Western joins forces with think tank to spur knowledge into action

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By Communications Staff
Friday, January 7, 2011
In order to narrow the gaps between what researchers and policy makers know and implement in a timelier manner, The University of Western Ontario is joining forces with the newly formed Canadian Policy Network to create CPNet@Western.

This pan-Canadian, not-for-profit, ‘think and do’ tank brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines to provide evidence-informed policy advice in the areas of health, education and the environment. The initiative is intended to drive social innovation by advancing knowledge capital, leadership practice and collective action within civil society.

“Our focus is to think strategically and futuristically, while truly engaging people in tough decisions and using evidence that promotes modernization and leadership,” says Glen Roberts, CPNet@Western's founding Executive Director. “To quote one leading futurist, ‘we need to see the future faster.’”

CPNet@Western will specifically address critical questions about the sustainability of the nation’s health care system, which continues to face significant challenges as the population ages, as technology advances and as health care costs continue to outpace economic growth.

“Ever-increasing demands for high-quality health care require new ways of thinking,” says the Honourable Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and MPP London North Centre. “I am encouraged to see CPNet@Western taking a leadership role in this area.”

“Canada’s ability to compete on the global stage rests on our ability to meet the challenges of demography, technology, productivity and growth,” says Amit Chakma, Western’s President.  “CPNet@Western has the potential to create new policy pathways that will encourage the academic community to promote its research and ideas to policy makers.”

CPNet@Western will host its inaugural sessions, “Pathways to Policy” and “Skating to Where the Puck’s Going to Be: The Future of Health Care,” on Tuesday, Jan. 11 in the University Community Center, Room 315.

Details of the sessions

• 1-2:30 p.m.: “Pathways to Policy,” moderated by CBC’s Heather Hiscox, will include discussion between Western President Amit Chakma; Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews; Fred Horne, MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Wellness; Vice-President of Bruce Power Murray Elston, and others.

• 4-7 p.m.: “Skating to Where the Puck is Going to Be: The Future of Health Care” is a town hall session featuring a keynote by Dr. Michael Jackson, CEO of the UK’s Shaping Tomorrow, which will also include short presentations about the future of health care in the medium to long term by an expert interdisciplinary panel.

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