Pressing BC health policy challenges tackled by newly-funded research fellows

29 October 2018

MSFHR is pleased to be partnering with CIHR’s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research to co-fund six 2018 Health System Impact Fellows, enabling a total of 13 new Fellows to be awarded in BC, supporting the development of BC’s health policy talent and addressing pressing policy issues in our province.

The CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship program provides both PhD and post-doctoral Fellows with a paid experiential learning opportunity within health system organizations including health authorities, the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions.

The successful researchers will embed themselves within their host organizations and contribute their research and analytic talents to specific health policy challenges, while also benefiting from professional development opportunities, participation in a national cohort, mentorship with health system and academic leaders, and protected time for academic research.

The 13 BC Fellows are part of a national cohort of 49 individuals based in Ontario (16), BC (13), Quebec (8), Alberta (7), Nova Scotia (3), Saskatchewan (1) and the Northwest Territories (1).

The six MSFHR-funded Fellows are focused specifically on projects that address issues faced by BC’s health system such as improving physician workforce planning for primary care, measuring the impact of current and future harm reduction strategies in the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic, and examining the dosing of antipsychotics in residential care.

In 2017, MSFHR made a decision to put its Health Policy Fellowship Program on hold and partner with CIHR on the new Health System Impact Fellowship. The Health Policy Fellowship, introduced in 2016 as one of MSFHR’s suite of eight programs, was designed 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. By partnering with CIHR, the aim was to meet the goals of the Health Policy Fellowship while leveraging federal funds to BC to support the development of health policy research talent and the uptake of evidence to inform planning, policy, and practice.

The partnership allows MSFHR to leverage our funds to increase the number of funded researchers working with BC health authorities and the provincial government and pool resources to reduce duplication in the system and build capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making, one of the goals of our Health Policy Fellowship Program.

The 2018 Health System Impact Fellowship Program is a $5.5 million investment in training modernization from CIHR’s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR), Institute of Aging (IA), Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA), Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH), Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH), Institute of Infection and Immunity (III), Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA), Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH), Fonds de recherche du Québec–Santé (FRQS), Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, Mitacs, and partnerships with 38 health system organizations across Canada and 19 universities. The Fellowships will prepare a cohort of the next generation of health services research leaders for stronger career readiness and greater health system impact.