Health and Community Services
September 10, 2018

Memorial University Leads Healthcare Innovation to Advance
Research and Benefit Residents

Through a $3.8 million investment from the Government of Canada, Memorial University is developing innovative initiatives in genetics and rural healthcare to benefit residents and support economic growth.

The Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, participated in today’s event where the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced funding from ACOA’s Business Development Program for Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine towards two innovative projects. Ministers Haggie and O’Regan were also joined by Nick Whalen, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East.

An investment of more than $2.4 million is enabling Memorial University to partner with the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI) to integrate genetic information with existing data in the province’s electronic health record. This project will help improve healthcare delivery and enhance opportunities for genetics research.

In addition, Memorial University is using an investment of more than $1.4 million to expand its existing biomedical 3D printing laboratory and establish a network of rural research and development sites to advance medical education and patient care.

Support for initiatives such as this delivers on commitments in The Way Forward to strengthen the province’s economic foundation and deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at thewayforward.gov.nl.ca.

Quotes
“Investments in innovation and technology are driving change in Newfoundland and Labrador’s health care system. Through The Way Forward, we are committed to creating the conditions where leading innovators like the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information and Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine can excel and support improved health outcomes for residents. We will continue to work with the Federal Government to create the conditions in this province from which a strong community of health innovation can grow and prosper.”
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services

“Universities across Canada are leading the way with important research and advances in innovation, which help improve the lives of Canadians. Through these investments from the Government of Canada, Memorial University is working with key partners in the healthcare sector to incorporate innovation into areas where it will translate into benefits for residents, researchers and the local economy.”
Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Our Government understands that innovation and technology improve our daily lives and drive our economy. And by investing in innovative ideas in healthcare at Memorial University, including these two exciting initiatives in genetics and rural healthcare, we’re investing in the quality of life for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”
Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl

“Through Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, our government continues to focus on strategic investments in innovative research and business ideas. These highly innovative projects support research happening at Memorial University to improve healthcare delivery and have the potential to fuel new business and commercialization opportunities in growth sectors.”
Nick Whalen
Member of Parliament for St. John’s East

“Memorial’s teams of multi-disciplinary researchers are globally recognized for their work in helping address health care challenges and improving health outcomes for the communities we serve. This latest investment will further boost Memorial’s international reputation for innovative research and Memorial is grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting our researchers and scientists. I wish Drs. Proton Rahman and Adam Dubrowski, lead researchers for these two projects, much success.”
Dr. Gary Kachanoski
President and Vice-Chancellor of Memorial University

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Learn more
Memorial University Faculty of Medicine external link icon

Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information external link icon

The Way Forward

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL external link icon and @HCS_GovNL external link icon

Media contacts
Emily Timmins
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 693-1292
EmilyTimmins@gov.nl.ca

Paul McGrath
ACOA NL
709-772-2984
paulmcgrath@canada.ca

Michelle Osmond
Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University
709-864-6358
Michelle.Osmond@med.mun.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Memorial University Leads Healthcare Innovation to Advance Research and Benefits Residents

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is providing two non-repayable investments totaling more than $3.8 million through its Business Development Program (BDP) to Memorial University.

Details of the projects are as follows:

Project Descriptions

$2,445,091 in non-repayable BDP funding

Memorial University is partnering with the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI) to better utilize genetic information to diagnose disease and predict drug response to improve the lives of the people and communities it serves. This project, which has the potential for global application, will integrate genetic information with existing data in the province’s electronic health record housed at NLCHI.

This investment will enable Memorial University to acquire specialized equipment to perform DNA sequencing, which is currently done outside the province. It will also facilitate ethical, privacy and public consultation, and will help NLCHI develop a platform to integrate and disseminate this data. As a result, physicians and pharmacists will be able to securely access more comprehensive data for patients predisposed to common diseases with a genetic underpinning. The new system will provide a platform for precision medicine to be applied throughout the province.

Through this new partnership, public and private sector research partners developing health innovation products and services will also be able to access a significantly enhanced level of data for use in studying the field of genetics.

$1,423,867 in non-repayable BDP funding

Memorial University will help advance medical education and patient care across Newfoundland and Labrador by expanding the existing biomedical 3D printing laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine. An outreach initiative will establish a network of research and development sites in rural communities across the province.

This investment will enable rural sites to use 3D printing technology to produce time and cost-effective anatomy models and medical device prototypes. Researchers in the main laboratory will provide ongoing project support as well as engineering and biomedical expertise. This initiative holds potential to create spin-off medical device products and simulation-based companies for commercialization. It could also help reduce healthcare wait times, operating times and medical transportation expenses.

Rural sites in Newfoundland and Labrador will include Happy Valley-Goose Bay, St. Anthony, Twillingate, Carbonear, Burin and Corner Brook. A seventh site is also planned for Saint John, New Brunswick.

2018 09 10                              1:55 p.m.