The purpose of this meeting was to explore and discuss opportunities for connecting these various sectors to advance health research in rural southwest Ontario. The challenges and opportunities involved in business development in the health care field and knowledge translation to rural residents were also topics of discussion.
The theme of the day was ‘Rural Health, Rural Economy, Partners in Growth’. The guest roster included the University of Guelph (School of Environmental Design & Rural Development), Western University (Master of Public Health and Health & Rehabilitation Sciences), University of Waterloo (School of Pharmacy), South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Alexandra Marine & General Hospital, Libro Credit Union, Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity, Huron Chamber of Commerce and the Huron Public Health Unit. Also present were MP Ben Lobb and MPP Lisa Thompson. Several of Gateway’s Research Chairs attended: Dr. Feng Chang (Chair of Rural Pharmacy), Dr. Agnes Kluz (Chair of Rural Senior Wellness) and Jay McFarlan (Chair of Rural Nutrition and Exercise).
Gateway Founder, Gwen Devereaux, said “This powerhouse of knowledge forms a Rural Health Team that will deliver better health for rural residents”.
Gateway President, Dr. Agnes Kluz declared “Research is the driving force in transforming health policy, systems and practice to improve health equity of rural populations. Through its work, Gateway provides context for the needs of rural communities and an understanding of the strategies that will be most effective to address barriers to strong and healthy rural populations”.
During the meeting, two Memoranda of Understanding were signed between Gateway and the University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy and Canadian Centre of Rural Creativity. As well, two new Research Chairs were appointed; Dr. Al Lauzon (University of Guelph) as Chair of Rural Change & Development and Dr. Ryan Gibson (University of Guelph) as Chair of Rural Economic Development.
Gateway’s Board Chair, Dr. Feng Chang stated “Today is symbolic of what Gateway has accomplished over the years: forging fruitful partnerships, bringing diverse backgrounds and expertise to the table, contributing to student success, and strengthening the rural voice. We look forward to building on this milestone and charting our course ahead together”.