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External scientific review sets WCRI on a path to continue growing its research quality and impact

April  20, 2015

Late last year, Marilyn Emery, president and CEO of Women’s College Hospital (WCH), commissioned an external scientific review of Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) that led to valuable recommendations for continuing the growth of the institute’s research quality and impact.

“Over the last five years, we have seen incredible achievements come out of WCRI,” said Emery. “The purpose of the review was to seek external, expert comments on the growth of WCRI, and advice to help the institute identify future opportunities and directions.”

Two internationally recognized researchers were invited to conduct the review: Dr. Joy Johnson, vice-president of research at Simon Fraser University, and Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, associate dean of the Center of Global Health and director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics at the University of Chicago. They were provided with a self-study report prepared by WCRI and had the opportunity to conduct an on-site visit at WCH last November.

“I was very pleased to have the opportunity to learn about the fabulous work that’s taking place at Women’s College Research Institute at Women’s College Hospital,” said Dr. Johnson. “I’m very impressed with the scholarship there and their commitment to excellence in research.”

During their visit, Drs. Johnson and Olopade met with senior leaders and advisors at WCH, as well as many of the scientists and trainees based at WCRI. The reviewers also met with senior representatives from the University of Toronto and the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network.

In their final report, Drs. Johnson and Olopade reported that WCRI is on an impressive trajectory – the scientists are incredibly productive and competitive, publishing in high-impact journals and making a global impact.

“For an institution of its size, the exceptional quality of its researchers has allowed WCRI to impact women’s health and chronic non-communicable conditions across the lifespan in Canada and across the globe,” said Dr. Olopade. “From the groundbreaking work on breast cancer genetics to tackling postpartum depression to gender violence and to innovations in care delivery, the trajectory of growth and the productivity of the scientists is truly impressive.”

The reviewers also identified various external and organizational opportunities to continue to advance research at WCH and its integration into clinical practice, and uniquely position WCRI locally and internationally.

“It was encouraging to hear such positive comments from the reviewers about our successes so far,” said Dr. Paula Rochon, vice-president of research at WCH. “But more importantly, the reviewers provided us with excellent feedback and ideas to ensure we continue to grow our research quality, capacity and impact.”

The reviewers’ findings are being presented within the organization and will be moved forward into action items.

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