Facilitating Covid-19 Know-How exchanges between Switzerland and Canada
In early February, just weeks before the Covid-19 outbreak hit Canada in full force, the Science Counselor had organized a study tour in Toronto for the Swiss Ambassador in order to visit leading research institutions and to introduce her to established contacts as well as interesting leads. As part of the program, a meeting with Dr. Peter Jüni, Director of the Applied Health Research Centre (AHRC) at St. Michael’s Hospital and Professor at the University of Toronto allowed for a better understanding of the impending challenges of the corona crisis from an epidemiological perspective. As the year went on, the government of Ontario called upon Professor Jüni to become Scientific Director of the Ontario Covid-19 Science Advisory Table. This group of scientific experts and health system leaders has been evaluating the situation, reporting on emerging evidence pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic and informing about Ontario’s response. Thanks to the previous collaboration with Professor Jüni for a Swiss-Canadian Innovation Day and the aforementioned visit in February, a podcast was recorded in July with him and Prof. Marcel Tanner, the latter being a member of the Swiss Covid-19 Task Force. The podcast shed a comparative light on Swiss and Canadian responses to Covid-19. Professor Jüni, who continues to be frequently quoted in Canadian and Swiss media outlets, remains an important contact partner of the Embassy to get first-hand insights into current health policy trends in Canada, and to better understand the responses of the province of Ontario to the corona crisis.
While in Toronto, the Ambassador was also introduced to the principal and senior fellows of Massey College, a highly renowned graduate college in the heart of the University of Toronto, which is recognized nationwide for the annual Massey Lectures. A presentation by the Ambassador entitled “Switzerland- a unicorn in the global village” was very positively received and plans are in place to continue the collaboration with this renowned institution.