ICRH Scientific Director: Dr. Brian H. Rowe's statement

January 2016

I want to take this opportunity to say how excited and humbled I am to accept the position of Scientific Director of the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health. As members of our Institute will recognize, we are a large institute with an exceptional reputation for research excellence, collaboration and positive influences on patient outcomes. In addition, many of our leaders are members of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) and hold important positions within the Canadian academic community. A perfect example of this is the recent appointment of Dr. Paul O’Byrne, one of Canada's most accomplished and respected respiratory researchers, as the Dean of Medicine at McMaster University. It’s hard not to be inspired by the contributions and accomplishments of our Institute members.

It is important to acknowledge the exceptional leadership provided to ICRH by the former Scientific Director Dr. Jean Rouleau. Dr. Rouleau has left huge shoes to fill and I would personally like to thank Jean for his tremendous leadership of the Institute over the past five years and for all his help during this period of transition. Jean, his Assistant Director, Dr. Pierre Boyle, and the ICRH team were able to accomplish a great deal during their time with the Institute – not the least of which was the creation of eight Networks and community development programs that will drive forward Canadian research and attract, train and mentor the next generation of researchers in the field of circulatory and respiratory health. These Networks have already supported the work of 54 young researchers, and we are all excited to review their progress in the coming years.

Speaking of the future – we are living in changing times for health research in Canada. This means that we will have to be especially good at seeking out and seizing opportunities. Although the immediate future is unknown, I think the Institute can position itself well by working collaboratively with its partners across the country and searching out non-government sources of research funding. Building partnerships with universities and groups like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Lung Association, the Canadian Thoracic Society and other similar organizations will be key to our future success.

This Institute is unique in the breadth of its work, which touches on conditions including various heart diseases; respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD; critical care; strokes; conditions of the blood and blood vessels; and sleep disorders like sleep apnea. In short, we support research into many of the world's most common and important chronic diseases, many of which require emergency and critical care involvement. This means that we are uniquely positioned to partner with CIHR's other Institutes and pursue priority funding opportunities through the Roadmap Accelerator Fund, which will be a major priority for me.

As I take up this position, I will be listening to my colleagues, CIHR employees and stakeholders across the country to learn from them and find opportunities to advance research in circulatory and respiratory health. My team and I will be dedicated to maximizing the research funding, educational and meeting opportunities to generate new evidence, translate evidence into practice and improve health care for all Canadians. I look forward to meeting with as many of you as possible during my time with CIHR. Finally, I would like to thank Mrs. Maryse Desjardins and Ms. Caroline Wong from the Montreal Heart Institute who have generously offered to stay on for several months to help me with the transition. Dr. Rouleau’s team has shown professionalism, collaboration, and deep commitment to the ICRH community and the Institute is much stronger after their tenure. We wish them well in the next stages of their careers.

Dr. Brian H. Rowe

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