Thursday, April 27, 2017

real science doesn't get the money but we have money for an unproven health program

There is a troubling decision tree at Alberta Health that I don't understand. Why for example do midwives get money but not the Biobank?
Why do we have no brain tumour registry nationally? I mean the USA has had one for ages.
Why is there only short term thinking in government so that we have $10 million give upfront to a foundation for no good reason that I can determine? It's a farce and citizens should be asking Sarah Hoffman why we have yet more cash down the drain for this foundation. It is getting ridiculous. We turfed the Tories and now we have the less than satisfactory performance by the NDP folks.
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http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/university-of-alberta-researcher-sets-sights-on-national-brain-tumour-registry


University of Alberta researcher sets sights on national brain tumour registry

Published on: April 26, 2017 | Last Updated: April 26, 2017 7:37 PM MDT
April 26, 2017. Edmonton - A file image of University of Alberta researcher Faith Davis. She is a public health researcher and vice dean of the School of Public Health.
University of Alberta researcher Faith Davis EDMONTON
A University of Alberta public health researcher has launched an ambitious project to track how often brain tumours show up in Canada, where they occur most frequently and who is getting them.
The Canadian Brain Tumour Registry, which just received a $500,000 grant, should hopefully be up and running within three years, Faith Davis, vice-dean of the U of A’s School of Public Health, said Wednesday.
“We will put together brain tumour surveillance reports, so for the first time, we will have incidence rates and survival rates for the Canadian population,” Davis said.
“By tracking the patterns, it tells us whether we have high rates or low rates in different regions and different demographic groups. It helps us to look at whether or not there are inequities going on in that disease.”
In taking on the initiative, Davis is going back to her roots to some degree, since she was a major player in developing a central brain tumour registry in the United States more than 20 years ago.
She said Canada should have its own registry — rather than rely on data from the U.S. and other countries — because brain tumours can be caused by diverse factors in the environment. She said there are more than 20 known neuro-carcinogens linked to tumours.
Davis noted there is already a national registry for tracking cancer, data from which suggests there are about 3,000 new brain cancer cases each year. However, that represents only about half of the total number of brain tumours that show up.
The non-cancerous tumours can be just as deadly since they grow in the confined space of the cranium, and can sometimes turn cancerous, Davis said.
Canada has already cleared one hurdle toward creating a tumour registry, thanks to a private member’s bill passed in 2009 that mandates the collection of information on all primary brain tumours.
Unfortunately, little money was devoted to the cause, a problem that the newly announced $500,000 grant should alleviate, Davis said.
The three-year funding commitment will largely be used to cover startup costs and education of staff in five provinces. The idea is to get the logistics worked out so that guidelines can be written for all jurisdictions in the country to eventually contribute.
Davis said the U.S. has benefitted from its registry in a number of ways. That includes generating reliable data used to secure funding for big research projects. Some of the studies include work on genetic and environmental factors behind cancer.
The grant awarded to Davis is part of $29 million in public-private brain research funding announced by Health Canada on Wednesday.
kgerein@postmedia.com
twitter.com/keithgerein


Lesley Lovie MacAllister
I would have thought Canada would have had a specific registry already. I'm glad this is now being initiated. I'm curious to see the numbers in areas around refineries.
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Julie Ali ·
It is indeed amazing that we don't have a registry of this nature but the Alberta government is not known for intelligent investment of taxpayer dollars.

There is also a need for more money to be dedicated for the collection of tissue samples for the biobank in Alberta and the rest of Canada.
http://www.edmontonsun.com/.../alberta-tumour-bank...
The Alberta Cancer Research Biobank, more commonly known as the “tumour bank,” has stopped taking new samples and laid off five staff members after seeing its budget cut by more than half.

The remaining budget is being used to maintain the current collection of 1.5 million tumours and fluids, which are split between storage facilities in Edmonton and Calgary.

*************

I encourage all Albertans to write to Alberta Health to increase funding for the biobank.These tissue samples are required for the development of targeted treatment for patients but for also new therapies. If there is money for projects like the Pure North S'Energy Foundation alternative medicine project that wasted $14.2 million then why not for the preservation of irretrievable tissue samples for research purposes?

http://www.cbc.ca/.../medicare-alberta-sarah-hoffman-pure...

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman needs to order an investigation into whether deputy minister Carl Amrhein's relationship with a private health foundation influenced the ministry's decision to give the foundation a multi-million-dollar grant, says a health advocacy group.

