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Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

The Pursuit of Happiness – My Vision, My Ideal

Letter from the Director, Dr. Guy Rouleau

“Every individual within our community, spanning from students and technicians to nurses, doctors, researchers, and a multitude of other essential roles such as occupational therapists and respiratory therapists, contributes indispensably to our collective accomplishments.”
- Guy Rouleau

As The Neuro nears its 90th anniversary, and we look back and celebrate everyone who got us here, I can't help but think it's also a good time to talk about the future. Not some distant, far-off future, but the next few years, and what we would like them to look like.

For me, creating a workplace where people can find fulfillment and happiness is paramount as we navigate the future. Maybe this sounds aspirational, but it's an ideal that's deeply rooted in my past.

At around the age 13, I became curious about American history. This was long before the internet, so I called the American Embassy in Ottawa, where I lived, and asked if I could pick up a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

The part that caught my attention then, and still resonates deeply today is at the very beginning of the Declaration. It states that part of a government's responsibility is to create the conditions for “the pursuit of happiness”. This is why I sometimes ask people at The Neuro if they're happy. Admittedly, it's gotten me some puzzled looks over the years, but I still hold onto it, believing that creating an environment conducive to achievement, contentment and happiness is integral to my role as Director of The Neuro.

So. How to go about it?
 

Addressing challenges and looking ahead

I think owning up to the challenges The Neuro is facing is the first step towards progress. I want you to know that not only are we aware of them and taking them on, but that we are not alone in this endeavor: our broader support network, including McGill University, the MUHC, our donors, and various levels of government is actively contributing to finding solutions.

Our facilities, or infrastructure, are one of the most important challenges, and an issue which immediately brings up another: The Neuro's relocation to the MUHC Glen site. Despite prolonged discussions, this move is far off. So, I think it's crucial everyone understands that we're here for a while, committed to delivering exceptional care to patients, and to fostering a fulfilling work environment for our staff and students.
 

Enhancing clinical care and research endeavours

The Neuro functions as a unified community, yet it comprises distinct entities with somewhat varying needs.

On the clinical front, we're actively addressing some of the issues faced by both staff and patients, such as improving parking accessibility and food options. Additionally, efforts are underway to enhance some of our facilities, including the imminent opening of the completely renovated Preston Robb-Mierins Family Day Centre. We have plans for a new ICU and to rebuild the outpatient clinics, and we recently acquired state-of-the-art equipment, including a new CT scanner. Looking ahead, we'll soon be replacing our diagnostic MRI, as well as the biplane angiography system.

Similar challenges are encountered in our research endeavors. Here, as always, our commitment to updating our technical equipment is unwavering; it's a tradition at The Neuro to stay ahead of the curve. We now have the world's highest resolution PET scanner, and Canada's first 7 Tesla MRI for full body imaging. Furthermore, a recent CFI grant will facilitate the acquisition of the world's first integrated preclinical imaging system comprising a 9.4T MRI and a compatible PET Scanner.
 

Investing in our people

The research world is changing fast and necessitates continuous recruitment efforts to bolster expertise and drive innovation.

It goes without saying that making every effort to retain current personnel is also key, which is precisely why we're making changes aimed directly at improving working conditions on both the research and clinical sides of The Neuro.

Our student body is, of course, crucial to research — they are the future. At any given time, hundreds of students contribute to the vital work being done here. Acknowledging the rising cost of living and the imperative to provide students fair remuneration, we are actively collaborating with McGill University to address the issue of inadequate compensation, and I am pleased that we have made progress.

Finally, over the last year, our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee worked on a 5-year action plan for The Neuro. Once the plan is approved, we'll begin to implement a series of recommendations. Your input and engagement will be crucial.
 

Fostering Open Science and cultivating partnerships

Amidst rapid advancements in Open Science, initiatives such as the Biobank and the Early Drug Discovery Unit (EDDU) underpin our commitment to collaborative endeavors. On a larger scale, we've been instrumental in building a network of institutions across Canada who've adopted Open Science. Internationally, partnerships with institutions such as Stanford University in the U.S., and the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Brain Institute in France, exemplify our dedication to advancing neuroscientific research for the good of all patients.

Open Science is not a competition, but a real partnership, which is precisely what makes people want to contribute.
 

Embracing the future together

Central to The Neuro's mission is our partnership with our patients, whose needs and aspirations are paramount.

Patient engagement with research at the Neuro speaks volumes about this relationship. When we created the Open Biobank, patients were clear that they wanted to help find new treatments. The rate of patient participation in the research pathway is something like 97 or 98 per cent. Their engagement is unwavering and underscores our commitment to enhancing the patient experience and driving groundbreaking research initiatives. This is unparalleled, and, I believe, testament to the quality of our care.

Every individual within our community, spanning from students and technicians to nurses, doctors, researchers, and a multitude of other essential roles such as occupational therapists and respiratory therapists, contributes indispensably to our collective accomplishments.

As Director of The Neuro, I am immensely proud of our accomplishments and remain confident that, together, we will surmount the challenges that lie ahead. Reflecting on our collective endeavours instills a sense of pride and, perhaps, even happiness.

 

Guy Rouleau, OC, OQ, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FRSC
Director, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital)
Chair, Dept of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University
Chief, Dept of Neurosciences, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.

 

 

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