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From the Voices of People with Haemophilia A and Their Caregivers

COVID-19 and the Future of Health Research and Innovation

December 17, 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, the Shift Health team would like to take a moment to recognize the inspiring people and empowering partnerships that have helped us to flourish, reminded us of our great fortune and anchored us during a humbling and difficult year of pandemic extremes.   

  • It has been a year focused on learning from and working with our communities to build an inclusive health research and innovation ecosystem rooted in the principles of justice, equity, reconciliation and belonging.  
  • It has been a year of impactful collaboration with our clients, who have entrusted us with complex, mission-critical mandates to advance the development of COVID vaccines and therapeutics and prepare the health research and innovation ecosystem for a resilient future.  
  • It has been a year to generate and share original insights that unite the health research and innovation ecosystem around a sense of common purpose, amplify the voices of patients and drive us toward a more inclusive future.   
  • It has been a year of important conversations with stakeholders across our ecosystem—policymakers, researchers, innovative companies, healthcare providers, funders and investors, patients and the public—to ensure that everyone benefits from 21st-century health innovations.  
  • It has been a year of growth and celebration within our team. Together, we’ve expanded our knowledge, welcomed brilliant new colleagues and recognized the invaluable contributions of loyal Shifties.  

We are proud to share some of our achievements with you. But most importantly, we’re privileged to work with people and partners who share our values, inspire our creativity and are as committed as we are to creating the future of healthcare.

Building Powerful Community Partnerships  

  • Inclusive Life Sciences Collaboration  
    We are a founding member of the Inclusive Life Sciences Collaboration (ILSC), mobilizing a community of individuals and organizations committed to creating inclusive organizational cultures across the life sciences sector.  
  • Visions of Science Internship  
    In partnership with Visions of Science, we developed a 4-week summer internship for high school students to empower youth who display outstanding potential in STEM and provide experience in strategy consulting.  
  • OCAD University Art Commission  
    In partnership with the Ontario College for Art and Design (OCAD) University’s  RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, we developed an Art Commissioning Program, to envision the future of healthcare through art and support the careers of emerging artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, racialized, minoritized and LGBTQ2S+.
  • Black History Month  
    We celebrated three remarkable leaders who are making history—and creating the future—in, with and for their communities. Thank you to Onome Ako, CEO, Action Against Hunger, Canada; Sharon Nyangweso, CEO and Founder, QuakeLab; and Dr. Eugenia Duodu Addy, CEO, Visions of Science for sharing their stories and perspectives on leadership with us and our community in 2021. Please see their full stories HERE.  
  • International Women’s Day  
    We paid tribute to four inspiring women leaders who are challenging injustice, inequality and discrimination in our research and innovation systems, institutions and practices. Thank you Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann, Dr. Tina Tong, Dr. Charu Kaushic and Dr. Imogen Coe for helping to build a future in which all of humanity can bring their full selves to a more accountable and impactful research and innovation community. HERE is more on these influential leaders.  


Delivering Impactful Results for Our Clients.     

  • Advancing a Bold Model to Combat Pandemic and Biological Threats​  
    We helped create new models of resilient, solutions-driven research and innovation partnerships to overcome the vulnerabilities COVID-19 has exposed and amplified. Learn more about Canada’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats HERE
  • Positioning a COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate in a Dynamic and Competitive Landscape​  ​  
    We examined clinical merits, technical feasibility and adoption potential of available and emerging COVID vaccines to maximize the public health impact of a novel candidate. Learn more HERE.
  • Developing the Strategic Plan for The Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Institute of Infection and Immunity​  
    We led the development of a 5-year strategic plan to unleash the strengths of Canada’s infection and immunity research community, tackle injustice in science and build on the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan: Transforming Research to Impact Lives—Our Vision for the Future HERE.   
  • Establishing a Transnational Public Health Agency in the Gulf Region​ 
    We worked closely with public health leaders from six Gulf countries to create the foundational strategy, operating model and implementation plan for the Gulf CDC. Learn more HERE
  • Maximizing the Value of a Novel Antiviral Beyond Treatment of COVID-19
    We developed strategic considerations that prioritized additional RNA virus indications for an antiviral asset and will unlock patient and societal value beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more HERE.


