James Smith, U of S, medical clinic MOU sees increased medical research
- NC Raine | October 28, 2018
A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will explore joint research and health care initiatives, has been signed by the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), James Smith Cree Nation (JSCN) and JSCN Medical Clinic LP.
The MOU will be focused on educational development opportunities for Indigenous youth, as well as collaborations that could include a joint radiology research chair, and medical imaging services and research.
“This (signing) signals an important and genuine desire to work closely together in advancing our common goals for the betterment of the people of Saskatchewan,” said Darcy Marciniuk, U of S associate Vice-President of Research. “It displays respect for each other and acknowledgement of our individual meaningful contributions toward a common goal.”
JSCN Medical LP will set up an MRI and computed tomography (CT) facility in Saskatoon. The proposed facility would increase access to MRI 3 Tesla (MRI 3T) and other radiology services for U of S researchers. The facility would be one of only two facilities in Saskatchewan with the MRI 3T equipment. As U of S researchers presently do not have sufficient access to such equipment, the facility would serve as a state-of-the-art research centre.
“Last year was just a discussion, and today it’s a signing of a new partnership on how nation to nation can work together and achieve their goals,” said James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns.
“We at the clinic are excited about working and sharing our resources with the College of Medicine and research team to build education and research opportunities for all students and medical professionals for many years to come,” added Dragan Racic, vice-President operations at JSCN Medical Clinic LP.
The MOU also proposes a number of other initiatives, including establishing training programs in radiology and other related fields at the U of S, and analyzing ‘big data’ and artificial intelligence techniques from the clinic’s MRI to support research projects.
The college says that the research could affect health care services leading to reduced costs for the health care system.
“This opens the door for greater participation in higher university education projects and education opportunities for our people,” said Dwayne Seib, James Smith Cree Nation executive director. “This represents a solid foundation from which we can build a relationship with the U of S to support the well being of all people in Saskatchewan and Canada.”
The College of Medicine at the U of S had 89 Indigenous graduates this year, second most of any college in Canada, and 36 Indigenous students enrolled in Medicine today.
“The college is thrilled to be part of this agreement,” said College of Medicine Dean Preston Smith. “The college is on a journey – we know we have great work still to do in reconciliation and Indigenization.”