Thank you for not forgetting regional health research

On October 24, 2023, we witnessed a historic outcry from six former Quebec premiers warning the current Minister of Health of the risks of his Bill 15 to our major metropolitan university health institutes and to the research carried out there. His letter published in the duty they pointed to the loss of the specific character and singular approaches of these establishments, in particular due to the abolition of their boards of directors. The signatories also mentioned a possible reduction in research funding from donations to the foundations of these establishments, because donors will probably be less inclined to give to an impersonal entity, such as Santé Québec, than to an establishment with which they are they identify

In the regions, health and social service establishments, whether university or not, share many of the concerns raised in this letter. From the point of view of research, several researchers are worried about the place that will be reserved for them in this reform that promises to be an unprecedented centralization movement. Imagine, if our large health institutions tremble at the thought of losing their identity and their research capabilities with the new reform, how can we not worry about those in the regions?

Should we fear the annihilation of research in our regional health and social services establishments, or will we simply fly under the radar, as is often the case?

In recent years, research has developed significantly in the regional CIUSSS and CISSS. This research, of a fundamental or applied nature, often comes from the establishments themselves, which makes it possible to provide answers adapted to the particular needs of the populations, clinical teams, managers and partners of the region, taking into account their strengths and their capacities . . This research, which is described as integrated, takes into account the complexity represented by the organization of services and the provision of care in contexts where territories are immense and staff are often small. These contexts also represent an excellent breeding ground for innovation.

“Proximity” research favors the appropriation of knowledge, which in turn influences in a more sustainable way the practices aimed at improving the care and services offered to the populations of the region, especially if in the process clinical and community agents are involved, definition of needs, research objects. and contribute to the search for contextualized answers. And as far as university institutes are concerned, this research is also partly financed by the foundations of our establishments.

In short, the decentralization of research in the regions makes it possible to involve the people who will use the knowledge produced, to ensure that the needs of the communities are better met and to benefit from local expertise and experience. Note that regional research is not carried out in opposition to that carried out in university centers and institutes, but in essential complementarity. In fact, traditional models where knowledge was only produced in large urban centers and where it was expected to flow naturally into the regions no longer hold.

Mr. Dubé, thank you for not forgetting these regional specificities and for preserving the richness of the research collaboration links that are already present and are being strengthened between universities, health and social service establishments and communities in the regions from Quebec. This high-quality and relevant research must be kept alive and well by providing support and recognition to the research centers and units of the regional health and social services establishments and by fostering the innovation capabilities of the research teams working there.

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