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St. Michael’s Dr. Samir Gupta part of the team awarded a national network grant for chronic respiratory disease research

Toronto, February 24, 2014

By Leslie Shepherd

Natalee Elvie, the clinical nurse educator leading the online wellness incentive program.
Dr. Samir Gupta

Dr. Samir Gupta is part of national network of respiratory researchers and experts that has been awarded a grant to tackle the growing public health problem of chronic respiratory disease in Canada.

“Respiratory disease research in Canada is strong but somewhat fragmented, with relatively little collaboration between centres, across disciplines and between pediatric- and adult-focused researchers,” said Dr. Gupta, a respirologist at St. Michael’s Hospital. “The goal is to bring together researchers across disciplines and research themes and have them work together to improve understanding of the origins and progression of chronic airway diseases in Canada.”

The launch of the Canadian Respiratory Research Network was announced today in Ottawa by federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose in conjunction with the unveiling of two other national networks geared at vascular and stroke prevention intervention research.

Dr. Gupta said respiratory diseases—including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—are among the most common affecting Canadians and collectively they impose “a heavy and expensive burden on individuals, populations and health care systems.”

He noted that too often, scientists do research in their specific area and do not have the ability to see if others are doing similar work in a slightly different area that may provide insights into their own field.

“Similarly, basic science research is not always brought to the level of the patient as fast as it could be because basic science and clinical researchers are not always connected and aware of what one another is doing,” he said.

As a knowledge translation expert for the network, Dr. Gupta said that his role is to ensure that the network’s research is relevant to the end-users. Prior to conducting studies, respiratory scientists and experts in the network will seek input from government decision-makers, primary care physicians and patients to determine what is important to them, what type of knowledge they will be able to benefit from and how they will utilize that knowledge.

“With the multitude of studies published every day, and the challenges to adopting new knowledge and practices, front-line clinicians often don't have the tools to incorporate and adopt new knowledge as it becomes available,” he said. “By building an infrastructure for communication and collaboration between Canadian researchers, we will translate respiratory research into practice that will benefit patients and improve patient care.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.