20230411 072849

2023 04 11 | Host: Loredana Eisenhauer | Elaine Huesing of IMIA & Technation Canada

Loredana was lucky enough to have Elaine Huesing, CEO of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) and Executive Director of Technation Canada's Health division join us. These organizations - both member-based not for profit NGOs - share a focus on the advancement of information and technology in the healthcare space.

Elaine, a 30-year veteran in the field, walked Members through each organization's mandate, and in particular IMIA's global focus working in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations. She explained that while Technation is focused on the implementation and use of technology across Canada and serves as a conduit between governments (Federal and Provincial) and the vendor community, IMIA is more focused on the advancement of the research and knowledge-sharing regarding the use of the data and information the technologies collect, store, and create.

Using recent world-events like the Covid-19 pandemic, Elaine walked us through examples of where both organizations engaged across Canada, and globally. She went on to discuss her recent involvement with a UN Women Technology and Innovation Panel, and her emotional connection to the fact that 3.9 billion people globally - mostly women and children - have no access to the internet. This sheer fact impedes their ability to access information and services, and continues to limit their health & wellness. "These things we take for granted are not even available to half the world's population," she indicated. She further shared that similar to Rotary International interests, the work involved in health informatics looks at basic necessities that improve health and wellness such as access to clean water as they have a profound effect on the health of marginalized populations.

Elaine then explained that one of her personal passions in the field is "Personalized Medicine;" the ability to use our individual genetic profile to better predict future health issues, and optimize everything from nutrition to exercise to make us as healthy and happy, for as long as possible.

She concluded by describing Canada's leadership position as we embark on "the next frontier," healthcare in space. Through the Canadian Space Agency and with input of Canadian Health Tech company's efforts, Canada is helping frame what information and technologies will enable healthcare support to those brave individuals who lead us to the moon and beyond.

Loredana thanked Elaine and reminded Members that Elaine's work is another example of how, despite being in a small community like Vernon, we are making global change happen. And this is the core principal behind Rotary; working locally to improve things globally.