IHSPR Newsletter – September 2016

Table of Contents

Message from Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, IHSPR Scientific Director

We hope that everyone enjoyed the summer! We are on track for a full and eventful fall at IHSPR.

There are numerous exciting Institute Community Support (ICS) funding opportunities available this year so please make sure to check them out!

Funding decisions were provided in June 2016 for a new award called The Embedded Clinician Researcher Salary Award. This is a priority-driven initiative funded through CIHR’s Roadmap Accelerator Fund (RAF). Scientific leadership and support for this RAF-funded initiative is shared with CIHR’s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR) and CIHR’s Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA). We would like to congratulate all of the 2016 CIHR-IHSPR award winners to date, details of which can be seen below.

There are three exciting research profiles in this month’s newsletter! The first profile features an analysis of trends in health services and policy research funding and determinants of HSPR funding success in the first decade at CIHR. The second profile is a Healthy Debates Faces of Health Care interview featuring a CIHR-funded researcher touching on his research with indigenous populations. The third profile showcases an informative Healthcare Quarterly article written by The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) on the barriers and permissions required to access, link and analyze health administrative data for the purpose of generating evidence to inform decisions in policy and practice, including the initiatives undertaken to improve and increase access.

The Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance (CHSPRA) has made excellent progress in its two priority areas of training modernization and impact assessment. The Training Modernization Working Group, co-Chaired by Dr. Stephen Bornstein and Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, released its final report (Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance: Report from the Working Group on Training [ PDF (323 KB) - external link ]) outlining an exciting suite of future directions to modernize Canada’s HSPR doctoral and post-doctoral training programs for optimized career readiness and impact. A new suite of funding opportunities are being launched and are designed to support experiential learning (“hands on” training) in health system and related organizations and the creation of an enriched pan-Canadian curriculum with competencies designed to accelerate professional growth. I invite you to check out CIHR-IHSPR’s first funding opportunity - Training Modernization Start-Up Grants in HSPR.

CHSPRA’s Impact Assessment Working Group, co-Chaired by Dr. Kathryn Graham and David Peckham, is developing a common HSPR impact assessment framework and suite of indicators that builds on the esteemed Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Impact Framework. CHSPRA envisions that its member organizations, as well as other research funders and health-related organizations will use the resulting framework and indicators to assess the impact of the research they support and produce. The Working Group is in the midst of environmental scanning that will inform a White Paper (stay tuned) and the resulting impact assessment framework.

IHSPR facilitated a workshop on July 27th, 2016 where a number of leading academic researchers and leaders of major health and social science research organizations in Canada came together to discuss and determine if there was a consensus for major improvements to the Statistics Act. A consensus quickly emerged and recommendations from the one-day workshop, with a focus on enabling and facilitating bona fide research and analysis undertaken outside of Statistics Canada, were developed and submitted to the Standing Committee on Finance, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Parliamentary Secretary, and Chief Statistician of Canada in early August. Stay tuned for more updates about this important work!

12 Community-Based Primary Health Care (CBPHC) teams were funded to implement cross-jurisdictional programs in improving access to CBPHC for vulnerable populations and chronic disease prevention and management. The teams are collaborating on a set of common indicators to measure the impact and benefits of this research investment on the provision of primary healthcare. The set of tools and measures they compiled can serve as a standard set of indicators for measuring the core dimensions of primary healthcare that they identified, and can be adopted across Canada for common performance reporting purposes. This unprecedented work is led by a working group co-chaired by Sabrina Wong (University of British Columbia) and Jeannie Haggerty (McGill University) with representation from all 12 teams, the CIHR Institutes of Health Services and Policy Research and Population and Public Health, in collaboration with the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

We are looking forward to all the milestones and events that 2016 will hold!

Research Profiles

Health services and policy research in the first decade at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

IHSPR completed an analysis of Health Services and Policy Resarch funding in the first decade at CIHR. This investigation shows a very positive three-fold increase in funding of health services and policy research in the first 10 years at CIHR. However, it also shows that HSPR researchers have difficulty in maintaining sustained research funding, in part because we apply for shorter duration grants, but also because most applications need to be re-submitted to be funded.

View the complete article.

Photo courtesy of Seema Marwaha – Faces of Health Care.

CBPHC Research Profile: Faces of Healthcare

This Faces of Healthcare article profiles Dr. Mike Green, a family doctor and health researcher. His studies are inspired by the day-to-day challenges he sees at the clinic level. His latest research reveals some surprising ways health practitioners can better serve Indigenous patients with diabetes.

View the complete article.

Showcasing Innovation in Canada: Increasing Access to Health Administrative Data with ICES Data & Analytic Services

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) is one of only a few organizations in Ontario permitted to access, link and analyze health administrative data for the purpose of generating evidence to inform decisions in policy and practice. In 2014, as part of the government's commitment to the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, ICES launched the Data & Analytic Services platform, which is aimed at increasing access to data and analytic services to investigators external to ICES.

