Posted: May 31, 2024

May 31, 2024 – Kitchener, ON – Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s General Hospital, and the University of Waterloo, are pleased to announce the launch of the Care Next Coalition.

This new partnership will align the efforts of the Hospitals and the University to increase the readiness of our local healthcare system to support research and innovation. It will bring clinicians, researchers, and entrepreneurs together to create educational programming, to test drive technological advances and to create integrated care systems that will reach people where they are. The Coalition will harness the strength of the Region’s public institutions to improve patient experience, improve health outcomes, and transform the health care system locally.

“It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare in our Region,” said Mark Fam, President of St. Mary’s General Hospital. “There are so many opportunities in how we show up to provide hospital health care services for our communities, and our Hospitals, together with the University of Waterloo, are ready to respond. The Coalition will equip our Region to emerge as a health innovation centre, ensuring the best possible experience for the communities we serve and the health care professionals who choose to work here.”

“The Care Next Coalition is a new way for us to pool resources and expertise to attract talent to design, develop and deliver innovative health services in our Region,” said Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “We need to continue to innovate to meet the diverse and growing needs of the people we serve. I’m excited by the potential of the Coalition to engage new ecosystem partners and build a strong pipeline of new ideas that can enter into healthcare focused trials in our own communities.”

To deliver on this work, Grand River, St. Mary’s, and the University are recruiting a Joint Vice-President and Chief Health Innovation Officer. This new role, along with the overall mission of the Coalition, aligns with the Hospitals’ work to build a new innovation health campus in the Region. The Hospitals’ innovation work is in part made possible through the generosity of a legacy gift from the estate of Ralph and Dorothy Kraft. Community builders, innovators, and entrepreneurs, the Krafts’ transformational gift to both Grand River and St. Mary’s is helping drive innovation-focused work. “Grand River Hospital is working to deliver on our ambitious aim of fostering a world-class healthcare system supporting healthier lives for all in our communities,” said Ron Gagnon, President and CEO, Grand River Hospital. “Core pillars of this work are partnerships and innovation, and the Care Next Coalition is evidence of work in these areas. Through this Coalition, our goal is to promote innovation education and experimentation and attract healthcare entrepreneurs to the Region. In rooting this work in a clinical, as opposed to academic, setting, we’re able to streamline processes and enable clinicians and other healthcare team members in health innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Details regarding the new Joint Vice-President and Chief Health Innovation Officer can be found at The Care Next Coalition seeks to leverage innovation to provide more personalized, convenient and accessible patient-centric healthcare experiences through cost-effective solutions designed to enhance operational efficiency. Ultimately, the aim of the Coalition is a better Regional hospital healthcare system that improves patient health outcomes.

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Media Contact

Victoria Ott, Integrated Director, Strategic Engagement Grand River Hospital & St. Mary’s General Hospital | 519-588-4687

Rebecca Elming, Director, Media Relations University of Waterloo| 647-459-8313

About Grand River Hospital

Grand River Hospital is building a world-class health system for all in the communities we serve. One of Ontario’s largest community teaching hospitals, we’re delivering exceptional, patient-focused quality care by a team of dedicated healthcare workers and volunteers. Located in one of the province’s most diverse and rapidly growing regions, we provide services and support to more than 840,000 residents of Waterloo Region and Guelph Wellington at our two campuses (KW and Freeport) and satellite locations. Driven by innovation, we’re proud of our partnerships and collaborations with health system partners, our region’s academic and innovation communities, and diverse community partners. | Twitter and Instagram @grhospitalkw | YouTube: griverhosp | Facebook and Linkedin: Grand River Hospital

About St. Mary’s General Hospital

Located in the heart of Kitchener, St. Mary’s is home to the Regional Cardiac Centre, Regional Chest Program and Regional Eye Program. As leaders in our field recognized globally for world-class, innovative healthcare, our vision of “Inspiring Excellence. Healthier Together” is not just about our approach to patient-centred care, it’s also about our commitment to our staff.

Celebrating a century of care this year, St. Mary’s provides compassionate care to our community serving over 1.4 residents locally and beyond each year. We are the second-largest acute care hospital in the St. Joseph’s Health System with a team of over 2,000 staff, physicians and volunteers dedicated to ensuring patients receive the highest-quality care possible. Learn more about Our Mission, Values & History

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is a leading global innovation hub that drives economic and social prosperity for Canada and the world. With more than 41,000 students, we are home to the world's largest co-op education talent pipeline, to game-changing research and technology, and to an unmatched entrepreneurial culture. Together, these create partnerships and solutions to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Find out more at