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Researchers, Knowledge Users and Collaborators April 2017

Welcome to our ECHO Update. We are looking forward to developing a regular rhythm of (~quarterly) updates to members of the ECHO team. We anticipate shifting to other formats and approaches as our learning journey unfolds, and look forward to working with you to establish what this will look like. We anticipate that the look, feel and format of these updates will evolve as the project unfolds! We welcome your feedback and preferences for future updates.

Update #1: April 2017.

After a 3-month orientation period, we have a range of developments and updates to report!

1. Research Manager Transition! Welcome Diana, Thank you Jamie!

Thank you Jamie! Jamie Reschny has been involved as a key team member in 7+ years of background work, research and collaborative effort that has led to the ECHO Network. Our collective efforts have been greatly enhanced by his contributions. Jamie’s role as Research Manager for the ECHO project (and related work with Henry Harder, Margot Parkes and others at UNBC) will finish up at the end of April, as he also puts the finished touches on his PhD. Fortunately, the ECHO team will continue to benefit from Jamie’s involvement as a Co-Applicant. Jamie will also be with us at the May 8-11 launch meeting (see below) in this new capacity. We’ll have opportunities to mark this transition then.

Welcome Diana Kutzner! After an intensive month of recruitment, interviews and exchange across the team, the ECHO Network is delighted to welcome Diana to our team as our incoming Research Manager. Diana’s bio and photo as an introduction – where you’ll she has even trained in kiwi accents! Diana’s timeline for starting with us will involve:

  • April 5-18: Two weeks of training while Jamie is still on board

  • April 18- May 2: Two week of transition with her current work and commitments;

  • From May 3rd: Settling into her new role as our ECHO Network Research Manager.

    Many ECHO team members will meet Diana at our Launch meeting May 8-11, in Prince George.

    2. Press-Release:Awaiting CIHR’s formaannouncement

    For federal funding such as this CIHR team grant, we are beholden to CIHR’s policy, which requires recipients to “respect the Government of Canada’s prerogative to make the first public announcement of federal expenditures”. http://www.science.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/h_711200B1.html?OpenDocument.Our communications with CIHR indicated that these announcements would be made in February, then March, and now... we remain unclear! These delays may be associated with transitions and appointment of the new Acting CIHR President Dr. Roderick McInnes see: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/193.html .

    Although we have had a bilingual Press Release prepared for the last month with input from team members across the country, a new challenge is the BC Elections (scheduled May 9). Once the BC writ is dropped (expected on April 11) there are limitations to media interaction for provincial agencies such as Northern Health. Given that Northern Health is integral to the ECHO Network, we will likely hold off on making our prepared Press Release until after the BC election. We’ll keep you posted, but for those who are with us in Prince George, we should at least have a chance for a team photoshoot while you are here!

    A CIHR Team Grant, in partnership with: Battle River Watershed Alliance, Canadian Wildlife Health Consortium, First Nations Health Authority, New Brunswick Environmental Network, Simon Fraser University, University of Alberta, Université de Moncton, and organisations across Canada and in Australia, New Zealand and Hawai`i.

3. ‘Launch Phase’ Steering Committee.

In keeping with our proposal to CIHR, the governance of the ECHO project will be structured about several key groupings: a Steering Committee, an Operations Committee, four Regional Hubs, an External Advisory Committee and a series of Working Groups. Consistent with the Governance and Partnership plan submitted with our proposal, the Steering Committee (SC) is charged with overseeing the development and implementation of the ECHO Network, drawing from all sectors, regions and organizations within the ECHO Network, and is the primary body for representation and communication of team member inputs, data and needs. Convening a ‘launch phase’ SC has therefore been an important step in initiating the project. The launch-phase SC has been identified as the following team.

Fig. 4 The ECHO Network Governance Structure (See proposal: Partnership Plan and Governance Structure)

Fig. 4 The ECHO Network Governance Structure (See proposal: Partnership Plan and Governance Structure)

Steering Committee Co-Chairs: UNBC + NH co- chairs (or delegates) will serve throughout the project.

  • Sandra Allison (BC), Northern Health

  • Margot Parkes (BC), UNBC, School of Health Sciences.

