Oak Valley Health cultivating a growing research program

Oak Valley Health’s talented researchers and clinicians have been cultivating a growing research program over the last few years. Despite the challenges faced by the pandemic, Oak Valley Health continued to innovate with a collective commitment to creating evidence.

“Even in the hardest of times, research was at the forefront of our fight against COVID-19,” says Michelle Dimas, Manager at Oak Valley Health’s Office of Research. “Our researchers and clinicians continue to conduct research across all departments and specialties and we have begun to engage with our patients and families to create a plan of action that will improve health through research, from bedside to beyond.”

Currently, there are 18 active clinical trials in the areas of oncology, inpatient medicine, and Intensive Care Unit (ICU), COVID-19, labour and delivery, paediatrics, and orthopaedics. In Canada, clinical trials are conducted with oversight from a research ethics board and Health Canada when applicable.

Oak Valley Health is also part of N2 Network of Networks, a not-for-profit incorporated organization and an alliance of Canadian research networks bringing together trialists and clinical research professionals from across the country providing a common platform for sharing best practices, resources and research-related content to ensure efficient and high-quality research, integrity of clinical practices and accountability.

In the last year, there have been 24 principal investigators, 13 research trainees, and four research staff diligently working to improve care for our community.

“We know that offering our patients the latest treatments and models of care provides them with access to the latest cutting-edge research, in the comfort of their community,” says Michelle.

Partnerships have been key in research as it opens the doors to learning new skills, gaining new perspectives and working in collaboration for a common goal. In the last year, Oak Valley Health has worked with 14 research partners and is an active member in various groups including the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG), a cooperative oncology group that designs and administers clinical trials in cancer therapy, supportive care and prevention across Canada. 

Recently, two new physicians, Dr. Shivani Dadwal and Dr. Monali Ray, both Medical Oncologists at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital, were among the nominated members who were awarded one of 50, CCTG New Investigator Clinical Trials Course.

In order to be nominated, participants must be trainees/fellows and junior faculty members in their first five years of staff appointment in medical, hematologic, radiation, and surgical oncology programs from across Canada.

Dr. Dadwal and Dr. Ray were awarded a free, three-day clinical trials course at Queen’s University. “The course brought together clinicians from across Canada and gave the new members the opportunity to see the wonderful trans-Canadian network that exists to help support clinical trials work through the CCTG and the levels of support and resources that exists for health care providers and patients,” says Dr. Dadwal.

“I am inspired by the course to continue to build my knowledge base in clinical research for the benefit of my patients,” says Dr. Ray.

More information about our current clinical trials, or about the Office of Research, is available here.