I.H. Asper Clinical Research Institute
Every so often the philanthropic community of Manitoba is able to work to achieve something truly remarkable that is destined to have an undeniable impact on the lives of Manitobans for generations to come. In 2002, the St. Boniface General Hospital & Research Foundation’s HeartCare Campaign became one such program.
The $25 million capital campaign was the recipient of a $5 million donation from The Asper Foundation, in support of two revolutionary health care initiatives: the I.H. Asper Clinical Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic Partnership.
St. Boniface Hospital has been home to the world-class St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre since the centre was constructed in 1987. This facility and its dedicated researchers have long been regarded as leaders in the field of basic medical research, with a special emphasis in the area of cardiovascular disease. Translating basic scientific discoveries into practice to improve human health can be stimulated when clinical researchers uncover questions while investigating new treatments. As the two work best in proximity and collaboration with each other, St. Boniface Hospital opened of the I.H. Asper Clinical Research Institute in 2004. Its goal is to support researchers in bringing groundbreaking research to phase 1 clinical patient trials in Manitoba. As of 2012, four exciting research programs are established or in development:
- Psychosocial Oncology and Cancer Nursing Research – Areas of focus include strengthening communication between cancer patients and health professionals, addressing the specific needs of children and adolescents with cancer, the nutritional needs of late-stage cancer patients, tobacco control, and the psychosocial needs of dying patients.
- Nutritional interventions developed within the Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) will determine if nutraceuticals and functional foods can alter the incidence or progression of a disease in human subjects.
- Clinical Research in Cardiovascular Disease – Integrating research efforts directed towards the complications that occur in arteries and veins in patients with cardiovascular disease.
- St-Boniface Hospital Research’s Vascular Research program, led by Dr. Randy Guzman, involves collaboration with research groups locally, nationally and internationally, and has facilitated Manitoban’s access to novel therapeutic devices and drugs to treat vascular disease. With the increased importance of outcome measures in health care, all programs need to have a comprehensive quality management system in place. Dr. Guzman is developing a system that includes the functional health status of patients, allowing for improvement and promotion of optimal patient care, with a vision to develop a Vascular Centre of Excellence and benchmark practices at St-Boniface Hospital with best practices across the country.
I.H. Asper Clinical Research Institute is also home to Manitoba’s Cardiac Sciences Program since 2011. Cardiac surgical inpatient services are located on 2 floors of the Institute and include a 33-bed cardiac inpatient unit; a dedicated 15-bed Cardiac Intensive Care Unit that includes an isolation/protection bed; more private rooms for patients; increased private family spaces; and outpatient clinic for pre-surgery visits and post-surgery follow-up.
As Premier Selinger indicated on the occasion of the official opening of the new space in the spring of 2011: “This new leading-edge, modern cardiac centre of excellence will support our cardiac specialists in providing first-class quality care to Manitobans when they need it while also providing more space for patient and family privacy, state-of-the-art medical equipment and appropriate space for staff.”