Looking forward to the next 30
When we planned our year long celebration of the 30th Anniversary of MCHP we had no idea what the year would turn out to be like. We had planned an in-person celebration at the end of the year where we could share our experiences over the past 30 years (yes, there are a few folks who have memories of working at MCHP that far back) and celebrate our achievements and our co-founders. We all know why that did not happen. Instead, we have demonstrated our resilience and adaptability by pivoting to virtual work almost without skipping a beat. Many staff had young children at home when schools closed but managed to get the work done between childcare duties and home schooling. Our information technology team addressed many challenges while settling staff into their new routine.
The past year has been unique at MCHP, as it has everywhere else. We have never experienced anything like this before. The first year at MCHP thirty years ago was also new and different, but the context was so different; 2020 was very stressful. We witnessed the devastating impact on Manitoba Personal Care Homes, the contribution of healthcare providers in emergency departments and ICUs in particular, and the impact of isolation on the well-being of so many Manitobans. These are all areas that we have studied over the years, providing the Ministry of Health with evidence to support policy initiatives. Revisiting those studies in the current reality would be very instructive! In addition we are currently leading or engaged with more than 15 COVID-19 related projects.
There are a few developments at MCHP since our inception that I think are worth emphasizing. Firstly, the growth of the number of data sets available in the Repository. As the data resource has grown, so too has our ability to explore new analytic techniques using data linkage. I suspect the number of data bases will continue to grow. Secondly, we have dramatically expanded our scope from health services to include the social determinants of health. This has contributed to policy changes within multiple government departments, in addition to the health care system. Thirdly, while we have not grown in size over the last few years, we are certainly a much larger group than the small team that started out 30 years ago. Our strength lies in our people! Fourthly, we have transitioned to becoming a resource to research scientists from across many jurisdictions and disciplines. We collaborate closely with clinicians and researchers from the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, from other University of Manitoba faculties, and from other universities nationally and internationally. Finally, we have established meaningful, respectful relationships with First Nations and their organizations as well as with the Manitoba Metis Federation as we move towards a de-colonizing approach to research with administrative data.
We are well positioned to meet the needs of Manitobans (and others) in providing meaningful data analyses using the most appropriate techniques including exploiting the emerging use of artificial intelligence in data science as we move into our fourth decade. But MCHP is also about the people who do the work and make the Centre, in person or virtual, something to be proud of. We have a solid foundation to build on and a skilled, creative and committed staff. I look to the future of MCHP with optimism.