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Group seeks designation of Golden Horseshoe region as a centre of excellence of new Canada Public Health Agency


Toronto, ON – April 6, 2004 – An alliance of the academic, business, health care, and scientific research communities was joined today by representatives of three levels of government in calling on Ottawa to designate Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region a national centre of excellence of the new Canada Public Health Agency (CPHA).

At a news conference, the Toronto Region Research Alliance (TRRA) and leading public officials cited the region’s unique qualifications and recommended it be designated a centre of excellence in several areas in which it offers world class research and academic expertise.

There is significant competition among a number of regions across Canada for designation as centres of excellence within the CPHA. The TRRA said it supports the stated objective of creating a national network of centres selected on the basis of research merit and capability while respecting regional needs and expertise. It says its region is a natural choice to serve as a centre of excellence in such areas as:

– Public health education and training;
– Public health emergency response;
– Evidence-based decision making through knowledge translation and exchange;
– International infectious disease prevention, population health and global awareness with special reference to surveillance and control of imported tropical and subtropical diseases;
– Surveillance and prevention of infectious disease risks from food and environment;
– Surveillance and prevention of zoonotic diseases;
– Infection control in health care settings;
– Public health policy research including research on the outcomes of policy;
– Public health risk modeling;
– Mental health and addictions;
– Chronic diseases and their risk factors;
– Inner city health and homelessness;
– Migrant health;
– Workplace health.

The establishment of the CPHA as a focal point for disease control and emergency response, along with its annual funding base of $400 million plus additional start up monies, was announced in the federal budget tabled on March 23. The government is in the process of deciding on the structure and location of CPHA centres.

“The synergies between Toronto, Hamilton and Guelph are second to none," said George Smitherman, Ontario minister of health and long term care. "Among other attributes, Toronto brings the research depth of the University of Toronto hospital network and the real-world experience of managing the SARS outbreak. When you add to that McMaster University’s international reputation in health policy, evaluation and information, and the University of Guelph’s world-renowned expertise in animal and water-borne illnesses, you have a public health powerhouse here in Ontario.”

The Toronto Region Research Alliance was launched in 2003 as a joint initiative of the Toronto City Summit Alliance plus public and private institutions located throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Waterloo, Guelph and London. Its mission is to make the region a world leading centre for research and research-driven industry by helping to build research capacity, enhancing the commercialization of research, attracting research-driven companies, and working to retain and expand those companies that are already active in the region.