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A health institute at Concordia

by Eithne Lynch October 30, 2018
A health institute at Concordia

The Institute for Preventive Health and Healthy Living is still in its consultation phase


Concordia is looking to open a new Institute for Preventive Health and Healthy Living.

This initiative is one of 29 priorities of the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now, whose website claims it is Concordia’s “most ambitious campaign ever with a goal to raise $250 million.”

The website further states, “our major effort will support nine strategic directions that cement our position as Canada’s next-generation university.”

Despite the university not having a medical or public health faculty, “given Concordia’s tradition of fostering multidisciplinary collaboration, we feel we are in a unique position to facilitate collaborative thinking about health, and produce accessible breakthrough solutions to today’s health challenges,” said Christophe Guy, vice president of research and graduate studies.

The university has consulted with over 150 faculty members from all four faculties of health-related research expertise about the initiative. “Consultations largely consisted of information gathering and brainstorming sessions with different researchers in the health sector, who come from diverse disciplines,” said Alisa Piekny, PhD and Associate Professor in Biology. A goal of the consultation session was to “discern how researchers define themselves, and identify critical mass in areas that could become a ‘silo’ under the larger umbrella of the health institute,” said Piekny.

“Not all of these faculty members may choose to participate in the institute, but many have indicated an interest in doing so,” said Guy. Piekny said she would participate in the health institute. “I have been involved in discussions on forming the health institute for over a year now, and feel strongly that this is an important initiative for Concordia,” said Piekny.

The institute’s website also states that it aims to integrate and amplify the strengths of the university so that it “complements institutions grounded in medical environments.” This will be done by focusing on three clusters: preventive health, innovative treatment, and health-related data and technologies.

The institute is still in its consultation phase, therefore details on how much it will cost, where it will be located, how large it will be and how long it will take to become a reality are still undetermined.

The university does not intend on taking funds from other initiatives in order to fund the institute. “Some Concordia operating funds will be needed, along the lines of what we provide to other research centres and platforms,” said Guy. However, they intend to raise funds through donations, external funding, and are already in talks with prospective donors.

Graphic by @spooky_soda

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