|Dr. Heather McKay shows a hip replacement on a model at the opening of the Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre at Vancouver General Hospital on Thursday, Sept 15, 2011. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG
Health Minister Michael de Jong was given some welcome news as he prepares for a provincial election sometime in the next year and a half.
The provincial health minister was told on Thursday he could be the stud in the stable with his well-aligned hips when Premier Christy Clark calls a provincial election.
The good news came for de Jong as he helped open the Robert H. N. Ho Research Centre at Vancouver General Hospital.
“You’ve got a healthy walk, near perfect and with even distribution,” Dr. Heather McKay the director of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility told de Jong after he walked along the “GAITRite” — a computerized walkway that gives researchers and doctors at VGH an instant snapshot about how a person walks and what joint-related problems may be down the road.
McKay noted that by looking at a person’s walk on the computerized high-tech runway, they can accurately predict some hip and joint problems that may be on the way.
The Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) will also be home to health professionals studying treatments and possible cures for patients with prostate and ovarian cancers.
A key aspect of the new centre is its focus on research in early detection and prevention of disease.
The $60-million facility has three internationally renowned research programs:
* The Centre for Hip Health and Mobility.
* An expanded Vancouver Prostate Centre.
* OvCaRe, the ovarian cancer research program, which is located within the prostate centre.
At the ceremony launching the new facility de Jong noted that British Columbia will be home to some of the top researchers in the world.
After an earlier talk with philanthropist Ho, de Jong said Ho hopes his money leads the facility into cutting edge research.
“He (Ho) said to me we are going to attract people to this facility and keep them here,” said deJong.
Both joint mobility and prostate problems are more common every day with an aging population, the medical experts at the opening said.
“Work will focus on everything from hip fracture prevention to understanding the progression of prostate cancer and the development of new therapies,” he said.
McKay said the new facility and funding gives them a real chance to lead the way in joint-related medicine.
“A few years ago, we had a dream that we could unite scientists and clinicians from a wide range of expertise in one space to understand and alleviate the burden of arthritis, osteoporosis and fall-related fractures. The opening of the Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre, custom-designed and equipped for the varied types of research we do, turns that dream to reality.”
Of note, falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors. One in three over the age of 65 will typically experience at least one fall each year.
* Falls cause more than 95 per cent of all hip fractures in the elderly.
Over 20 per cent of seniors who suffer a hip fracture die within a year.
* In B.C., 14.9 per cent of the population, or 560,000 people over the age of 14, have arthritis.
About 150 staff, clinicians and scientists will work at the new building and an additional 40 new jobs will be created within the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility.
Dr. Martin Gleave, the director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre said the research will put them on the cutting edge.
Robert H.N. Ho and his family have a long history of international philanthropy. In 2009 he began an association with VGH and the UBC Hospital Foundation and work commenced on the new facility.
“Much in the world is changing rapidly,” said Ho at the ceremony. “I believe that the unknown in many things, including medical science can best be solved through collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches.”
Ho is chairman of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation and the Tung Lin Kok Yuen Foundation. He has made generous donations in the past to organizations around the world, with a special interest in medical and religious causes.
Ho has also donated to the University of B.C., Stanford University, Hong Kong University, Colgate University in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
“Now we need you the doctors, the scientists and the researchers to put your best into this facility and show the world what you can achieve,” Ho said at the ceremony.