The Health System Impact Fellowship

Background: Modernizing Health Services and Policy Research Training for Greater Impact

CHSPRA’s vision for successful training modernization is a learning health system that harnesses the full talents of PhD-trained individuals for continuous health system improvement.

The Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance (CHSPRA) identified modernizing the health services and policy research (HSPR) training enterprise as a top priority for pan-Canadian collaborative action. In 2015, a Training Modernization Working Group – co-chaired by Dr. Stephen Bornstein (Memorial University of Newfoundland) and Dr. Adalsteinn Brown (University of Toronto) – was created to develop a pan-Canadian Training Modernization Strategy. The Strategy aimed to identify new, strategic directions to modernize university-based HSPR doctoral and post-doctoral training programs for optimized career readiness and impact.

The Training Modernization Working Group recognized the disconnect between the prospective career trajectories of today’s PhD graduates (which are diverse and which often involve multiple sectors) and existing PhD training programs that remain predominantly geared towards academic careers. Within health services and policy, the potential contribution of well-prepared PhD graduates to inform health policy and system transformation is considerable. The Training Modernization Strategy outlines a roadmap to harness this potential. Download the full report [ PDF (323 KB) - external link ].

To encourage experiential learning as a core element of HSPR training, CIHR-IHSPR and CHSPRA launched a multi-pronged, multi-partnered funding initiative: the Health System Impact Fellowship.


The Benefits of Becoming Involved

What’s in it for you?

For trainees:

  • Your research and analytic talents will contribute to addressing the critical challenges facing health system organizations outside of the traditional university setting (e.g., public, private for-profit, and not-for-profit organizations that are not universities). In addition, you will develop professional experience, new skills, and networks;
  • You will learn first-hand how health system organizations work, how decisions are made, and how research and analytic skills contribute broadly to improving an organization’s performance;
  • You will acquire unique professional development training and develop an expanded set of competencies (e.g., leadership, negotiation, project management, change management) all designed to accelerate your professional growth and better prepare you to embark on a wider range of career paths with greater impact;
  • As a participant of a national cohort of fellows and leaders from academic and health system and related organizations, you will benefit from unparalleled mentorship and networking opportunities.

For health system organizations:

  • You will benefit from direct access to the country’s rising stars in health services and policy research and related fields (e.g., population health, epidemiology, data science, health economics);
  • Your organization will benefit from fellows’ expertise in cutting- edge methodologies and analytics to advance your goals and priorities, generate innovative solutions grounded in the best available evidence, and build in-house capacity for research;
  • Your organization will expand its relationships with the academic sector and the health research community;
  • By contributing to training, mentoring, and preparing a cadre of the country’s up-and-coming brightest minds, your organization will be playing a leadership role in securing a bright future for your sector by developing the careers of future leaders of evidence-informed health and health system improvement.

For university training programs:

  • By aligning scholarship with health system improvement, your institution will be well positioned to demonstrate the versatility of PhD graduates and the value-added quotient that they bring to help inform health policy and system transformation;
  • You will foster meaningful and impactful career paths outside of the academy, accelerate career growth and impact, and encourage the skills and expertise of PhD trained individuals for broader societal contribution;
  • You will contribute to the expansion and enrichment of the traditional training environment by engaging health system and related organizations in preparing a cadre of promising PhD graduates for successful careers.

Meet the Health System Impact Fellowship Partners

The Health System Impact Fellowship program is led by CIHR-IHSPR, but made possible because of partnerships with many organizations across the country.

CIHR and IHSPR are proud to partner with:

Partners Involved in the Health System Impact Fellowship Program

Health System Organizations:

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