Professorship funding drives world-class respiratory research team

Professorship funding drives world-class respiratory research team


New Westminster, B.C. – {November 14, 2019} – Funding from the TB Vets Charitable Foundation has helped a Royal Columbian Hospital critical care physician build a team of respiratory researchers who are exploring how to deliver better care to patients on mechanical ventilation.

Dr. Steve Reynolds, who holds the TB Vets Charitable Foundation Professorship in Critical Care at Simon Fraser University, has over the last three years brought together four PhD students and a master’s student to work on research efforts.

“For critically ill or injured patients, mechanical ventilation can be a lifesaving intervention,” notes Dr. Reynolds. “However, it comes with its own risks and complications. With our research, we are trying to push the envelope and find ways to prevent the potential harms associated with breathing machines.”

The research team includes Karl Fernandez and Liz Rohrs, two Royal Columbian respiratory therapists who are among the first in their profession in the country to be pursuing their PhDs. Cardiac nurse Michelle Nicholas is doing the same. Thiago Bassi, a neurosurgeon from Brazil, is also working on his PhD, and SFU student Marlena Ornowska has joined as a master’s student. Suzette Willems is clinical research coordinator.

A partnership between the TB Vets and Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation is providing $250,000 over five years to fund the professorship, including $200,000 from TB Vets.

“Research is at the core of the fight for respiratory care, which has been our mission for more than 75 years,” says TB Vets Charitable Foundation Executive Director Kandys Merola. “We are grateful to our donors for the opportunity to support the work of Dr. Reynolds and his team.”

“We have made it a priority to support the work of those at Royal Columbian who demonstrate a strong interest in research,” says Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation President and CEO Jeff Norris. “Through their efforts, Dr. Reynolds and his team are helping to build a strong research culture at Royal Columbian.

Where BC Fights

As BC’s leading critical care hospital, one in three British Columbians rely on Royal Columbian Hospital. This is where BC fights for hope, and for life. We are the only hospital in BC with trauma, cardiac, neurosciences, high-risk maternity and neonatal intensive care on one site. We look after some of the most seriously ill and injured patients, and we do it with the support of donors like you.

Since 1978, donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation have helped fund priority equipment needs, facility enhancements, research, education and innovation at Royal Columbian Hospital. rchfoundation.com