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Gala To Celebrate Excellence In Health Research

OTTAWA, October 23, 2001 - Two of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute's (OHRI) most respected researchers will be honoured October 27, 2001, at the Gala for Research, an evening of elegance and entertainment, held at the Fairmont Château Laurier.

Dr. Ron Worton, CEO and Scientific Director of the OHRI, and Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital, is proud to announce that Dr. Paul Hébert will be presented with the Researcher of the Year Award, and that Dr. Leo Renaud will be the recipient of this year's Dr. J. David Grimes Research Career Achievement Award.

An intensivist and clinical epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Hébert has focused his research career in the areas of transfusion practice, cardiac arrest, decision-making regarding end-of-life issues in severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and medical management of aggravated COPD.

Dr. Hébert is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the General Campus of the OHRI. He is also an Associate Professor in Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. He has been a Career Scientist with Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care since 1994, and in 2000 was named an Adjunct Scientist by Canadian Blood Services. In 1999, Dr. Hébert established the University of Ottawa Centre for Transfusion Research, a core research program within the OHRI. As the Centre's Director, Dr. Hébert leads the only research program in Canada, and perhaps worldwide, dedicated to the evaluation of the clinical consequences of transfusion practice, and to the definition of optimal transfusion practice using either the best blood product(s) or alternative(s). [For additional information, refer to enclosed biography]

The award for the career researcher is named after a man who was instrumental in developing hospital-based research in Ottawa, Dr. J. David Grimes. Earlier this year, the community was saddened by the news of Dr. Grimes' passing. At the Gala, a special tribute will be made in his honour. Dr. Grimes was responsible for the establishment of the Loeb Health Research Institute (LHRI). As a neurologist, he was involved in basic and clinical research in Parkinson's disease for over 20 years. As the founder and former CEO of the LHRI, he was instrumental in bringing scientists to Ottawa and ensuring that they developed working partnerships with the life sciences industry on a national and international scene. Among many other things, Dr. Grimes will be remembered for his pioneer work in the areas of patient care, research and education.

Dr. Leo Renaud is the recipient of the award that bears Dr. Grimes' name, and recognizes a career of excellence in health research. Early in his career, Dr. Renaud developed a fascination for the complexity and functions of the nervous system while studying at the University of Ottawa. At the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute, he set up the first basic neurophysiology lab, where he initiated a career in neuroscience that focused on understanding how brain cells control body fluid balance and maintain cardiovascular stability. A founding member of the McGill Centre for Research in Neuroscience, Dr. Renaud's research contributed to major advances in neuroendocrinology, a field that links the brain with the pituitary and endocrine glands.

In 1990, Dr Renaud returned to the University of Ottawa to develop a research base within the Neurology Division at the Civic Hospital. Working with the Loeb Health Research Institute and the University, he helped establish a basic and clinical neuroscience program revolving around themes of cellular communication and neuroprotection.

In 1994, Dr. Renaud was named a Distinguished Scientist of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and became its Regional Director in 1996. Last year, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Today, in his roles as an Associate Director at the OHRI, and Deputy Chair-Research in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Renaud fosters bridge-building between bench and bedside at The Ottawa Hospital. [For additional information, refer to enclosed biography]

"In this, the first year of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, we are very proud to honour the excellent work of Drs. Hébert and Renaud," said Dr. Worton. "While we are singling out these two colleagues of ours at the Gala, important contributions are being made by all of our team on a daily basis, and they are helping us unlock some of the mysteries about disease and illnesses, and how to counter them." Dr. Worton is equally enthusiastic about the creation of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, on April 1, 2001, as a result of the merger of the Loeb Health Research Institute and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. "The OHRI is built on the strengths of each of its founding institutes. This merger has created an environment of scientific cooperation to secure its position as a world-class health research institute, and deliver healthcare solutions to the community it serves, and to which it belongs," added Dr. Worton.

The new Institute is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and a major part of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Health Science. Its research programs are grouped into: Cancer Therapeutics, Clinical Epidemiology, Diseases of Aging, Hormones, Growth and Development, Molecular Medicine, Neuroscience, and Vision. With over 100 scientists, 225 students and 400 support staff, and $34 million in external funding, the OHRI is one of the largest and most respected hospital-based research institutes in Canada.

The Gala for Research is an evening of elegance hosted by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. The 'Celebration of Research Ceremony' will be hosted and sponsored by Pfizer Canada Inc. The Researcher of the Year Award will be presented and sponsored by Stantive Solutions and the Dr. J. David Grimes Research Career Achievement Award will be presented and sponsored by Emond Harnden. The Gala's purpose is threefold: first, it provides an opportunity to acknowledge two researchers of distinction from The Ottawa Hospital. Secondly, it is a venue for the public to witness excellence in the Hospital's scientific achievements. Finally, it is an opportunity to raise money to ensure continued excellence in health-related research at The Ottawa Hospital. Last year's event raised $135,000 net.

The Fairmont Château Laurier promotes the Gala for Research as its signature event, to showcase its high standard hospitality services. Health professionals, business and community leaders help make up the group of 450 guests who are treated to an evening of culinary delight, entertainment and civic pride.


Ron Vezina, Media Relations Officer, (613) 737-8460.

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