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Dr Bruno Awissi
Tel: (514) 843-2210
Fax: (514) 843-2083
Email: [email protected]
CIHR - Quebec Respiratory Health
Training Program
The CIHR - Quebec Respiratory Health Training Program was first supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2003, in partnership with the Respiratory Health Network of the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS), and seven Quebec universities. This collaborative venture has allowed trainees to benefit from an unparalleled network of scientific mentors, supported by a well-developed administrative infrastructure. Our training capacity remains truly exceptional, and affords a unique opportunity to develop the next generation of scientists and health professionals, at the forefront of respiratory research. Since 2003, 76 research trainees have benefited from this program. Formal reviews by CIHR and others have been excellent. We will now build on our initial experience and on feedback from our trainees, so as to further enhance training opportunities and ensure long term sustainability of the program.

Respiratory diseases are third only to cardiovascular disease and cancer with respect to mortality, impact on quality of life, and cost to the health care system. We face enormous scientific challenges in respiratory diseases, ranging from the biology and treatment of such common conditions as asthma and COPD, to gender and social differences in disease susceptibility and access to care. Innovative training of highly qualified personnel is essential to ensure the Canadian human resource capacity needed to respond to the rapidly growing demands in this field. We aim to train the next generation of respiratory researchers to bring depth of knowledge, breadth of perspective, and the ability to collaborate effectively as they generate and move new scientific findings between laboratories, clinical settings, health policymakers, and the broader population.

The Quebec Respiratory Health Training Program (QRHTP) is a mentor-driven training program whose stated goal is to support residents, postdoctoral fellows (MD and/or PhD), doctoral (PhD) and masters degree students who wish to acquire excellent training in the field of inflammatory diseases of the airways and the lungs, across a variety of disciplines.

Currently, the mentors of the training program are based in Quebec (Canada) universities: McGill University, Université Laval, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University.

In addition to fulfilling their respective institutional degree requirements, trainees supported by the program will be required to:

  • Follow specialized courses via distance learning,
  • Participate in workshops on basic and clinical science research, training methods, bioethics issues, biostatistics and the use of databases.

Trainees will also be strongly encouraged to refine their knowledge of state-of-the-art techniques at the different centers.

All pedagogical program activities are carried out over a one-year period.

The general objective
The general objective of our program is to enhance the curriculum offered by Quebec universities to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, residents and other health professionals in the domain of respiratory disease. To reach this objective we provide diversified mentoring, an innovative curriculum and a collaborative research environment that will enable trainees to become tomorrow's leaders in respiratory health research. Our program will accomplish this by providing a strong scientific foundation, but also by building transdisciplinary and personal skills that are not typically addressed in traditional training and degree programs. Ultimately, our training program should strengthen Canadian leadership in respiratory research, which will ultimately lead to improved health of the Canadian population.

The specific objectives are:
To build on and expand the scope of the educational curriculum offered in our formal interuniversity course program ("micro program") in order to focus not only on important scientific content issues, but also on communication skills, grantsmanship, project management, leadership, knowledge transfer and career planning. Our approach will stimulate collaborative and translational research.

To further raise the profile and the impact of Canadian respiratory health research, by:
  • attracting the best graduate students, medical residents and other health professionals to respiratory research;
  • allowing trainees to acquire international experience, and
  • diversifying trainees' exposure within Quebec through trainee exchanges.
To take the final steps needed to ensure the long-term viability of our training program. During our first phase (2003-2009), our successes have reflected the combined contributions of CIHR (1,852,500$) and of the Respiratory Health Network (750 000$) and Laval University (90 000$). As a result of this achievement, other University partners and research foundations have confirmed their financial contribution. This will increase the number of students in the training program as well as core funding for shared resources, thus ensuring long-term viability.
Benefits of the Program
Participation in the Training Program has many advantages:
  • Once the Micro program is successfully completed, the Registrar of l'Université Laval will present the student with a certificate of studies in addition to a formal certification of specialized training in the field of inflammatory diseases of the airways and the lung issued by the Network.
  • To have the opportunity to collaborate more easily with high level researchers in the Health Respiratory Network of the FRQS whose areas encompass the 4 pillars of the CIHR: (1) biomedical research, (2) clinical research, (3) research with respect to health systems and health services, and (4) research on the health of populations, societal and cultural dimensions of health and environmental influences on health.
  • To more easily establish relationships with internationally recognized researchers in the field of respiratory health.
  • To participate in a multidisciplinary and multi-centre training program allowing to acquire interdisciplinary skills and approaches necessary for facing the complex challenges of state-of-the-art research in respiratory medicine.
  • To have access to the various resources of the Health Respiratory Network of the FRQS, including: the Tissue Bank, the Telematics Laboratory and the Ethics Resource group,
  • To have the opportunity to participate in scientific meetings organized by the Network.
  • To have the opportunity to establish relationships with other students and with researchers during Network activities.
  • To have additional specialized training, not readily available in traditional degree programs, but essential for high level research.
  • To have access to Program funding enabling trainees to study and acquire state-of-the-art knowledge in other universities, in order to benefit from the complementary expertise available at each centre