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The Council / Le Conseil

A Charter for the Future

The members of the Boards are the founding members of the Vision Health Research Council. It is through their support and encouragement that the Council emerged from the Sherbrooke Foundation. It will be necessary for its very survival that a functional and self regenerating structure be given. This new charter will have to respect VHRC's Mission and be representative of all scientific disciplines, Institutions and Professions of all parts of the country. All possible models will be considered. Members are welcome to participate.

Our Mission
Our Objectives and Priorities
The New President
Provisional Scientific Advisory Board

Our Mission

Canada has created over the last few decades, with the help of  the Medical Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and other public and private support, a broad array of competencies in vision health research. It is now time to focus those efforts, to better coordinate its scientists, and to develop more collaborative projects, in order to establish an integrated research community capable of responding to the expanding health research needs of Canadian society.

The Council  offers the opportunity to bring together a large and powerful group of investigators and focus their energies on the health priorities that will face this country in the decades ahead. The investigators exist; the priorities can be identified. What is needed now is the will to identify Canada's vision health services as a priority for the 21st century.

The VHRC is a private foundation devoted to the promotion of research in vision health. It presents the work and opinions of  the canadian investigators of all disciplines, fields and aspects of science and medicine related to vision. 

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Objectives and Priorities

The objectives of the Vision Health Research Council are: 

  • To link, focus, and expand in a concerted way Canada's research effort in vision health. 
  • To achieve a significant advance toward reducing the impact of vision health problems on Canadian society. 

Our goals are:

  • To see vision established as a health priority in Canada.
  • To create a world-class environment for vision health research.
  • To reduce the impact of vision loss in Canada, by:
    • Developing collaborative research, targeted at prevalent and significant vision health problems. 
    • Promoting partnerships with a variety of sectors and organizations to address and reduce the impact of vision health problems.
    • Promoting  and expanding technological transfer. 

Expected Results for Canadians
This will:

  • Maintain and consolidate a national critical mass of vision health investigators, and expand the research effort in vision health in Canada 
  • Develop a unified approach to vision health needs and research programs addressing them, by: 
    • linking more closely basic science and clinical investigation; 
    • furthering multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to vision health research.

The mission  will be to support research, training, and other programs in vision health.  It will promote research and the development of research in vision health, facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, and provide coordination to the national vision health research effort.  The Institute will represent the consortium of researchers involved in vision health research across the country. 

All financial means will be applied to research, training, interactions, communications, international liaisons, and collaboration with industry. 

This will provide an academic-based forum to discuss perspectives on vision health and develop a collective vision and consensus.  It will also develop unifying strategies,  thus providing for more effective management of funding for vision health research. 

The VHRC will  provide a point of convergence for all organizations involved in vision health research.  It will interface with other organizations interested in and related to vision research and support, collaborate with, and advise other organizations pursuing similar objectives.  It will act as a source of information about vision and vision health, disseminating vision health information and  publicizing the impact of vision disease and impairment and the benefits of vision health research. 

The VHRC will help bridge the gap between industry and academia, while addressing the relationship and timing between concept and product.

Coordinating with Vision Health Stakeholders
VHRC is a scientific organisation. It will help in all possible ways in the public advocacy for Vision Health and Research and will certainly benefit from these associations. It must by all means however rely on powerfull institutions like the Canadian Institute for the Blind, the Baker Foundation, the RP Research Foundation and all other similar Institutions.

Its specific function will be to provide support and counselling in Researcg and Scientific matters. It appreciates its role on the Board of the new National Coalition for Vision Health (NCVH) and could very well act as its Scientific and Research arm if this is wecome.

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A Change of the Guard
Dr. Martin J. Steinbach New
President of the Vision Health Research Council

Dr. Martin Steinbach
  • Professor of Psychology and Biology, Atkinson College and Faculty of Science, York University
  • Senior Scientist, Department of Ophthalmology,  Hospital for Sick Children
  • Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Toronto
  • Staff Scientist, Department of Ophthalmology, Toronto Western Hospital
  • Director of Research, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Toronto
  • Director, Eye Research Institute of Canada. (Recently renamed Vision Science Research Program)
  • Professor, Institute of Medical Science, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto
  • Distinguished Research Professor, York University 
  • President, Vision Health Research Council of Canada

Dr. Steinbach was born in New York and became a Canadian citizen in 1988. He graduated with a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 at which time he became  Research Associate and Special Lecturer at the Department of Psychology of York University. He rose quickly through the ranks and in 1981 he became Professor of Psychology and Biology at the  Atkinson College and Faculty of Science of York University  and served as Chairman of the Department of Psychology from 1976 to 1979. He was a Founding Member of the Human Performance Laboratory at the  Institute for Space and Terrestrial Sciences and also a Founding Member of the Centre for Vision Research at York.

