Community Liaison Committee to the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health: Report May 2019

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Type: Report

Published: 2021-05-XX

Report to the community

Edition : May 2019

Table of Content

Message from the Co-chairs

Welcome to the Community Liaison Committee's (CLC) latest report, which aims to keep the Winnipeg community updated on our most-recent activities and membership changes.

We are proud of the role that we play in representing community interests in our partnership with the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health (CSCHAH). Often referred to as Winnipeg's “Virology Lab”, this facility is home to the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD). The CLC is pleased to have a role in supporting the lifesaving, cutting edge scientific work that goes on in this facility.

The CLC was established 20 years ago as an independent group to bridge communication between the laboratory and community residents. By remaining at arm's-length from CSCHAH, we ensure the transparent and open flow of information. Our committee members represent all Manitobans and come from a variety of both science and non-science backgrounds. All members are volunteers, and all are nominated by various stakeholders and community groups. We meet quarterly with CSCHAH senior staff to discuss facility and program updates, new projects, safety considerations, and general matters of concern or interest. In the last year alone, we've had the opportunity to engage with CSCHAH guest speakers on exciting topics such as foodborne disease in the era of genomics, special Ebola projects, the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network, dried bloodspot testing in Canada's North, and ongoing medical surveillance of CSCHAH staff.

The purpose of these meetings is to allow for an open exchange of information. In other words, a forum for public input and a direct line to accurate information. It is important that local residents are aware of how this specialized infectious disease laboratory operates, as well as how it maintains a safe working environment for its staff and the community members that surround it. The CLC also engages in outreach to help increase awareness and understanding of the work conducted at the CSCHAH, most known for its research within Canada's only Level 4 containment lab.

It is not often that you see two federal organizations working together under the same roof. In this case, it makes perfect sense, as scientists from both laboratories collaborate with ease to tackle the mysteries of the world's most concerning pathogens. The work that they do not only helps Canada respond to outbreaks at home and abroad, but also prepares the country for what may come in the future. Their important research ultimately helps to keep the health of Canadians, as well as our food and livestock, safe from infection.
Since the first meeting back in 2000, the CLC's efforts have helped to foster ongoing public confidence and trust in CSCHAH. We know that Winnipeggers are proud of this facility and we personally take great pride in being able to play a role in its ongoing success.

We are your voice, and, as always, welcome your questions, concerns, or thoughts. Please reach out to us anytime through our various channels – we would be happy to hear from you!

Welcome, New Members!

We warmly congratulate and welcome our three new committee members: Cathy Collins, Judy Hodge, and Robyn Koropatnick. Each was appointed by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Teresa Tam, in 2018 to serve on the committee for a term of three years with options for term renewal.

We are thrilled to have these three esteemed individuals join our committee. While the members of the CLC have no direct control over CSCHAH operations or programs, our members can raise any concerns to the highest levels, if required. Having strong representation from a variety of backgrounds ensures a solid understanding of information presented and a diversity of voices being heard. We look forward to working alongside Cathy, Judy, and Robyn, in the coming years.

Recent Committee Activities

On April 26, 2018, the CLC hosted a free public information session at CSCHAH. The evening event was moderated by committee member Dr. Daniel Sitar, and was very well attended. The 135-seat theatre soon filled to capacity and an overflow room was needed to provide seats for additional guests.

The session featured presentations by previous CLC Co-Chair, Dr. Terry Whiting, as well as by Dr. Matt Gilmour, Scientific Director General of the NML, Dr. John Copps, Director of NCFAD, and Joy Stadnichuk, Community Relations, CSCHAH. Each one highlighted interesting innovations and current activities. The energy in the room was buzzing with pride and curiosity of the research that goes on in the facility. The evening was capped off by a spirited Q&A forum. Arguably the highlight of the night was when a young boy bravely stepped up to the microphone to ask Dr. Gilmour about symptoms of malaria. Perhaps he is the next great Canadian mosquito-borne disease researcher?!

In June 2018, we recognized two long-serving CLC members, Terry Whiting and Audrey Vandewater, for their many years of dedicated service to the committee. Terry was among the first group of members, and Audrey has served since 2003. As their final months of membership came to a close, we were sad to say goodbye but so grateful for the effort and input they have provided our group over the last two decades. Since Terry's exit, a new community Co-Chair has been announced: Mr. Alan Wise.

On May 4, 2019, the CSCHAH celebrated its 20th anniversary by hosting an Open House event at 1015 Arlington Street, Winnipeg. The CLC was thrilled to be a booth participant, and a handful of our members attended to meet with the public and share information about our work and activities. Our acting Co-Chair, Karen Keppler, was also invited to present to guests on CLC activities, as part of the event's seminar series. We so enjoyed meeting with the public and look forward to the next time!

Any comments or concerns? Contact us! Community Liaison Committee: 204-947-3364.

CLC Members: Pauline Clarke, Dr. Alfonso Clavijo, Cathy Collins, Dr. John Copps, Dr. Matthew Gilmour, Steven Guercio, Yvonne Hawryliuk, Dr. Judy Hodge, Ray Hoemsen, Robyn Koropatnick, Karen Keppler, Dr. Jagdish Khatter, George Matheson, Sarah McCullough, Jerry Ross, Marc Sheridan, Dr. Daniel Sitar, Warren Wilson, Allan Wise, Franeli Yadao

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