CHAPS in Cowtown

By Gregory Clarke

Though breakthroughs in health sciences are commonplace at the University of Calgary, it now boasts an innovation of a different kind.

The Centre for Health and Policy Studies recently opened at the U of C Health Sciences Centre at Foothills Hospital. CHAPS was concieved as a health-care issues think-tank focused on all aspects of the field.

"Our overall goal is collaborative research in health," explained Dr. Ann Casebeer, Associate Director of CHAPS and health policy analyst in Community Health Sciences. "We’ve gathered a group of really outstanding researchers together so that we can work together in ways that no single discipline could. We’re really hoping to extend the opportunity for broader debate and discussion about some big questions facing the future of health and health care."

CHAPS supports research in health promotion, health economics, health services utilization and health policy. Twenty researchers were recruited for the centre with backgrounds ranging from academics to business economics and management.

"One thing we are trying to do is move beyond just [the Faculty of Medicine]," said Casebeer. "We can really bring a broad range of people together with the opportunity to find some better answers to some of the big problems. Issues like value for money in the health care system, how we use our resources."

CHAPS offers an internship position on one research project for the summer of 2002. The position is open to any student working on a Master’s degree in any discipline.

CHAPS was founded under Acting Director Dr. Lloyd Sutherland, head of the CHS Department of the Faculty of Medicine. He explained a number of people contributed their time and efforts to help get the idea off the ground.

"We had tremendous support from the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Grant Gall, and from Jack Davis, the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Calgary Health Region," said Casebeer. She added that the centre was funded in collaboration with the CHR, the Kahanoff Foundation, Alberta Health and Wellness, and the Faculty of Medicine.

CHAPS will work closely in partnership with the CHR to improve their delivery of health promotion, community care, acute care, rehabilitation, and long-term care. They hope to accomplish this by disseminating information from their research into improving health care policies and policy implementation.

"This new centre merges a critical core of expertise and leadership in health and policy research," said Davis. "CHAPS will be of tremendous benefit to the CHR as we work to target health funding and services  where they’re needed the most."

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