Robert Hanlon to retire after helping The Ottawa Hospital become a leader in research

June 14, 2017

When Robert Hanlon first started working at the former Civic Hospital in 1985, there was a lot of excitement around research but not a lot of action. Today, thanks in part to Hanlon’s contributions, The Ottawa Hospital is one of the top research and learning hospitals in Canada, where excellent care is inspired by research and driven by compassion. Research funding has increased from less than $2 million in 1988 to more than $110 million in 2016-17, and countless patients in Ottawa and around the world have benefitted from our research.

After 32 years of exceptional service, Hanlon will retire on June 30, 2017.

Hanlon began his career as Manager of Medical Imaging at the Civic after obtaining a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa. He quickly moved into research administration when Dr. David Grimes Sr. began planning a new research institute.

“It was an exciting time because we were starting with a fairly blank slate,” said Hanlon, who served as Chief Administrative Officer of the Loeb Health Research Institute at the Civic from 1996 to 2001. “We were one of the first hospitals in Canada to make clinical epidemiology a priority and we also built a strong focus on neuroscience, hormones and development.”

When The Ottawa Hospital was created in 1998 through a merger of the former Civic, General and Riverside Hospitals, Hanlon played key role in helping researchers and staff come together to create a new hospital-wide research institute. Hanlon has served as Chief Operating Officer of this research institute since it was formed in 2001, first under the leadership of Dr. Ronald Worton and now under Dr. Duncan Stewart.

“Rob has played a defining role in helping us become one of Canada’s top research hospitals,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa. “His unique understanding of the inner workings of the research institute, together with his proactive, ‘can do’ attitude, has allowed us to rise to the occasion and overcome many of the challenges that we have faced. Through his dedication, creativity and collaborative spirit, he has inspired us all to strive for excellence and efficiency.”

“I’m very proud of our transformation from a relatively young research hospital into a true powerhouse for research,” said Hanlon. “I’m also proud of the strength of our administrative team and how they work together to support a vibrant research environment. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to our success, including the many board members I’ve worked with over the years and our generous donors.”

Hanlon is the recipient of several honours and awards, including the Ottawa Life Sciences Council’s Entrepreneurial Award, which he received in 2004 for helping to spin out several technologies. He has also served in leadership and advisory roles in organizations such as the Canadian Society of Research Administrators, the International Society of Research Administrators, Invest Ottawa and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Hanlon is looking forward to spending more time with his family, including his three granddaughters. He will be succeeded by Debra Lynkowski, who starts on June 26, 2017.

The Ottawa Hospital: Inspired by research. Driven by compassion

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

Media Contact

Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253