Ottawa – Aug. 14, 2015 – HealthCareCAN laments the recent decision from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to discontinue the funding of the long-standing MD/PhD Program without the introduction of alternative programming. The MD/PhD program, started in the 80s, provided salary support for up to six years to clinician scientists and helped supply highly skilled and qualified clinical scientists for Canada. This in turn, has helped create a better bridge between “the bench and the bedside” – essential to building a better healthcare system for Canadians.
“In a world where we’re encouraged to look at creative ways to better integrate the clinical and scientific sides of medicine, the decision to cut this program at this time without introducing new programming or securing new funding is a serious setback. It also points to a deeper reality that is troubling and concerning regarding the dwindling funding capacity of CIHR,” said Bill Tholl, President and CEO of HealthCareCAN.
CIHR’s budget has not kept pace with inflation in Canada or with research funding standards internationally. The 2015 Federal Budget provided for no increase in the CIHR budget for the current year and allotted $15 million for 2016, ear-marked for specific programs.
“We strongly encourage CIHR to reconsider its decision to cut the MD/PhD Program until it is able to present a suitable alternative,” said Mr. Tholl. “Without money and machinery, the benefits of health research and innovation will be denied to Canadians. As stated in the recently released Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation’s report, Canada is falling behind. We need a dedicated healthcare innovation fund as proposed by the panel. We also need vision and commitment from the federal government to put science, technology and innovation to work for Canadians.”
HealthCareCAN is the national voice of healthcare organizations across Canada. We foster informed and continuous, results-oriented discovery and innovation across the continuum of healthcare. We act with others to enhance the health of the people of Canada; to build the capability for high quality care; and to help ensure value for money in publicly financed, healthcare programs.
- Cuts to MD/PhD funding greeted with ‘horror’ by medical scientists (CBC)
- CIHR’s 30-year-old clinician-scientist training program will end in 2016 (CMAJ)
Follow us on Twitter: @HealthCareCAN.
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