patient living with cancer and how his commitment to family and faith acts as an anchor and compass in life. Dr. Leslie Hutchings, Family Physician, and Janet McFarland, Physiotherapist and Co-Director of Barrie Lymphocare, spoke about the importance of the prevention and treatment of lymphedema. Next, Dr. Ehab Mohammed, Naturopathic Doctor, discussed the role of naturopathy in the area of oncology and his current research in this area.

Dr. Christiaan Stevens, Medical Director of the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, discussed oligometastatic disease and the role of stereotactic radiotherapy in treatment. Dr. Alyssa Boyd, Family Physician in Wasaga Beach and a consulting Palliative Care physician in South Georgian Bay, Medical Director of the Hospice Georgian Triangle and Campbell House, and the Physician Lead for the local Shared Care Team, encouraged attendees to talk about the “elephant in the room” by being open to initiating a discussion of death with individuals facing terminal illness. Dr. Boyd shared information on local community supports and resources available to assist in this process. Dr. Sara Rask, Head of Medical Oncology at Simcoe Muskoka Reginal Cancer Centre, concluded the day’s presentations by speaking about the role of prognostic and predictive biomarkers that are being identified in current research and used to facilitate a targeted, personalized approach to cancer treatment.

The Research and Innovation Day committee would like to thank the four partner organizations for their ongoing support, and most importantly, would like to thank all community health and wellness professionals as well as community members who participated in the day.

More information on next year’s Research and Innovation Day will be released soon, which will highlight a relevant healthcare topic for the South Georgian Bay Community. It is hoped that this exciting and unique event has inspired action and collaboration, and will continue to leave a legacy of engagement and commitment to health and wellness for years to come.