Academy members come from across the spectrum of the health disciplines
BY BARRY GUNN, OVC
The Ontario Veterinary College will play a key role in Canada's first academic national health advisory body.
The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) was created to provide the federal government and the public with arm's-length advice and expertise on issues relevant to the health of Canadians. At its inaugural meeting in Vancouver last month, Profs. Wayne Martin, Population Medicine, and Carlton Gyles, Pathobiology, were named to the 162-member body along with OVC graduate Ian Dohoo of the Atlantic Veterinary College.
“I think it speaks very well of OVC that we have three of the four veterinarians on the CAHS,” says Martin, an epidemiologist with a special interest in disease surveillance and control programs and prevention of zoonotic disease. “Each of us views the appointment as an honour.”
Gyles will serve on the CAHS board of directors as well as its nominating committee (which reviews nominations for membership), and on a panel assessing the benefits of and barriers to interdisciplinary health sciences research.
The role of the CAHS will be to develop informed strategic assessments on urgent health issues, inform public policy, enhance Canada's readiness to deal with global health issues, and provide a recognized and authoritative Canadian voice on international health concerns.
Members of the CAHS come from across the spectrum of the health disciplines, including human medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, rehabilitation medicine and veterinary medicine.
“Many of the current and future health issues facing society are multi-causal in nature and require a multidisciplinary approach to help resolve them and make the solutions sustainable,” says Martin.
The academy's organizers say its establishment is long overdue given the potential global health threats such as SARS and avian influenza.
“On the veterinary front, we can play a major role with regard to prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases,” says Martin. “We should be as well or better prepared than any other medical community to deal with infections that arise in and cross over from wildlife and domestic animals to humans. So this will be a test. I look forward to the challenge.”
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