Conference delegates learn how university engages with its community

Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference sees innovation in action at main and Foothills campuses

The GGCLC delegates were taken on a walking tour from main campus to the Alberta Children's Hospital and to the Foothills Campus to explore university partnership through examples of innovation.

June 10, 2015
By Julia MacGregor, UToday.

Emerging leaders from across Canada visited the University of Calgary on June 1, bringing together partners from across campus, Alberta Health Services and the Calgary community.

Seventeen delegates from the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (GGCLC) participated in a three-hour walking tour of the university’s main campus, the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH), and the Cumming School of Medicine at Foothills Campus to experience leadership and innovation in action — the theme of the 2015 conference. Delegates were immersed in hands-on experiences with innovative laneway homes that support aging in place, the power of play for children struggling with illness, and health-care and health-system redesign for the 21st century.

“We were really impressed with the innovative health-care technology that we saw,” says Sébastien Beauchamp, GGCLC Alberta delegate. “As tomorrow’s leaders, it was really impressive to see how partnerships can lead to tangible value creation for the citizens of Calgary.”

The GGCLC brings together Canada’s future leaders from all sectors and backgrounds for a two-week experience aimed at broadening their perspectives on work, leadership, their communities, and their country.

Dr. Peter Sargious, GGCLC alumnus (2000) and faculty member with the O’Brien Institute for Public Health and W21C, designed and directed the experience, which focused on the power of partnership in creating innovation.

“The grand challenges of our time — including sustainable health care and city building — demand ingenuity in the context of deep and enduring partnerships,” says Sargious.

The tour kicked off at the Design Research and Innovation Lab at the Faculty of Environmental Design, where delegates were led through the mock laneway house. This cutting-edge design will help aid the growing demand for solutions to help people stay in their homes longer, easing the burden on the health system and community.

Other highlights of the tour included an introduction to the importance of play in health care with the ACH, and a demonstration of the Calgary Stroke Program’s ESCAPE Trial with Dr. Andrew Demchuk. Delegates also joined members of the ACH’s Child and Youth Advisory Council for an up-close and personal meeting with health-care providers in a STARS air ambulance helicopter, led by Andrea Robertson, president and CEO of STARS.

The final stage of the tour took attendees to the Cumming School of Medicine, where they engaged in interactive demonstrations at the O’Brien Institute for Public Health’s W21C program. Here they learned about research and health systems improvements — from the importance of health-care provider wellness led by Dr. Jane Lemaire, to improving patient safety and quality of care with new technologies like a pressure-sensing hospital mattress (XSENSOR), a Band-Aid to reduce tears in hospital mattresses and decrease the spread of infections (Surface Medical’s CleanPatch), and a robot now being used in hospitals to help children manage their pain (RxRobot’s MEDi).

Dr. Jon Meddings, dean of the Cumming School of Medicine, co-hosted the half-day visit with Nancy Pollock-Ellwand, dean of EVDS, and Dr. William Ghali, scientific director of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health.

“The visit was a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the great work in research and education taking place at our medical school, and to share a part of our Calgary community and the pride we take in our university partnerships with a truly inspired and inspiring group of Canadians,” says Meddings.

The delegates are now back in Ottawa reporting on their Alberta experience to the Governor General and other conference members.