CADTH celebrates two researchers for work advancing health technology assessment

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Research News
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OTTAWA, April 25, 2017 /CNW/ - Today in Ottawa, CADTH will honour two scientists who have

made a significant contribution to the field of health technology assessment (HTA) in Canada — one as a builder and the other as a rising star.

The builder is Dr. Devidas Menon,

a professor at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health who was also the founding executive director of the Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment (CCOHTA) in 1990, which became CADTH in 2006. At an awards luncheon in front of more than 800 people attending CADTH's yearly Symposium, Menon will accept the Dr. Jill M. Sanders Award of Excellence in Health Technology Assessment, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to HTA, evidence-based drug reviews, or optimal technology management in Canada.

"I feel honoured and flattered. This recognition has made me reflect on my career and how far the field has come — sometimes because of me and sometimes in spite of me," said Menon in typically humble fashion. "I am very grateful."

For someone whose PhD is in theoretical physics, a career in HTA seems a significant deviation. But Menon's HTA path started when he was working with nuclear medicine at the University of Alberta Hospital. He realized the hospital didn't have evidence to explain why and how new equipment made things better, and for whom. The hospital CEO asked him to find out and, in 1988, created a department headed by Menon to do just that. Menon soon discovered there were no other hospitals in Canada to learn from. So started his leadership, both at home and globally. Two years later he was heading up CCOHTA, and in the early nineties he helped establish the first international network for HTA agencies, which started with six members and now has more than 50.

"We owe a great debt to Dr. Devidas Menon as a pioneer of HTA in Canada and around the world," said Dr. Brian O'Rourke, President and CEO of CADTH. "He helped set the stage for a new generation of researchers, like Dr. Irfan Dhalla, the winner of this year's Dr. Maurice McGregor Award."

The Dr. Maurice McGregor Award recognizes rising stars who are emerging as HTA leaders and it will also be presented at the CADTH Symposium.

"I am honoured to receive this award," said Dr. Dhalla, Vice-President of Evidence Development and Standards at Health Quality Ontario. "It really reflects the work we have done as a team at Health Quality Ontario, where I am so fortunate to work with an amazing, thoughtful group of people who are committed to making the health system better by supporting high-quality, evidence-based health care."

Dr. Dhalla is a strong advocate of evidence-based medicine and came to this early in his medical career. He began to develop an interest in HTA after being randomly assigned as a medical student to a rotation with Dr. Andreas Laupacis, a highly regarded researcher who is a proponent of HTA and evidence-based medicine, and whose interest in citizen engagement has rubbed off on Dr. Dhalla.

"Those conversations with Andreas really opened my eyes — and opened doors — to the world of HTA," said Dr. Dhalla, who still practices general internal medicine at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and is an Associate Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital and an Adjunct Scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

"Dr. Irfan Dhalla oversees an outstanding health technology assessment team where patients, caregivers, and experts all work together to achieve a better health care system," said Dr. Joshua Tepper, President and CEO of Health Quality Ontario. "I am thrilled to see his contributions recognized. He is a remarkable leader and scholar with voracity for evidence and synthesizing information. This is truly a well-deserved honour and on behalf of everyone at Health Quality Ontario, I extend my sincerest congratulations."

For more about the awards, including past recipients, please visit CADTH's Recognition Awards page.

For details about the 2017 CADTH Symposium, view the conference program and download the conference app. Follow CADTH on Twitter (@CADTH_ACMTS) and join the Symposium conversation using the hashtag #CADTHSymp.

About CADTHCADTH is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for providing Canada's health care decision-makers with objective evidence to help make informed decisions about the optimal use of drugs and medical devices in our health care system. CADTH receives funding from Canada's federal, provincial, and territorial governments, with the exception of Quebec.


SOURCE Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)


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