JANUARY 2021 – Call for an Annual General Meeting
It is hard to believe nearly 5 years has passed since CANUE officially started, signifying the end of the original CIHR timeframe. Through this time a lot has been accomplished. Thanks to a dedicated staff, expertly guided by Eleanor Setton, CANUE’s Managing Director, and many members we, CANUE, have built a platform of environmental data along with a myriad of supporting tools. We’ve built working relationships with key health data holders such that common environmental data are embedded within platforms covering the full life course. As a result, Canadian research capacity related to urban form and health, the “urban exposome”, has advanced considerably and measurably. Many research questions, from development of potential new exposure metrics to associations with health outcomes, have been and are being explored by a diversity of investigators from undergraduate students to established independent researchers. Furthermore, new partnerships have formed and our networks have grown, including internationally, helping to expand and strengthen the environmental health community in Canada. Many independently funded projects using CANUE data are ongoing and new proposals are being reviewed or under development. Awareness of CANUE is high in Canada and internationally creating much opportunity.
In addition to reflection, five years brings CANUE to a logical point for looking ahead – where should or can CANUE head over the next five years? We need to continue exploring and acting upon opportunities to secure new resources to grow and continue beyond 2024, aiming to have even greater impact. Of course, this depends upon three factors: (1) the interest and efforts of all CANUE members; (2) the needs and interest of data users; and (3) the amount of funding we can continue to attract.
We are excited to announce that planning for the first CANUE Annual General Meeting (AGM) for this May is underway. While we were establishing the CANUE infrastructure, data holdings and distribution mechanisms, most planning has been undertaken internally at CANUE with guidance from our directors and members of the advisory teams. It is now time to engage CANUE members widely, further turning the consortium into a member-driven program. The AGM is the opportunity to do this. We aim to use this meeting, spread into short engagements over the course of a week, to generate more excitement for the growth of CANUE and to take stock of CANUE and its related environmental health research. In addition to initiating multiple, potentially coordinated efforts to attract new resources, a range of issues will be openly discussed. What are the key challenges in the short and medium term? What are the most important new directions to pursue based upon unique opportunities currently foreseen? What is the best model for CANUE to grow, have impact and be sustainable?
As CANUE’s first and hopefully not the last Scientific Director, I look forward to our AGM to explore these questions, and others, leading to a viable strategic plan for the next five years and beyond.
With much appreciation to all those who have helped CANUE succeed,
Jeff Brook, PhD
Nominated PI and Scientific Director