Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the University of Calgary’s Ward of the 21st Century (W21C) Research and Innovation Centre yesterday, where they experienced some of the world’s most advanced approaches to health research, education and technology.
“The Royal Couple were intrigued by the cutting-edge health practices and technologies being developed at our W21C Research and Innovation Centre,” said Elizabeth Cannon, President, University of Calgary, who led the Duke and Duchess through their tour of the facility. “We are honoured to be the only university on Their Royal Highnesses’ tour of Canada, and what they saw here was unique. The University of Calgary is one of Canada’s top research universities, and we were thrilled to showcase the work we are doing to help define the future of health and patient care.”
The Duke, who is a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force, was shown several fascinating new healthcare tools including an eye-tracking system used to monitor and improve tasks performed by health care providers; a “wireless bandage” that continuously monitors core body temperature; a human patient simulator who can help simulate real-world health care scenarios; a pressure monitoring pad to help prevent bed sores; and a new computer keyboard designed for easy cleaning and sterilization in hospital settings.
The Royal visit lasted nearly three-quarters of an hour and provided researchers and healthcare professionals an opportunity to meet Their Royal Highnesses, and explain their ground-breaking research and technology development work.
“There’s really no other place in the world with a living laboratory like ours,” said Dr. William Ghali, director of the Calgary Institute for Population and Public Health and co-director of the research program at W21C. “Our research is aimed at improving patient safety and quality of care, which are universal concerns. As such, the progress made here in Calgary could have lasting impacts to people all over the world.”
University of Calgary Masters graduate Elise Teteris provided a demonstration of research in the centre’s Healthcare Human Factors and Simulation Laboratory and said she was impressed by Their Royal Highnesses’ interest in the subject.
“The Royal Couple seemed really engaged in our demonstration of new healthcare technology. It shows that they have a real investment in the future.”
At the conclusion of their visit, the Royal Couple were presented with commemorative gifts as tokens of the university’s thanks for Their Royal Highnesses’ interest in the work of the University of Calgary. Chancellor Jim Dinning presented His Royal Highness with a (black on black) melton cloth and leather bomber jacket embossed with the University of Calgary’s Coat of Arms. Board of Governors Chair Doug Black presented Her Royal Highness with a soapstone carving of a polar bear by the Inuit artist Johnny Kakutuk. The people of the north carve animals to bring good luck and the polar bear is a true symbol of Canada’s North.