Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Health Promotion and Protection has been selected chair for the Provinces and Territories health meetings and co-chair of the Federal/Provincial/Territories meetings for the next two years. She begins both roles today, Sept. 14. “I am looking forward to playing this leadership role as we collaborate on important issues facing our health-care system,” said Ms. MacDonald. The health ministers agreed to work on common issues affecting provinces and territories, including the rising cost of pharmaceuticals, childhood obesity and accelerating research on liberation therapy for patients with multiple sclerosis. The ministers met Monday and today in St. John’s, N.L., and discussed the outcomes of the Council of Federation meetings in August and committed to work together to advance issues such as healthy living and the sustainability of the health care system. They also agreed to be aggressive about implementing voluntary sodium reduction targets. On potential medical trials for Canadians with multiple scleroisis, the health ministers discussed the Canadian Institutes of Health Research findings for the diagnosis and treatment of CCSVI. The ministers set up a working group to accelerate research on Liberation therapy and will report their findings on MS within a year. “As ministers of health, we are in complete agreement that we want to act as quickly as possible to get the expert advice we need to make informed decisions for MS patients,” said Ms. MacDonald. Ms. MacDonald led a discussion about developing a national childhood obesity strategy. Federal, provincial and territorial ministers are committed to the issue and have tasked staff to help develop a strategy. One of the focus areas will be food marketing and advertising to youth. The next Provincial and Federal Health Ministers meeting is expected to take place in Nova Scotia next summer or fall.