Medical research institute breeding success

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Dec 05, 2013 - 2:56 PM |

In December, the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada (AMRIC) will celebrate the first anniversary of its launch in Greater Sudbury. The timing could not be better.

Greater Sudbury is on the verge of becoming a major centre for health care research. We have a state-of-the-art hospital, one of Canada’s newest medical schools, dynamic post-secondary institutions and highly skilled health care professionals of all disciplines.

Fostering this health-care hub of excellence, complete with a full research institute, will first and foremost improve health care for our citizens by finding innovative solutions to the North’s health care challenges.

That is why AMRIC was created: to improve the health of northerners and further develop the health care expertise that is already here in Sudbury.

AMRIC has been successful on this front.

Since AMRIC was launched, 60 full time research-related jobs have been created in Greater Sudbury. Among those relocating to Sudbury are world-class physicians whose projects are improving the care our patients receive.

Dr. Janet McElhaney is one of North America’s foremost experts on seniors’ health care, and her work is helping us find more effective ways to improve the health of frail seniors. It is her patients who are directly benefitting from the research.

Success breeds success. Having world-leading researchers here makes recruiting other new doctors easier, as they will be coming to a city that is on the cutting edge of medical advancement.

It can also ensure more young people from Greater Sudbury interested in a career in health sciences will stay to pursue their education and career opportunities.

In addition to improving care and attracting more physicians to our city, health care research at AMRIC has the potential to add millions of dollars to Sudbury’s economy.

AMRIC’s research projects have already attracted $5.5 million in external funding to Greater Sudbury — money that would not have come to our community in the absence of a research institute. And there are more research projects pending. 

The Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario has calculated that for every dollar spent on medical research, $3 of economic output is generated.

A report from the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation concludes that AMRIC’s research facility on Walford Road, slated to open next year, will contribute $2.5 million to the Sudbury economy every year.

When completed, it’s estimated the Walford Road research facility will lead to the creation of an additional 22 well-paying jobs within two years. It is also estimated that within a decade AMRIC will have created a total of 160 jobs in the community, and will generate $42 million in economic activity every year.

Greater Sudbury is on the cusp of its next great economic evolution, in which health sciences becomes an increasingly important pillar in the local economy. This is occurring in other communities as well.

Six years ago, Thunder Bay invested $5 million to start up their research institute. London, Ont. just committed $10 million over 10 years to develop its health research sector. In fact, governments at all levels are viewing the development of medical research as a strategic investment.

Better health care, a stronger economy, and more educational opportunities for our youth, are all part of AMRIC’s potential. It has been a wonderful first year and we look forward to helping Sudbury grow, thrive and be healthy for years to come.

Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma is the CEO and scientific director of the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada. 

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