‘Launch Phase’ Steering Committee

  1. Lindsay Beck (BC), First Nations Health Authority

  2. Todd Arsenault (NB) NB Department of Health, and NBCEHC

  3. Chris Buse (BC), UNBC, Cumulative Impacts Research Consortium

  4. Lars Hallstrom (AB), U. Alberta, Dept of Resource Economics and Env. Sociology

  5. Henry Harder (BC), UNBC, School of Health Sciences

  6. Raissa Marks (NB), NBEN and NB. Children's Env. Health Collaborative

  7. Sarah Skinner (AB), Battle River Watershed Alliance

  8. Céline Surette (NB), U. de Moncton, Dept. Chemistry and Biochemistry

  9. Tim Takaro (BC), SFU, Faculty of Health Science

  10. Jennifer Vigano (BC), British Columbia Ministry of Environment

  11. Oceania 'rep': members from the Oceania ‘region’ have agreed to share this SC ‘seat’.

We anticipate ongoing succession and turn-over within the SC throughout the coming 5 years.

Most SC members will serve for a minimum term of 18 months, but may rotate off the SC within that time, so long as an alternative designate has been confirmed. It is therefore anticipated that the ‘launch phase’ SC will serve for ~1-2 years, with active recruitment and turnover throughout the coming months and years. So, we will be actively seeking new SC members. Let us know you are interested in contributing!

4. May launch meeting: Monday May 8 (evening) to Thursday May 11.

Many of you have received information about the launch meeting in Prince George, May 8-11 2017. We are looking forward to this important time to meet and plan with team members – and are delighted to gather team members from each of the knowledge-user organisations across our four regional cases, our Principal Applicant team and many of our Co-Applicants. Although our budget does not extend to involve all members of the team (particularly, those listed as ‘Collaborators’), we are looking forward to connecting with several project collaborators from northern BC during our launch meeting.

A CIHR Team Grant, in partnership with: Battle River Watershed Alliance, Canadian Wildlife Health Consortium, First Nations Health Authority, New Brunswick Environmental Network, Simon Fraser University, University of Alberta, Université de Moncton, and organisations across Canada and in Australia, New Zealand and Hawai`i.

A draft agenda for the May launch meeting is being shared with the Steering Committee for feedback. Several key features of the May Launch meeting include:

  • May 8: An evening launch event at the Two Rivers Gallery – team members. UNBC and Northern Health partners will be invited, along with some key regional partners;

  • May 9: A full day of planning meetings at UNBC – factoring in time to vote in the BC election, and an evening event where we will engage other UNBC colleagues with ECHO activities.

  • May 10: We will spend a day of combined planning, workshops and site-visits focused on ECHO/Environment, Community, Health Observatory themes in the Nechako watershed. This will include interactions with project partners actively engaged in understand and respond to environment, community and health impacts of resource development, including Mayor and Council of District of Vanderhoof, School District 91, the Nechako Environment Water Stewardship Society, as well as regional industry and resource development players.

  • May 11: We will be back in Prince George focused on targeted planning activities with the team, and a particular focus on specific workplans, priority tasks, and Working Group activities.

    For those offsite, we will be in contact about options to connect virtually on May 9 and 11.

    5. Getting started...Other updates on the ECHO ‘launch phase’ includel regional cases are making plans to identify Regional Coordinators and Research Assistants.

    • Funding Transfer Agreements have been initiated with regional cases.

      o U. de Moncton Funding Transfer Agreement is signed – and the ‘cheque is in the mail’ (!)

      o SFU and U of Alberta are in progress, and should be completed shortly.

    • Working Groups are beginning to convene in advance of the May meeting, e.g: Working Groups

      on Research Design, Geospatial themes, Trainees and capacity building, etc.

    • ‘Foundational’/Phase I documents for UNBC Research Ethics Board approval are being

      developed with an eye to the upcoming May 4th deadlines.
      o These will be shared and discussed with the Steering Committee, in the coming weeks.

    • We are working on an overview/briefing document for the project that would include logos of all partner organisations. Please expect to hear from our team members about this.

      Echoes from across the ECHO Network. We hope our updates will features echoes/images/stories from across the team. This month’s photo pictures: Trumpeter Swans in the Nechako Agricultural belt on March 30: looking southwest in the general direction of the NewGold Mine and Kenney Dam.

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Alex MacDonald