*From CSA media release
Leveraging the ambitious vision for human space exploration and the deep space healthcare needs of astronauts, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) wants to contribute to the transformation of remote healthcare delivery in Canada, empowering Canadians to receive equitable care in a culturally acceptable way, in their own homes and communities or in deep space.
The ingenuity and inspirational power of the space sector can be combined with the wisdom, resilience, and experience of remote healthcare providers to build a powerful and compelling case for working together to creatively solve shared challenges.
The CSA is studying the recommendations made by the Expert Group and the Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare that Canada should invest significantly in deep space autonomous healthcare, as a bold contribution to space exploration and as a means to develop national capacity in virtual healthcare for the benefit of all Canadians.
Leaders in remote healthcare such as Dr. Keith MacLellan and Dr. Ivar Mendez, as well as in Indigenous healthcare (Dr. Evan Adams, Dr. Valerie Gideon and Gail Turner), aging, biomedical innovation, academia and space healthcare were members of both groups, which were chaired by former CSA astronaut, Robert Thirsk. Canadian Astronaut David Saint Jacques, who recently completed a mission to the International Space Station, also had a key role. Prior to joining the CSA, David was a medical doctor and the Co-chief of Medicine at Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, Nunavik.
Why is the CSA asking for rural physicians’ collaboration? Although it may come as a surprise, there are common healthcare challenges faced by both astronauts in deep space and Canadians living in remote communities.
These challenges include limited availability of healthcare providers, on-site medical resources, and re-supply, as well as long travel times to definitive care. We want to collaborate with you to better understand and prioritize shared challenges and develop shared innovative solutions with a focus on autonomy and cultural safety.
Engagement and relationship building is an essential part of the CSA’s Health Beyond initiative. It is for this reason that we are reaching out to you today. With our industry partner, Output Services Inc., and the use of their platform, we want to promote a shared journey of continuous and transparent engagement by discovering and exploring the competencies, capabilities, equipment and technology that would be required to improve access to, and quality of, care closer to the community.
By sharing your valuable insights, experiences and ideas with members of SRPC, the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and the CSA, we can learn from each other and identify shared priorities that we can tackle together. The CSA will use the data gathered from this engagement initiative to better inform R&D initiatives going forward to ensure alignment with the needs of rural and remote communities and to make informed recommendations to Government about these synergies and the potential impact of investment in shared priorities.
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