Friends of Medicare executive director Sandra Azocar called for the investigation after a CBC News investigation revealed Amrhein had personally endorsed, and participated in, an unproven alternative health program offered by the Calgary-based Pure North S'Energy Foundation.
In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant agreement with the foundation for a nurse-practitioner-led clinic. Hoffman has insisted the clinic will not be offering any alternative health treatments.

"I think there are so many levels of wrong with this situation and this relationship," Azocar said.

"I definitely think there has to be some kind of an inquiry or an investigation as to how effectively the deputy minister is currently doing his job, and where we look at his ability to continue in an impartial kind of role around potential conflicts of interest," Azocar said.
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Feb 24, 2017 Media inquiries

Nurse practitioners improve community care

Nurse practitioners have joined four community groups to support clients who face barriers related to their health and wellness.
These challenges include access to housing, lack of parental support, cultural differences, mental health difficulties, substance use and management of chronic disease.
The new $10-million, three-year health project has placed nurse practitioners alongside registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, forming community teams that deliver ‘first-stop’ and on-going health services where needs are high.
Nurse practitioners are Master’s or PhD health professionals qualified to diagnose and treat just about every health concern that can be managed outside of a hospital. They can do assessments and diagnosis, order tests and screenings, prescribe medications and perform procedures.
“Nurse practitioners are compassionate, highly trained professionals. We know that they will bring a lot to these organizations and make life better for those who might otherwise fall through the cracks. We will take what we learn from these projects to make decisions that will protect and improve the primary health care Albertans depend on.”
Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health
Grants have been given to The Alex Community Health Centre and Pure North S’Energy in Calgary, the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS), and the Boyle McCauley Health Centre in Edmonton.
“The support The Alex has received from the Province of Alberta for our nurse practitioners has really allowed us to expand and enhance our team. Nurse practitioners are uniquely prepared and qualified to provide client-centered care that moves treatment from episodic to preventative, with a focus on overall wellness. With this program we can provide increased mental health care, addiction supports and systems navigation, allowing us to provide quality care for an increasing population of vulnerable Calgarians.”
Shelley Heartwell, CEO of The Alex Community Health Centre
“Business as usual in health care is simply not acceptable and I think that this government has realized this. The Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta is keen to see Albertans benefit from nurse practitioner care across the health-care system and we are pleased to be working collaboratively with all stakeholders with Albertans in mind.”
Eric Lavoie, President, Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta
The Institute for Health Economics is heading an expert advisory group to guide and evaluate the four projects. The government will use the results for future policies related to primary health care and workforce planning.

Quick facts

The Alex Community Health Centre

  • In October 2016, the Alex received $340,440 for 2016-17.
  • Two full-time nurse practitioners were hired in September 2016 and one full-time nurse practitioner will be added in 2017-18. One full-time licensed practical nurse (LPN) and one full-time medical office assistant will be added this year.
  • Nurse practitioners at The Alex will provide comprehensive, primary health-care services such as health assessment and diagnosis, ordering and interpreting laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures, prescription of pharmaceuticals, chronic disease management, prevention and health promotion services. The LPN will work with nurse practitioners and provide services such as wound care, foot care, patient follow-up, and medication administration.
  • The grant will allow the clinic to offer extended hours.

CUPS

  • In September 2016, CUPS received $365,000 for 2016-17.
  • This project will ensure stable funding for 2.3 full-time equivalent (FTE) nurse practitioners and a part-time LPN who currently provide health care for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
  • It will also enable a 0.5 nurse practitioner and a 0.2 LPN to be added next year to help the clinic meet the needs of vulnerable adults and children who have health problems that are often complicated by issues of mental health, substance use, and poverty.
  • The additional nurse practitioner clinical capacity will be used within the health clinics and at other outreach clinic sites.   

Boyle McCauley Health Centre

  • In July, 2016, the Boyle McCauley Health Centre received $344,600 for 2016-17. Two FTE nurse practitioners were hired through the project funding.
  • The two new nurse practitioners and two LPNs will provide care for homeless women at the Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre, for urban Indigenous people at Miyowayawin, for homeless and vulnerable youth at iHuman, and for men at Urban Manor.

Pure North S’Energy

  • In November 2016, Pure North received $925,851 for 2016-17. The clinic went live on Oct. 24, 2016 staffed with four new nurse practitioners.
  • Grant funding will be used to expand preventative health programs, including identification and reduction of diabetes, by establishing a multi-disciplinary clinic to provide comprehensive primary health care.
  • A broad range of vulnerable populations and high-risk populations in the greater Calgary area will be served, including seniors, homeless individuals, and First Nations communities.
  • Funding will be used for four FTE nurse practitioners, three FTE registered nurses, two FTE nurses’ aides and support staff.

