Research Canada Recognizes Three Champions of Health Research Advocacy

MONTREAL, November 20, 2019 — Research Canada is pleased to announce three winners of the 2019 Leadership in Advocacy AwardDr. Roderick McInnes, Director of the Lady Davis Institute and Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry at McGill University, Dr. Ryan Wiley, President of Shift Health, Assistant Professor at McMaster University, Past Chair and Policy Advisor to the Board of Research Canada, and Science & Policy Exchange, a non-profit organization based in Montreal.

The Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award was created to recognize outstanding champions of health research and health innovation at the local, regional and/or national level – advocates who educate policymakers, the media and the public about the health, social, and economic benefits of health research and health innovation in Canada.

“Our sector is fortunate to have many highly skilled and dedicated individuals and organizations working tirelessly to ensure that health research and innovation is supported by Canadians and their leaders,” said Dr. Robert McMaster, Chair of Research Canada, Vice-President of Research at Vancouver Coastal Health and Executive Director of VCH Research Institute. “It is the life-changing nature of our work that makes this activity so special, and our champions so cherished.”

“This year’s Awardees have all gone above and beyond what is expected of health research advocates,” added Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO of Research Canada. “They have affected important change in our sector that will have long-term effects. Dr. McInnes has given us a new lease on embracing our premiere health research funding agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Dr. Wiley has helped us to better understand the invaluable role of health research within the health innovation ecosystem, and Science & Policy Exchange has aided us in recognizing the valuable contribution of the next generation of Canadian health researchers to Canadians’ health and the healthcare system.”

The 2019 Leadership in Advocacy Award will be presented to Dr. McInnes, Dr. Wiley, and Science & Policy Exchange at the Health Research Foundation’s Research Awards Gala, in partnership with Prix Galien Canada. The event will be held this evening at the Marriott Château Champlain in Montreal. For more information about the HRF Research Awards Gala, please visit their website.

Research Canada will continue to recognize the achievements of more advocates in the coming years with this annual award and thanks all of those who submitted nominations for this year.

About Research Canada
Research Canada is a national alliance dedicated to increasing investments in health research through collaborative advocacy and engaging government, academia, industry and non-profit sectors to build support for long-term health research funding. For more information, visit

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About the Winners

Roderick McInnes – CM, MD, PhD, FRSC
Dr. Roderick R. McInnes is the Director of the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital, Alva Chair in Human Genetics, Canada Research Chair in Neurogenetics and Professor of Human Genetics and of Biochemistry at McGill University. Dr. McInnes has made important contributions to the understanding of the molecular basis of retinal and eye development, and to the identification of genes and processes associated with inherited retinal degenerations. Recently, he has collaborated with other researchers to demonstrate that it is possible to correct an inherited learning defect in mice with a drug, a finding with important implications for human learning disability. He is a coauthor of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th editions of Thompson and Thompson’s Genetics in Medicine. Amongst other honours, Dr. McInnes is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2008 and the Order of Canada in 2009.


Ryan Wiley –  PhD
Dr. Ryan Wiley is President of Shift Health, which he has helped to grow into one of the most dynamic and trusted advisory teams in the health and life sciences arena, with footholds in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Working with global leaders in the contexts of business, healthcare, science and policy, Ryan brings a unique ability to envision and unlock the benefits of collaboration across disciplines, sectors and borders. Over his fifteen-year consulting career, Ryan has worked with the world’s largest biopharmaceutical and life sciences companies, for which he has supported product development and market access strategies globally; non-governmental and philanthropic organizations, with which he has worked on impactful public‐private and public health partnerships in the developing world; governments, which have sought his advice on policy and funding strategies to empower health research and innovation; and academic institutions, for which he has helped to mobilize more than $1 billion to support health R&D.


Science & Policy Exchange

Science & Policy Exchange (SPE) is a Montreal-based, non-profit organization whose aims are two-fold: (1) to foster the student voice in evidence-based decision making and (2) to bring together leading experts from academia, industry, and government to engage and inform students and the public on issues at the interface of science and policy. SPE is one of the few bilingual student led initiatives directly engaging Québec’s political scene and effectively bridging the gap between academia, industry and government leaders. SPE has worked hard to foster a culture wherein trainees at all levels can see themselves engaging broadly with media, policy-makers, and the public to make the case for research and in doing so, are helping to secure a better future for all Canadians.

For inquiries:
Christie Tomkins
Manager of Policy and Public Affairs