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How Canada has impacted international health
Description: Embassy asked Canadian doctors and health professionals: "What has been the most significant Canadian innovation in health care equipment, technology, or methodology that's currently being used internationally?"
Date: 27 March 2007
Author:
Source: Embassy
Embassy asked Canadian doctors and health professionals: "What has been the most significant Canadian innovation in health care equipment, technology, or methodology that's currently being used internationally?"

Dr. Shree Mulay
director, McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women, McGill University


The discovery of insulin by Canadian doctors Frederick Banting and Charles Best in the 1920s and the treatment of diabetics with insulin changed the life for millions around the world and made it possible for people to lead relatively healthy and productive lives.

Dr. Robert Bell
president and chief executive officer, University Health Network, Toronto


One of the most significant Canadian innovations in health care is the discovery of the first stem cell by Drs. James Till and Ernest McCulloch at Ontario Cancer Institute, the research arm of Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network in Toronto.

These pioneers–acclaimed world-wide as the fathers of stem-cell research–launched the field of stem-cell science with their landmark discovery in 1961 that stem cells proliferate, self-renew, and give rise to specialized cells that develop into organs and tissues. It was work that dramatically changed biological science and formed the basis for using bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for leukemia and other blood diseases.

Today, thanks to the work of Drs. Till and McCulloch, scientists around the world are investigating the regenerative abilities of stem cells for treating diseases such as spinal cord injury, organ failure, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Jerry M. Spiegel
director, Global Health, Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia


When the Lalonde Report was released in 1974, emphasizing that health was determined not only by our health care system and biological factors, but also by lifestyle and the environment, it was heralded internationally as setting a framework that advanced understanding in how to preserve and promote health. Canada has continued to play a leading role in the discussion of health determinants, and proudly, Canada was the site of the "Ottawa Charter" that defined the essence of health promotion. These concepts have had a profound international impact. Unfortunately, we still have far to go in following them at home.

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