Imagine Citizen Network (ICN) members have proudly been active participants in the Precision Health (PH) program at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine since its inception in August 2021.
The program aims to provide healthcare tailored to individual characteristics and has four streams:
- Quality and Safety
- Health Professional Education
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Precision Medicine.
In 2023, ICN members Alexandra Harrison and Judy Birdsell became co-investigators in a Precision Health research project focused on the co-production of education; Barb Stolee was also involved as a workshop participant.
From August 2 to September 1, 2023, ICN volunteers were extensively involved in co-developing the Block Week Course which was a great success and further progressed ICN’s collaboration with PH.
One of the many sessions to note throughout the week was a live interview session with Monica Baranec, a person with lived experience of breast cancer and Dr. Renee Perrier, Medical Geneticist, moderated by Barb Higgins, certified Wellness Counsellor, award-winning writer and past anchor and producer of CTV Calgary News at 6. The interview offered a deep dive into Monica’s world and by extension her family’s experience with BRCA genetics (a breast cancer gene). The interview was videotaped and will be available for future teaching.
Following the interview with Monica was an interactive afternoon led by Alex Harrison, Barb Stolee, Collin May, D’Arcy Duquette and Judy Birdsell, on person-centred care and co-creating health care to familiarize students with the meaning of these two concepts and how they can be implemented.
This led to a Q&A session for students, followed by final presentations on Friday morning. For their final projects, each student group chose a disease topic and presented precision medicine innovations in that area of medicine. The presentations showed huge progress in anchoring the discourse about a specific innovation around a person with lived experience in dealing with a particular diagnosis such as Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s’.
We want to say a huge congratulations to our ICN team and our partners from Cumming School of Medicine for their contributions to the PH program. Several individuals from U of C who are well known to ICN, such as Ward Flemons and Jo-Louise Huq, are integrally involved in the program and continue to champion our involvement; along with support from many others including Ivy Young and Lisa Fedoruk.
We look forward to continuing our partnership and collaboration with the Precision Health Program on a variety of other initiatives while building on the work we’ve accomplished in 2023 as we head into 2024.