A vision for the future of ICES Western: Q&A with Dr. Kristin Clemens

Dr. Kristin Clemens has been selected as the new Site Director for ICES Western, the London, Ontario division of a province-wide non-profit focused on using health-related data to evaluate outcomes. ICES Western is a collaborative initiative between Lawson Health Research Institute, Western University, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

Dr. Clemens is a Scientist at Lawson and an Endocrinologist at St. Joseph’s. She is also an Assistant Professor in epidemiology and biostatistics at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Dr. Clemens recently sat down to discuss the impact of the work being done through ICES Western and her hopes for the future.

Dr. Kristin Clemens

1.    What are you most excited for as ICES Western’s new site director?

I get to continue to work closely with an amazing group of ICES Western staff and scientists. ICES Western is already a well-oiled machine and home to scientific hubs of research in neurological health, homelessness and socioeconomic disparities, surgery, mental health, kidney disease and more. As a leader, I will not only be able to help harness some of our existing strengths, but have a chance to continue to move our institution forward. For example, Dr. Amit Garg (outgoing Site Director) will be advancing new and innovative randomized controlled trials in London, and ICES Western's going to continue to play a major role in that. There is so much more potential for innovation using our data sources; I think it's going to be a really exciting next few years for us.

2.    Why did you choose to become involved with ICES Western?

I have been with ICES for about 14 years. I have lived it as an ICES trainee as a Medical Student and Resident/Fellow and became an ICES Adjunct Scientist after completing the inaugural ICES Faculty Scholars program hosted by ICES Western. I became more and more engaged with the community as a member of local ICES committees and then started to lead some of the larger research programs at ICES Western. It was the perfect time and really a natural fit for me to embark on a new leadership journey with the institution.

3.    What do you hope to bring to your new position?

I'm an enabling and collaborative researcher and have been fortunate to work with multidisciplinary teams of scientists from across Western and Lawson. What I hope to do is not only support existing ICES staff, scientists, and initiatives, but also attract new researchers to the institution. I think London, Ontario, is such an incredible city for academia. I really want to use my collaborative skills and strong relationships to try to grow and expand our reach.

4.    Has the work at ICES played a role in your research?

Yes, absolutely. My clinical and research focus has been on improving the care and outcomes of patients who live with complex comorbidities and disparities. ICES research allows us to focus on real-world gaps in care in Ontario and it gives us an opportunity to study people and patients who have not been able to participate in randomized trials or traditional research studies. 

5.    What impact does the work at ICES have on research being done in Ontario and across Canada?

ICES is home to one of the world's largest collections of administrative data sets that contain everything from hospital visits and physician encounters to use of medications and long-term care. We also have the unique ability to link data from national surveys or existing cohorts with administrative data. Because of this, ICES is very much at the forefront of improving care and quality for all Ontarians. Our research is shared internationally with both academics and non-academics, and it has changed practice and policy; it's an extremely impactful organization.

6.    What do you see in the future for the organization?

I think in the future we will continue to do what we're already great at, like studying the use of health services and existing hubs of research, but also find ways to use our rich data sources, methods and talented staff to really innovate and advance research in London. With new collaborations in the city, we can also continue to grow and contribute.

7.    What is the most important thing people should know about ICES?

ICES Western is here for London’s community of researchers, health care providers and decision makers. We have more than 20 scientists and dozens of highly qualified staff who are passionate about advancing high-quality, impactful work. ICES Western is a valuable resource for the community.

Media Contact
Amanda Taccone

Communications Consultant & External Relations 
Lawson Health Research Institute
T: 519-685-8500 ext. ext. 64059
C: 226-919-4748