Related information



Media inquiries


  • Timothy Wilson
  • 587-983-7127
  • Press Secretary, Health
  • Johanna Schwartz
  • 403-615-0764
  • Marketing and Engagement Specialist, The Alex
  • Cheryl Lemieux
  • 403-616-6411
  • Senior Director, Development and Financial Strategies, CUPS
  • Ashley Barcelo
  • 403-984-5078
  • Executive Assistant, Pure North
  • Cecilia Blasetti
  • 780-422-7333, ext. 267
  • Executive Director, Boyle McCauley Health Centr



http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/medicare-alberta-sarah-hoffman-pure-north-amrhein-1.4070991

CBC INVESTIGATES

Friends of Medicare calls for investigation of Alberta deputy minister's ties to private health foundation

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman refuses to answer questions about potential conflict of interest

By Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell, CBC News Posted: Apr 14, 2017 6:00 AM MT Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017 9:48 AM MT
Sandra Azocar of the Friends of Medicare is calling for an investigation of ties between Alberta health’s deputy minister and a private health foundation.
Sandra Azocar of the Friends of Medicare is calling for an investigation of ties between Alberta health’s deputy minister and a private health foundation. (Rick Bremness/CBC)
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About The Author

Photo of Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell
Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell
Investigative reporters
Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell are reporters with CBC Investigates, the award-winning investigative unit of CBC Edmonton. Their journalism in the public interest is widely credited with forcing accountability, transparency and democratic change in Alberta. Send tips in confidence to cbcinvestigates@cbc.ca. @charlesrusnell @jennierussell_

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Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman needs to order an investigation into whether deputy minister Carl Amrhein's relationship with a private health foundation influenced the ministry's decision to give the foundation a multi-million-dollar grant, says a health advocacy group.
Friends of Medicare executive director Sandra Azocar called for the investigation after a CBC News investigation revealed Amrhein had personally endorsed, and participated in, an unproven alternative health program offered by the Calgary-based Pure North S'Energy Foundation.
In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant agreement with the foundation for a nurse-practitioner-led clinic. Hoffman has insisted the clinic will not be offering any alternative health treatments.
"I think there are so many levels of wrong with this situation and this relationship," Azocar said.
"I definitely think there has to be some kind of an inquiry or an investigation as to how effectively the deputy minister is currently doing his job, and where we look at his ability to continue in an impartial kind of role around potential conflicts of interest," Azocar said.
Amrhein has declined interview requests from CBC News. In a statement provided Tuesday, an Alberta Health spokesperson said Amrhein "fully disclosed" his relationship with Pure North when he became deputy minister in August 2015.

Relationship reported to ethics commissioner

Alberta's ethics commissioner, Marguerite Trussler, told CBC News that Amrhein disclosed his participation in the Pure North program. She also said Amrhein told her "recently" that the decision to grant Pure North funding was made by Hoffman and he merely signed off in his role as deputy minister.
Hoffman has refused to answer questions about what, if anything, Amrhein disclosed to her about his relationship with Pure North and Markin.
Wildrose accountability critic Nathan Cooper said Hoffman has a duty to be transparent.
"The health minister needs to answer this question," Cooper said. "It is a very reasonable question that Albertans should be able to know, whether or not this particular individual disclosed what certainly could be seen as a conflict of interest to the minister, prior to making some significant decisions on funding within her department."
Nathan Cooper
Wildrose accountability critic Nathan Cooper says the health minister’s refusal to address the issue is troubling. (Alberta legislature)
Azocar said she finds it troubling that Hoffman is unwilling to answer basic questions relating to the integrity of her ministry.
"I think that sometimes silence says a lot more than actual words," Azocar said. "Albertans need to know that they can trust their leadership, that they can trust whoever is in charge of making decisions for the greater good of Albertans.
"And this situation, I think, kind of highlights the fact that in this case, there are a lot of things that have not been done perhaps in the best way that could have been done," she added.

