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November 21, 2019

November 21, 2019, MONTREAL—Shift Health President Ryan Wiley, PhD, received the 2019 Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award on Wednesday 20 November 2019 at the Health Research Foundation’s Medal of Honour Award Ceremony, presented in partnership with Prix Galien Canada.

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.

“Ryan has long been a champion of health research and innovation in Canada. Since joining Shift Health nearly 15 years ago, Ryan has led some of our most transformative client initiatives and has spearheaded numerous projects to promote collaboration among academia, government, industry and the not-for-profit sector in fostering a health innovation ecosystem that leads to health, social, and economic benefits in Canada. The enthusiasm, energy and determination with which Ryan advocates for health research and health innovation is admirable. We couldn’t be prouder of him,” said Borys Chabursky, Founder and Chairman of Shift Health.

Said Dr. Wiley:

“When I learned that I had been honoured with Research Canada’s Leadership in Advocacy Award, I was speechless. As I reflect on the work before us in helping policymakers and the public understand what’s needed to unleash the potential of the health research and innovation ecosystem for all Canadians, I feel hopeful and driven.

“This award has invited reflection on what it means to engage in advocacy in the current environment; and on what we need to do as a community to advance, accelerate and amplify our sector.

“First, we need to act and speak as an ecosystem. Policymakers need to understand that curiosity leads to discoveries that lead to population, patient and health system impact. Policies that, for example, make it more difficult for health systems to adopt innovation will create imbalances across the system. This is the essence of Research Canada’s advocacy philosophy—and my own—and it’s a drum we must never stop beating.

“Second, we need to view a flourishing health research and innovation ecosystem as central to nation-building. In Canada, our national identity is inextricably linked with healthcare, but in places like Israel and Singapore, it’s the broader innovation ecosystem that underpins a sense of national purpose. Even in the US, the NIH is so sacrosanct that it’s one of the few institutions that generates bipartisan support. This is where we need to be as a country.

“To get there, we need all Canadians to become our advocates. I believe that science, research and innovation need to become a social movement: collective spirit and action built on a population-wide understanding that knowledge creation and discovery are urgent, essential and a shared responsibility.

“And so, I view this award as a vote of confidence in what we might achieve together in the future. I embrace this challenge wholeheartedly and I want to express my humble gratitude to Research Canada for bestowing this honour.”

In 2019 Dr. Wiley called on the health research community to reimagine science as a social movement in an op-ed for Research Canada’s Your Candidates, Your Health initiative. He also co-authored papers on organizational best practices towards gender equality in science and medicine (The Lancet); on assessing the global socioeconomic costs of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease); and on firsthand perspectives from people living with haemophilia (Haemophilia).

About Dr. Ryan Wiley

  • Joined Shift Health in 2005, named President in 2015
  • Adjunct Professor at McMaster University since 2014
  • Has served in various advisory roles since 2008 with organizations including neWChapter at Women’s College Hospital Foundation, Ontario Brain Institute, and the McMaster University Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Program
  • Has served on the board of directors for several organizations including Women’s College Hospital Foundation, Amref Health Africa in Canada, CanHealth International, the Canadian International Health Education Association, and Research Canada
  • Policy Advisor and Chair of the Policy Engagement Committee at Research Canada since 2018
  • Served as Chair of Research Canada from 2014 to 2017
  • Holds a PhD in Immunology from McMaster University

Find the 2019 Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award online:

Research Canada Press Release