Nearly 40 years ago, the founders of the Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons sought to ensure that every province had highly skilled surgeons providing world class care to patients with colorectal diseases. A parallel goal was to foster and support high quality scientific research in our field. In 2007, the ‘Visioning Task Force’ formalized the goals of the CSCRS, and research, particularly collaborative, was a top priority. We have certainly flourished in this regard, and top notch colorectal surgery research is being conducted in every major academic centre in Canada as well as a fast-growing number of community sites.
Aside from the unusual circumstances of 2020, the CSCRS have held annual research symposia at the Canadian Surgery, and competition for both podium and poster presentation slots is fierce. As a result, the projects presented are of extremely high quality, and naming a winner is challenging. The sessions are always well-attended and the discussion is lively. In recent years, immediately following the research symposium we have held the Clinical Trials Network meeting, where opportunities for multi-centre national studies are presented. As the colorectal surgery community in Canada is small and tightly-knit, many fantastic collaborations have arisen as a result.
Since 2008, the CSCRS has held a research grant competition, and has awarded nearly a quarter million dollars to fund nearly 20 studies. We always have a huge number of submissions every year for these grants, and the winners present their projects at the annual CSCRS research dinner, a major highlight of the CSF for our members. In recent years we have developed a standardized method of judging these submissions, with ways to avoid conflict of interest, uniform and systematic criteria for evaluation, and a minimum of 3 reviews each, so we are confident that the best projects get funded every year (though the decisions are hard to make). Even without a CSF in 2020, we were able to award two fantastic proposals, showing just how innovative Canadian colorectal surgery research has become:
Interactive Online Informational and Peer Support Application for Patients with Low Anterior Resection Syndrome: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial
Dr. Jenny Moon & Dr. Marylise Boutros, McGill University
The Effect of Preoperative Very Low Energy Diet on Mesorectal Volume in Rectal Cancer Patients: A Prospective Pilot Study
Dr. Tyler McKechnie & Dr. Cagla Eskicioglu, McMaster University
We are particularly grateful to MD Financial Management for a new partnership to provide funding for these projects; it simply would not be possible to award these grants without them and we look forward to their ongoing support.
We want to single out the CSCRS members over the years who have generously donated their time and expertise to reviewing abstracts for posters and podium presentations, for judging papers, and for reviewing research submissions - thank you!
Finally, we wish to congratulate all of the researchers - students, residents, fellows and staff surgeons - who come up with some truly innovative ideas for research and then transform them into some exceptional studies. We look forward to supporting even more of you in the future. The founders would be incredibly proud.
Dr. Manoj J. Raval
Chair, CSCRS Research Committee
This research grant is made possible by the support of MD Financial Management