Research may be the best way to combat Alzheimer’s disease but without qualified investigators to conduct treatment studies, we will have no meaningful breakthroughs.
Toronto Memory Program, Canada’s most active and experienced site for clinical treatment research in dementia, has decided to do something about the shortage of qualified investigators in our country. We believe that Canada could be contributing more substantially to treatment research and that Canadian patients should have access to the latest treatment opportunities.
With generous support from Pfizer and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, we have developed a unique training program that will allow a physician to gain the skills to lead a clinical research site like ours. The one year Investigator Fellowship is the first of its kind in North America and relies on a practical approach to investigator training. This unique educational program is made possible through the partnership of a proven clinical research site, a provincial charitable organization, and a leading pharmaceutical company combining their resources to address an urgent health care need.
The numbers of qualified investigators in Canada have dwindled over the past 10 years due to attrition as well as the increasing cost and sheer complexity of conducting dementia treatment trials. A qualified investigator is responsible for everything that goes on in a research site including the medical care, protection of all research subjects and the quality of all research information being produced. Such responsibility requires a unique skill set that cannot be acquired from textbooks or through standard medical training. It is only by working alongside an experienced team in an active research setting that one can acquire the skills required for the demanding role of qualified investigator.
People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will benefit significantly from this type of fellowship. By increasing the number of qualified investigators, there will be more opportunities for Canadians to access cutting edge treatments.
It is exciting to turn our site’s 17 years of research experience into a training ground for future colleagues who will help make a difference for Alzheimer’s disease research in Canada. We are immensely grateful to both Pfizer and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario for their strong endorsement of this valuable fellowship program.
Dr. Sharon Cohen
Medical Director and Qualified Investigator
Toronto Memory Program