Canadian healthcare policy under the microscope

Healthcare policies and programs come and go. Yet the professionals who design the medical services we use are rarely mentioned in the general healthcare debates. That's about to change.

From May 25 to 28, health policy makers from Canada, Europe, Latin America and New Zealand. are taking part in the first conference of the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR). Conference topics will range from the cost-effectiveness of preventive Hepatitis C vaccines to dealing with nursing shortages to public home care for the elderly.

Several researchers from McGill University are at the forefront of the conference. On May 25, Russell Steele, an assistant professor from McGill's Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will give a course entitled, "Bayesian Methods in Health Research." That same day, Danielle Groleau, an assistant professor in McGill's Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, will lead a session called, "Using Qualitative Methods To Inform Health Research: An Update."

From May 25 to 27, Pierre Tousignant, an Epidemiology and Biostatistics professor at McGill, will take part in three panels: "Issues around the elderly and regional planning," "Variations in the rate of appendicitis with peritonitis in the context of changes in the organization of health services in Montreal" and "Public home care programs: Does the budget meet the needs of frail elderly?"

On May 27, McGill Department of Psychiatry researcher Marie-Josée Fleury will give a session called, "Modélisation des réseaux intégrés de services en santé mentale." On May 28, Howard Bergman, director of McGill's Division of Geriatric Medicine, will take part in a panel entitled: "Strategies for effecting health system change," while Antonia Maioni, an expert in public health policy and the director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, will moderate a session called, "Strategies for effecting health system change."

CAHSPR organizing committee chair Eric Latimer, a professor at McGill's Department of Psychiatry and a policy researcher at the Douglas Hospital, says the conference will be important in helping health care policy specialists broaden their scope. "It's too easy to limit yourself to the possibilities in your own community, region or country," he says.

Latimer's research, which he's presenting at the conference, proves his point. On May 28, he'll give a session called, "Individual Placement and Support to help people with severe mental illness find and maintain competitive employment: preliminary results of the first Canadian randomized trial."

Media wishing to attend the conference, which runs from May 25 to 28, can register on Tuesday, May 25 at 8 am at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1255 Jeanne Mance St. A full conference schedule is available online.

Contact:

Eric Latimer
Policy researcher
Douglas Hospital, McGill University Hospital Centre
514-761-6131 Ext. 2351

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