Partnering on health research is not a new idea. To oversimplify the concept, all you need are two or more organizations with dollars to invest in a common goal of preventing, diagnosing, treating or even curing a disease. A simple transaction of combining agency, donor, or industry dollars. It often equates to “leveraging” or making your money go further. The number of partnership or leveraged dollars is often a key performance indicator for most research funding organizations. To be able to tell the story of how you were able to double an investment and have a greater impact goes a long way when communicating with governments, boards and donors. However, a research funding partnership is more than doubling one’s dollars to put towards a common goal, it is an investment in hope and unwavering belief that together more can be achieved to advance the health outcomes of those we serve.
There are many factors driving successful partnerships forward, and below, Patrick Odnokon, CEO for Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and Susan Cron, President & CEO of The Lung Association, Saskatchewan (LAS) share their thinking about what is essential to developing effective relationships that last.
Each partner must bring a commitment or passion for a cause
SHRF has a commitment to invest in the best health research that is aligned with the needs of the province. An organization known for a passion for process and measuring the impact of the research.
LAS is committed to improving the lung health of our province by providing programs, education, training, treatment and research towards improving respiratory health.
When we can bring our passions together and support activities that are mutually beneficial, we can have a greater impact on the common vision. We believe the collaboration between SHRF and LAS will inspire and motivate the research community and our government and health system stakeholders about what can be accomplished together.
Each partner must bring complementary strengths
Not many organizations possess the resources and capacity to work in a silo and accomplish their goals alone. That’s why it is important to find others who possess complementary strengths. The benefit of working with partners is learning about how they do business and the strength and capacity existing within their organization.
LAS is the province’s oldest health charity. With a long history of uniting a community of passionate physicians, scientists, clinicians, educators, administrators, volunteers and donors to support lung health initiatives the organization is a go-to resource for patients and caregivers.
SHRF has a reputation for running effective, peer reviewed competitions; measuring and evaluating the outcomes and impact of the research that SHRF funds, communicating stories of impact; and being a trusted partner.
When we can lean on each others’ strengths, see each other’s worth and significance, we can accelerate our success and have a greater impact.
Each partner must bring a set of shared values
Organizations with shared values tend to have positive long-standing relationships. Rooted in integrity and our collective reputation for excellence, both organizations hold themselves accountable to their stakeholders, enabling us to adapt and collaborate in supporting health research that matters to Saskatchewan. Our shared values of accountability, adaptability, collaboration, excellence and integrity represent a vital part of our partnership and exemplify our fundamental beliefs and guiding principles for how we work with each other and all stakeholders.
We see each other as necessary equals and respect our differences, we support innovative and inventive health research and share the same vision.
When we can bring these values to the table and allow them to guide our efforts, we can trust the actions of our partners will benefit our common goals. Without these shared values, the rest is not possible.
Each partner will grow and learn from the other
Learning is not limited to our researchers, organizations learn and grow every day. By sharing our organizational values, practices, conventions and processes we will each improve, develop knowledge and expertise and grow our organizational strengths and capacity. Continuous learning together will help our understanding of the health care needs in Saskatchewan and provide us with more and better opportunities to improve quality of life and health outcomes for everyone.
Successful partnerships need to go beyond the dollars invested. Bringing together a commitment or passion for a cause, complementary strengths, working from a place of shared values and learning from each other provides the foundation for a successful partnership and lasting relationship between two organizations. These are the elements that SHRF and LAS bring together to work towards a healthier province for us all.
As the famous saying goes “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
We believe together we can.
Patrick Odnokon, CEO Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation and
Susan Cron, CEO and President, The Lung Association, Saskatchewan