Sleep scientists awake to Vancouver’s life sciences appeal

Vancouver has hosted the largest sleep meeting ever held, with a record-breaking 3,580 attendees registered for the recent World Sleep 2019.

Organised by the World Sleep Society in collaboration with the Canadian Sleep Society, the biennial event brought sleep specialists from more than 75 countries to the Vancouver Convention Centre. Held September 20 – 25, 2019, it is expected to be worth some $17 million in direct spending to the Vancouver economy.

Its aim was to advance current medical and scientific thinking as well as promote awareness around sleep health and disorders. Sleep is critical to leading a healthy lifestyle, and understanding sleep health is immensely relevant to millions of people worldwide who suffer from related disorders, often without knowing.

John Fleetham, MD, Vice-President (Clinical), Canadian Sleep Society, says: “Vancouver is internationally-recognised for its contributions to the field of sleep, so it is very exciting to be hosting this year’s World Sleep Congress and inviting experts from around the world to our city to advance our knowledge even further.”

Fleetham is the founder and Co-Director of the esteemed Vancouver Acute Sleep Disorder Program and a UBC Professor of Medicine.

The University of British Columbia is the largest academic Life Sciences institute in Canada, helping drive Vancouver’s reputation for excellence in a wide-ranging variety of health sciences – and attracting major conferences in these fields.

Ty Speer, President and CEO, Tourism Vancouver, says: “Medical meetings are an important part of Vancouver’s convention industry. Vancouver has a robust health and wellness culture and attracting a convention like World Sleep 2019 is a natural fit for the city that underscores both our draw as a premier global meetings destination and the reputation of our local medical community.”

Canada’s core of sleep research also includes the University of Ottawa’s Sleep Research Laboratory, the Centre for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, and the Sleep Research Center at Université Laval in Québec.

Dr. Charles Morin, current President of the World Sleep Society, says World Sleep 2019 was the largest international sleep meeting ever held, showcasing “some of the best sleep researchers in the world, and presenting new scientific findings that will benefit both health care practitioners and the general public”.

Morin, a pioneer in the development and validation of psychological approaches for the management of insomnia, is currently Professor of Psychology and Director of Université Laval’s Sleep Research Centre. He was the first-ever recipient of the Distinguished Lecturer Award in Sleep Sciences From The Canadian Institutes Of Health Research – Institute Of Circulatory And Respiratory Health and the Canadian Sleep Society. He received the award at the Opening Ceremony of World Sleep 2019, where he also gave a keynote lecture as part of the scientific programme.

This year’s World Sleep event also featured a learning and awareness component which was free to attend to the general public, Sleep Expo 2019. Local visitors were able to engage with international experts to increase their understanding of sleep health and how to recognise sleep disorders that may be impacting their own lives.

Craig Lehto, General Manager, Vancouver Convention Centre, adds: “As a certified Healthy Venue, the Vancouver Convention Centre greatly values opportunities to partner with events such as World Sleep 2019 that are leading the advancement of medical science and that have immense impact on such a critical aspect of healthy living.”

(via Business Events Canada, Canadian Sleep Society, Vancouver Convention Centre)

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