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Registered nurses launch Expert Commission on health system renewal – News Release

Ottawa, May 26, 2011 – The Canadian Nurses Association today officially launched its National Expert Commission on health system improvement, entitled The Health of Our Nation — The Future of Our Health System. The Commission’s mandate is to generate policy solutions that contribute to a transformed health system — one that is better equipped to meet the changing health needs of Canada’s population.

“Nurses are central to the health care of Canadians, who benefit from the knowledge, experience and expertise of nurses from cradle to grave. The nursing profession has generated multiple solutions through its research, knowledge and experience, which need to be brought to bear on a transformed, sustainable system. That kind of revitalized system must lead to better health outcomes and a more vibrant, productive nation,” said CNA president Judith Shamian.

The Commission will be co-chaired by two exceptionally capable and respected Canadians: Marlene Smadu and Maureen A. McTeer. Smadu, a past president of CNA and current vice-president of the International Council of Nurses, is an accomplished nurse educator, researcher and government advisor. McTeer is a health law expert and author, as well as adjunct professor, Faculty of Common Law, University of Ottawa. A diverse roster of Canadian thought leaders with complementary backgrounds, experience and expertise will round out the Commission.

The Commission will consult with nurses, other health-care leaders and the public to weigh evidence and advice on how to accelerate a positive transformation of Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit medicare system. It will seek ways to reduce pressures on our hospital-focused acute care system by building capacity beyond it. “By paying attention to supports and services in communities that are effective in providing care, we can ease health system bottlenecks, improve the health of Canadians and reduce costly hospital stays,” said Smadu. “Similarly, investing in health promotion and illness/injury prevention makes more sense than spending big dollars to cure conditions that could have been avoided altogether.”

According to McTeer, “the Commission will address several key questions: How do we shift and re-align health services to make better use of existing resources, including the skills of registered nurses? How can we reduce duplication and maximize teamwork to make our health system smarter and more effective? Where should we mobilize resources to address worrisome trends – like the alarming rise of chronic disease, which we already know could be amenable to effective, safe interventions by nurses?”

The Commission will engage in consultations throughout next year. It will table its final recommendations in June 2012, in time for negotiations on the successor to Canada’s health accord, which expires in 2014.

Commission members:

Marlene Smadu, RN, EdD, Co-chair
Maureen A. McTeer, BA, MA, LLB, LLM, Co-chair
The Honourable Sharon Carstairs, PC
Thomas d’Aquino, BA, JD, LLD, LLM
Robert Fraser, RN, BScN
Francine Girard, RN, PhD
Vickie Kaminski, RN, CHE
Julie Lys, RN, NP, MN
Sioban Nelson, RN, PhD, FCAHS
Charmaine Roye, MD, BSc, FRCPSC
Heather Smith, RN
Rachel Bard, RN, MAEd (ex officio)
Judith Shamian, RN, PhD, LLD (hon), DSci (hon), FAAN (ex officio)

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 143,843 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.


CNA’s Commission: Bringing experts together to generate solutions - Backgrounder [PDF, 275.2 KB]

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Lisa Brazeau
Director, Communications and Member Outreach
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 800-361-8404 / 613-237-2133 ext. 252
Cell: 613-864-1371