Documents reveal relationship

Documents obtained by CBC News through freedom of information revealed a years-long relationship between Amrhein, Pure North and its founder, multi-millionaire Calgary philanthropist Allan Markin.
The documents show that in July 2014, Amrhein, while provost at the University of Alberta, wrote a letter of support for Pure North and Markin, who is a major donor to the university.
Carl Amrhein
Deputy health minister Carl Amrhein participated in Pure North S’Energy Foundation’s alternative health program. (CBC)
Internal Alberta Health documents show Pure North used Amrhein's letter in September 2014, and again in December 2014, to bolster funding requests to the Progressive Conservative government.
The documents show that after Amrhein became deputy minister of health, he continued his relationship with Pure North and Markin. In fact, emails show Amrhein participated in Pure North's unproven health program, which features high doses of vitamin D.
'I think there are so many levels of wrong with this situation and this relationship.'- Sandra Azocar, Friends of Medicare executive director
Amrhein also communicated directly, on several occasions, with Markin and Pure North executive director Wendy Paramchuk. The documents show Amrhein also directed ministry staff to research and respond to Pure North requests for health policy changes that would directly benefit Pure North, such as making vitamin D a registered drug.
None of the policy changes were implemented, although the documents reveal senior ministry officials expended significant resources researching them and dealing directly with Markin.
Earlier this month, CBC News reported that in December 2013, Alberta Health gave Pure North a $10-million grant to expand an existing alternative health program — against the advice of senior ministry officials who said the program was not adequately supported by science, it could not prove the health and economic benefits it claimed, and could cause adverse effects.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/05/01/alberta-tumour-bank-reducing-staff-and-service-after-loss-of-funding


Alberta 'tumour bank' reducing staff and service after loss of funding



FIRST POSTED: SUNDAY, MAY 01, 2016 05:45 PM MDT | UPDATED: MONDAY, MAY 02, 2016 08:48 AM MDT
Cross Cancer Institute in EdmontonCross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. (Larry Wong photo)
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A medical research service that collects and freezes tumours removed from cancer patients is facing questions about its future after losing its main funding source.
The Alberta Cancer Research Biobank, more commonly known as the “tumour bank,” has stopped taking new samples and laid off five staff members after seeing its budget cut by more than half.
The remaining budget is being used to maintain the current collection of 1.5 million tumours and fluids, which are split between storage facilities in Edmonton and Calgary.
“The model we are going to operate on with the bank is going to be a little bit different,” said Dr. Matt Parliament, senior medical director with CancerControl Alberta. “It will be a little bit leaner and it will not continue to grow as it has in the past.”
Established in 2001, the service has been largely funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation, which has been providing annual grants of about $2 million in recent years. Earlier this year, the foundation informed Alberta Health Services it would not be renewing the contributions, leaving the health authority to shoulder the costs.
A spokeswoman for the foundation did not provide an exact reason for the move, but said funding decisions are often based on the ability to raise philanthropic support, and an evaluation of priorities to drive improved care for patients.
Parliament said AHS decided it couldn’t replace all the funding that was lost but wanted to at least maintain access to the “incredible resource” that had already been built. He said the biobank’s samples, which are all from Alberta patients, and can last indefinitely because they are stored in liquid nitrogen at temperatures around -80 C.
Edmonton’s storage site is at the Cross Cancer Institute, while Calgary’s part of the collection will be moved shortly to the Richmond Road Treatment Centre.
“Researchers can take those samples out of the bank and do experiments to look into the inner workings of the cancer cells,” Parliament said. “They might do DNA sequencing or look at mutations of cancer, to basically broaden the knowledge of cancer.”
The repository is used by about two dozen researchers each year, who must pay fees to access the samples, he said.
Lab technicians accounted for most of the layoffs, four of which were in Edmonton and one in Calgary.
Parliament said additional job losses were planned for Calgary, but staff there managed to find other positions. He said the same may happen in Edmonton, as AHS is trying to find new jobs for the people affected.
The cuts at the biobank are somewhat ill-timed, occurring the same month Mayor Don Iveson announced ambitions to make Edmonton a bigger hub of medical research, innovation and technology.
kgerein@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithgerein

Alberta Cancer Research Biobank

The Alberta Cancer Research Biobank has a large open access collection of samples from several types of cancer and also supports the collection and storage of samples for independent research groups. The Biobank provides these specimens to qualified medical researchers, enabling them to address unanswered questions concerning prevention, prognosis and treatment of cancer.
Our Biobank is a multi-user resource that is available to a wide range of cancer researchers in Alberta and elsewhere. As members of the Canadian Tissue Repository Network we use and develop leading-edge tumor banking practices and promote cancer research at national and international levels. Partnerships between the research programs and the Tumor Bank lead to innovative research.
Our patient participants support research by providing consent for the use of their donated blood and tissue samples as well as access to their health records. Thanks to the Albertans who understand and support research, 97% of patients we contact choose to enroll in our program.

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