Indigenous peoples launch imaging clinic
December 9, 2020
SASKATOON – JSCN Medical Clinic LP Partners, made up of James Smith Cree Nation (JSCN) and the DR Links Holdings Inc., together with Siemens Healthineers Canada, celebrated the opening of the National Medical Imaging Clinic and Education and Research Centre in Market Mall, Saskatoon last month.
The new clinic will provide medical imaging services for patients such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computer Tomography (CT), X-rays, and ultrasound. The National Medical Imaging Clinic’s Education and Research Centre, operating out of the same facility, will pioneer research into medical imaging techniques in partnership with Canada-wide educational institutions and Siemens Healthineers, and work to provide access to educational opportunities for students across Canada.
The National Medical Imaging Clinic and Education and Research Centre is a partnership between the James Smith Cree Nation and DR Links Holdings Inc. and will employ around 15 full time and 20 part time staff. The facility has one MRI, one CT and one X-ray machine purchased from Siemens Healthineers. The clinic also offers ultrasound scanning with five machines on hand to serve Saskatoon and patients across the province of Saskatchewan.
Of specific note is the purchase of the latest generation Siemens Healthineers 3 Tesla (3T) MRI system, the MAGNETOM Vida. This system is the first 3T MRI scanner with BioMatrix technology, enabling the system to adapt to the unique characteristics of each patient it scans, while producing consistent, high quality images.
The features of this system result in fewer rescans, predictable scheduling and standardized, personalized scans for high-end clinical routine as well as for clinical research purposes. This is the latest and most advanced 3T MRI in the province.
In addition to providing much needed diagnostic services in Saskatoon and the Province of Saskatchewan, the National Medical Imaging Clinic will also serve as a research and development centre providing educational and research development opportunities to its partners across Canada.
“Working with the James Smith Cree Nation, the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, NAIT and Michener Institute, and Siemens Healthineers, we will collaborate on several research projects in medical imaging to further knowledge and ensure the availability of the latest technology across Canada,” said Dragan Racic, president and CEO, National Medical Imaging Clinic and Education and Research Centre.
“This collaboration also involves a major educational component to use the newly purchased diagnostic imaging systems to train and educate current and future users in the area of medical imaging, providing continuing education and professional development programs for practitioners. We hope we can inspire youth from the James Smith Cree Nation and other Indigenous partners in Saskatchewan and Canada-wide to pursue post-secondary education and choose jobs in the health sciences fields, focusing on medical imaging.”
“This is a first for Siemens Healthineers working so closely with an Indigenous group in Canada,” said Sevket On, vice president, zone general manager, Canada. “We hope the purchase of the MRI, CT and X-ray systems will help provide enhanced medical imaging services and improved health outcomes for the local communities the clinic will serve. The research aspect of our engagement with James Smith Cree Nation and the National Medical Imaging Clinic and Education and Research Centre will afford increased opportunities to address specific health needs for local people, and will help focused research that addresses Indigenous health. By bringing different parties together, real impact can be realized. We are very much looking forward to working with all involved.”
“The National Medical Imaging Clinic and Education and Research Centre is a first of its kind in terms of providing medical imaging clinical services and at the same time offering educational and research opportunities,” said Dragan Racic. “By working and sharing our resources with the international research and education community, and being able to call upon the insights and expertise of a global company like Siemens Healthineers, we will be able to research and collaborate on projects related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. By leveraging the technology in the imaging systems to diagnose patients, we will help aid the identification of the best treatment for our communities, hopefully leading to better health outcomes for the province as a whole, as well as providing additional access to diagnostic services.”
“I am overwhelmed and excited that this project is finalized and this medical imaging clinic will be opening its doors,” said Chief Wally Burns (pictured) of James Smith Cree Nation. “This is the first of its kind in Saskatchewan and the first ever investment made by a First Nations community in medical imaging in Saskatchewan.
“We are pleased that our workings and collaboration with the Government of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Health Authority is bringing benefits to the people of all Nations in the Province of Saskatchewan and across Canada,” continued Chief Wally Burns. “This is a truly different prospective and partnership which ensures together with the many partners involved, we can all move forward in the trust and reconciliation process.
“I would like to say big thanks to our education partners University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon, NAIT in Edmonton and Michener Institute in Toronto for believing in our team lead by Mr. Dragan Racic, president and CEO of JSCN Medical Clinic LP, and believing that this clinic will enhance education opportunities of indigenous youth and everyone and anyone else interested in a career in medical imaging.”