​​Generating Novel Insights

  • Roadmap for an Integrated Life Sciences Ecosystem   
    We worked with Life Sciences Ontario to create a plan for a more resilient, prepared, just and integrated life sciences ecosystem—across sectors, across disciplines and across the innovation continuum. Read Leading the Way Toward Recovery, Resilience and Prosperity: Roadmap for an Integrated Life Sciences Ecosystem in Ontario HERE
  • Invigorating Biopharma’s Contribution to Canada’s Health Research and Innovation Ecosystem
    In partnership with Research Canada, we convened an Expert Advisory Panel to oversee an independent study on the role of the biopharmaceutical industry within Canada’s health research and innovation ecosystem. We thank all members of the Expert Advisory Panel for volunteering their sharp insights, critical review and valuable time, including Dr. Rose Goldstein, Dr. Elizabeth Douville, Dr. Pierre-Gerlier Forest, Dr. Scott Halperin, Jacques Hendlisz, Sue Mack-Klinger, Gordon McCauley, Dr. Catherine Whiteside and Dr. Bradly Wouters. We also convened a webinar, “ Beyond Rhetoric: Shifting from a Trust Deficit to Renewed Partnership with the Biopharmaceutical Industry,” which shared insights from the report’s authors. Access the full report HERE and the on-demand webinar recording HERE.  
  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility as a Leadership Competency  We advanced thinking on what it means to embed IDEA within traditional leadership competencies and what it will take to achieve durable change in health research and care. Co-authored by Imogen Coe, Everton A. Gooden, Modupe Tunde-Byass and Shift Health’s Anne E. Mullin and Ryan Wiley, Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility: From organizational responsibility to leadership competency can be accessed HERE
  • Evolving Approaches to Health Technology Assessments for Precision Oncology Therapeutics  
    In collaboration with an Expert Working Group, including Dr. Jean-Yves Blay, Sir Andrew Dillon, Dr. Brian O’Rourke, Dr. Ulf Persson and Ms. Anne-Pierre Pickaert, we examined the opportunity to evolve current HTA approaches and improve access to precision oncology therapeutics by extending the window for evidence generation. You can access When Decision Meets Precision: Evolving Health Technology Assessments for the Evaluation of Precision Oncology Therapeutics HERE. 
  • Tackling Access Barriers for Individuals with Autism  
    We described important steps that stakeholders can take to improve health and social care services and enhance access for all individuals with ASD. For this work, we had the pleasure of collaborating with Dr. Suzanne Lewis, Dr. Joaquin Fuentes and Dr. Thomas W. Frazier. Access Tackling healthcare access barriers for individuals with autism from diagnosis to adulthood HERE.  


Convening Important Conversations

  • Life Sciences Ontario Policy Forum  
    As Lead Sponsor, we helped convene >200 stakeholders across the life sciences to discuss what’s needed to empower a resilient life sciences sector. Thank you to all attendees, speakers and sponsors for your engagement with this year’s Policy Forum. Learn more about Empowering the Life Sciences in Ontario’s Resilient Future HERE.
  • Maximizing the Value of Cannabis-Based Pharmaceuticals Webinar  
    In collaboration with LSO, we convened a panel featuring David Berg, Jeremy Desai, David Wood and Shift Health Principal Chris Delvecchio to discuss the need for a higher evidence bar for cannabis-based therapeutics. We’ve also published a Health Intelligence Report, Maximizing the Value of Cannabis-Based Pharmaceuticals, in which we argue that if companies with the ambition to develop cannabis-based pharmaceuticals want to maximize the value of and access to their products, it is critical that evidence is generated in a strategic manner to justify health claims. Access the full report HERE and the on-demand webinar recording HERE.   
  • Strep A Vaccine Stakeholders Meeting 
    We facilitated a discussion with the Strep A Vaccine Global Consortium (SAVAC) Global Consortium to advance the business case for investment in Strep A R&D and accelerate vaccines for this devastating—and neglected—disease. We are a proud member of SAVAC, funded by Wellcome Trust, along with global collaborators and colleagues from International Vaccine Institute (IVI). Learn more about SAVAC HERE.
  • Graduate Management Consulting Association Virtual Case Competition 
    We served on the jury for GMCA’s case competition, helping graduate students explore management consulting as a career and develop collaborative problem-solving skills.         


Growing and Celebrating Our Team   

  • Learning Together  
    With support from experts, our team engaged in internal workshops and programs to address racism, oppression and injustice and become a more inclusive, equitable and accessible organization for each other, our clients and our communities. With CNIB, we came together to learn and discuss ways in which to better share our knowledge and communicate our insights through an accessibility lens. With Quake Lab, we designed an internal action plan to ensure that equity is at the heart of every Shift Health policy, process and practice.  
  • Team Celebrations 
    Following COVID-19 health guidelines, we came together to reconnect, share laughs and create new memories. We look forward to enjoying more celebrations with the team in the coming year!  
  • Special Milestones   
    A special congratulations to Soo-Jin An and Dr. Adrian Snihur as they celebrate 5 and 10 years at Shift Health! Soo-Jin is a truly amazing colleague and friend who goes above and beyond to support the whole Shift Health team. We would not be the organization we are today without her kindness, patience, creativity, innovation, organization and style. Over the past decade, Adrian has made an incalculable contribution to building our firm and our team. Currently Senior Director, Consulting, Adrian is also a member of our Leadership Team, bringing consummate professionalism, caring mentorship and conscientious leadership. We look forward to many more years of collaboration and friendship with you both. 


It’s all about people and partners. We are grateful to our community, clients and team for an amazing year of discovery, innovation and impact. Without you, none of these achievements would have been possible. We look forward to working with you to build a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible health research and innovation ecosystem in 2022 and beyond.