BC researchers to tackle high-priority challenges in health system

14 December 2023

Researchers from British Columbia will be joining others across Canada as they develop research projects and programs to address complex, high-priority challenges to strengthen health systems in Canada. 

Michael Smith Health Research BC is a proud partner of the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Health System Impact Fellowship program. The program provides doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in health services and policy research with the opportunity to develop embedded research projects and programs that address the most pressing problems faced by health system organizations and support evidence-informed decision-making. 

Health Research BC is enabling four BC-based researchers to tackle a range of health system priorities — from improving health equity among marginalized populations and providing quality home health for a growing elderly population to building capacity for youth-driven research to improve mental health and substance use outcomes. Ultimately, their research will improve people’s health and experiences across British Columbia and beyond. 

One fellow is Mar’yana Fisher, a doctoral student at the University of Victoria and palliative care clinician with Fraser Health. Her research will examine and address barriers to accessing cancer care for people who are incarcerated in BC. 

“Working within the context of incarceration is challenging and ethically charged; it requires openness, humility and courage,” says Mar’yana. “The Health System Impact Fellowship can provide space and opportunities for my personal growth and self-discovery, which is much needed for this life-long pursuit and to accelerate my leadership skills through mentorship. Moreover, learning and exploring alongside fellows from other disciplines could diversify my perspectives on the carceral landscape.” 

As BC’s health research agency, Michael Smith Health Research BC is committed to building research talent for BC’s future. Partnering with CIHR enables us to support more BC-based fellows through partnership, reduce duplication in the system, and build capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making. Thank you to our partners for co-funding the 2023 fellows:

  • BC Cancer 
  • BC Ministry of Health 
  • Foundry 

Congratulations to the 2023 Health System Impact Fellowship recipients.


2024 Health System Impact Fellowship competition now open

The competition for the 2024 Health System Impact Fellowship is now open. Applications will be accepted for the PhD and postdoctoral fellow streams.  

The fellowship provides highly qualified candidates support at the doctoral and postdoctoral level to help develop BC’s health policy research talent and build capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making. The program aims to enhance understanding and communication between health researchers and health system decision-makers to promote the uptake of evidence-informed policy and reinforce the importance of policy-relevant research.


Key competition dates

  • Information webinar for applicants: January 9, 2024, 9-10 a.m. PT. Join Zoom
  • Application deadline: February 22, 2024
  • Anticipated notice of decision: August 1, 2024
  • Funding start date: September 1, 2024


Learn more about the Health System Impact Fellowship.