Annual report 2016

Publication issue: 

CHR remains in the midst of a major administrative transition as the management of the office is being prepared for outsourcing to the Toronto-based firm Absolute Events. This move is expected to be a cost-effective approach to maintaining internal operations,
while not in any way altering the organization’s familiar presence and activities for its donors and the public. Absolute Events manages other small, non-profit bodies that deal in medical research and health-care matters, so the staff responsible for CHR is expected to be familiar with the specific challenges that have arisen over the last few years, such as the costs of producing a print publication as well as migrating that publication’s content to the Web. Currently Patricia Guyda is handling these responsibilities on her own, with outstanding results, but she welcomes the opportunity to transfer this burden to a highly competent replacement. This process should be completed by the end of 2017.

Among the highlights of this year was the awarding of the Sanofi Pasteur Medal of Excellence in Health Research Journalism to Marine Corniou for her article “L’or Vert des Pharmas”, which appeared in the magazine Quebec Science. The piece described the rise of “moleculture”, an approach to drug development and production that makes use of plants as living factories for creating pharmaceutical agents. The formal presentation of the medal took place at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association in Guelph, ON, on June 4. Although Ms. Corniou could not be present, she posted a video expressing her appreciation of the honour and citing the crucial importance of this award for highlighting a branch of journalism that means a great deal to
individual Canadians but which is often eclipsed by more popular news from the world of sports, politics or entertainment. She thanked Sanofi for making it possible to do so, and as the administrators of the award, we are likewise grateful.

While CHR’s Web site and Facebook page continue to attract visitors, our official magazine Future Health ceased production of its print edition in January. The work of long-time editor Heather Pengelley continues to appear on the Web site. As part of this change, we would welcome input from readers as to how the Web site can best serve them in this regard.

On a similar note, this 40th anniversary year of CHR is an excellent time to thank these many readers and supporters, who have been instrumental in our accomplishments and will remain so for our future direction. We were reminded of such contributions
earlier in the year, as we marked the passing of former board member Leslie Ballentine, who was a fierce champion of issues surrounding the use of animals for health research, which included 16 years as executive director of the Farm Animal Council. Her absence has been keenly felt, as CHR reaches out to a new generation of board members who share this desire to create a respected forum for informed discussion and debate of research endeavours that affect the day-to-day lives of Canadians. Even as the decades have dramatically changed the nature of that discussion, and the technological manner in which it is conveyed, we remain committed to ensuring that members of the research community can find an articulate voice that respects and understands their role.

Tim Lougheed, Chair