During those years he was exposed to an experience that deeply influenced him.  He was, in 1974 and 75, Fellow in Strabismus Research at the  Smith-Kettlewell Institute of Visual Sciences in San Francisco. There, Professor Jampolsky was the mediator to a deep understanding of the relationships between clinical and basic sciences that reoriented his whole career.

In 1981 he accepted his first clinical appointment at the University of Toronto as Visiting Research Professor in the  Department of Ophthalmology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. There followed a suite of increasing responsibilities: Senior Scientist, Department of Ophthalmology;  Professor of Ophthalmology;  Staff Scientist, Department of Ophthalmology, Toronto Western Hospital; Director of Research, Department of Ophthalmology and finally, Professor at the Institute of Medical Science, School of Graduate Studies.

From 1984 to 1990 he was involved in the Scientific Planning Committee of the Eye Research Institute of Canada of which he became the Interim Director in 1990,  Associate Director and finally Director from 1997 on.  The Eye Research Institute of Canada was renamed Vision Science Research Program in 1999.

As a scientist his influence has been considerable. He has trained numerous young scientists. His work has been supported by all major Granting Agencies: the National Research Council, the Medical Research Council of Canada, the Natural  Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada and the National Eye Institute of  the  National Institutes of Health, U.S.A.  Some 70 publications, 150 scientific presentations and colloquia, 10 book chapters and proceedings and 20 symposia as organiser or participant barely cover his scientific production.

He has been a brilliant ambassador for Canadian Science in the United States and abroad. He was Trustee of the American Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) from 1981 to 1986 and Vice-President in 1985. 

Dr. Steinbach became intimately associated with the Vision Health Research Council from the outset in 1997 as a Founding member and Vice-President. He travelled across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver to promote VHRC's mission and organised meetings of Canadian vision investigators at ARVO.

He has been granted the most prestigious lifetime award of Distinguished Research Professor of York University, an honour bestowed to a very limited number of persons. He in turn is honouring the Vision Health Research Council of Canada by gallantly accepting its Presidency. 

Written by Dr. Jean Real Brunette.

For more information on Dr. Steinbach:
York University Web site:
Vision Science Research Website, University of Toronto:

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Provisional Scientific Advisory Board

People on this Board have agreed to serve for the period of time needed to establish the Vision Health Research Council as a representative body, replacing the former initial structure created by the Sherbrooke Symposium – Vision Health Research Council Foundation. It is the first step in making VHRC become truly democratic by having an open nomination process that includes all of the vision health scientists across Canada.

The 36 people on this list were nominated initially by a steering committee of 10 who met in Montreal in October 2001. The list was modified following a larger meeting of the VHRC in June 2002 in Toronto.

VHRC Provisional Trustees
Bobier W. (Waterloo)#*
Brownstein S. (Ottawa)
Brunette I. (Montreal)#*
Brunette J.R. (Sherbrooke)#*
Campbell M. (Waterloo)#
Chauhan B. (Dalhousie)#
Chemtob S. (Montreal)
Cruess A. (Queen’s)#
DiPolo A. (Montreal)
Faubert J. (Montreal)#
Gallie B. (Toronto)#
Germain L. (St-Foy)#
Goodale M. (Western)#
Gresset J. (Montreal)
Griffith M. (Ottawa)#
Hess R. (McGill)
Heon E. (Toronto)#
Hurwitz J. (Toronto)#
Jackson B. (Ottawa)*
Lachapelle P. (Montreal)
LeBlanc R. (Dalhousie)#*
Maberly D. (UBC)
MacDonald I. (Edmonton)#
Matsubara J. (UBC)#*
Mikelberg F. (UBC)#
Molday R. (UBC)
Persaud D. (Dalhousie)#
Rootman J. (UBC)
Sharma S. (Queen’s)#
Sharpe J. (Toronto)
Simonet P. (Montreal)#
Sivak J. (Waterloo)
Steinbach M. (York, Toronto)#*
Stell W. (Calgary)#
Strong G. (Waterloo)#
Walter M. (Alberta)#
# present at June 2nd, 2002 meeting in Toronto
* member of the executive

The former board of governors and trustees of VHRC are listed in the archives.

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