Michael Schull, President and CEO of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences states “The SPOR funding from the CIHR and Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care coincided with a strategic decision on our part to expand access to ICES data. The success of DAS shows there is strong demand from researchers for access to linked data, and that it can be provided without compromising privacy and security. DAS is a great way to enable researchers from across Canada to leverage ICES data by carrying out research with the potential to benefit all Canadians."

View the complete article.

Want to learn more about the impact of health research?

Visit Health research in action, a collection of stories about health research in Canada and how it is improving our lives.

2016 CIHR-IHSPR Award Winners

Embedded Clinician Researcher Salary Award

To enable health care innovation, clinical leaders need support, particularly those leaders with a vision for innovative change, the collaborative skills to facilitate implementation, and the research capacity to develop a programmatic approach to scientific investigation.

The Embedded Clinician Researcher Salary Award is designed for all early and mid-career regulated health professionals that are clinicians first but need protected time to engage in research that is critical to advancing change.

Congratulations to the following 2016 award winners in:

2016 CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Award Recipient

Dr. Steve Morgan has received the 2016 CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Award of $10,000. This award recognizes published research that has significantly contributed to the advancement of the field of health services and policy research in Canada.

The CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Review Committee selected Dr. Morgan’s article, entitled “Estimated cost of universal public coverage of prescription drugs in Canada”, for its relevance to health services and policy research, as well as for the extent to which the article shows a clear impact (or potential impact) on policy, practice, or health outcomes.

2016 CIHR-IHSPR Rising Star Award Recipients

Kate Smolina, Dan Niven, and Chi-Ling Joanna Sinn have received the 2016 CIHR-IHSPR Rising Star Awards of $1,000 and certificates of excellence.

The Rising Star Award review committee selected this year’s winners for their excellence in research and/or knowledge translation, the innovation of their work and the potential impact of their work within the field of health services and policy research.

2016 CIHR-IHSPR/CAHSPR Student Poster Competition Prize Winners

Each year at the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) conference IHSPR sponsors a Student Poster Competition. This competition is designed to encourage graduate students to attend and showcase their work at CAHSPR, Canada's pre-eminent health services and policy research conference, and to recognize the outstanding research efforts of up-and-coming health services and policy researchers.

Prizes are awarded to the three top-ranked posters in the amounts of $1,200, $1,000, and $800, for first, second and third prize respectively. Posters are reviewed by a team of expert reviewers who each devote their time and effort to conducting the reviews.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 CIHR-IHSPR/CAHSPR Student Poster Competition:

  • First Prize: Deepa Singal from the University of Manitoba for her poster “Neonatal and Childhood Neurodevelopmental, Health and Education Outcomes of Children Exposed to Antidepressants and Maternal Depression During Pregnancy: Study Protocol.”
  • Second Prize: Maggie McNeil from the University of Waterloo for her poster “Enabling health technology innovation for older adults: Barriers and facilitators in policy and regulatory processes.”
  • Third Prize: Bruno Riverin Deschênes from McGill University for his poster “The effect of timely outpatient follow-up after hospital discharge on 30-day readmission: an analysis using time-specific propensity scores”

Funding Opportunities

CIHR Barer-Flood Prize for Health Services and Policy Research

  • Funds available: $25,000 for one recipient
  • Grant duration: One year
  • Application deadline: May 1, 2017

The CIHR Barer-Flood Prize for Health Services and Policy Research is a career achievement award that honours and recognizes an exceptional researcher in the area of health services and policy research who has created a seminal body of work that has had a substantial impact on health services and policy research, policy and/or care delivery.

The award is named in honour of the leadership, vision and innovative contributions of the first two Scientific Directors of the Institute, Morris Barer and Colleen Flood.

IHSPR Article of the Year Award 2017

  • Funds available: $10,000 for one recipient
  • Grant duration: One year
  • Nomination deadline: February 24, 2017

This award is intended to recognize published research that has significantly contributed to the advancement of the field of health services and policy research in Canada. IHSPR will consider articles related to:

  • Research that demonstrates a clear impact or potential impact on policy or practice (e.g., decision maker uptake, change management for improved practice);


  • Research that breaks ground in the way health services or policy research is conducted (e.g., innovations in methodology, novel theory or application of theory, new approaches to existing problems).

IHSPR Rising Star Award 2017

  • Funds available: $3,000 for approximately three recipients
  • Maximum amount per grant: $1,000
  • Grant duration: One year
  • Application deadline: February 24th, 2017

The Rising Star Award is dedicated to supporting graduate students and post-doctoral Fellows and to recognizing the research excellence and knowledge translation initiatives of these emerging health services and policy researchers at an early stage in their career. Up to three Rising Stars are awarded each year. The specific objectives of the award are to:

  • Recognize the excellence of Canadian research and innovative knowledge translation (KT) initiatives of graduate students (e.g. M.D., M.A., M.Sc. and PhD) and post-doctoral fellows studying health services and policy research;
  • Recognize research and/or KT contributions for which a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow has had primary responsibility;
  • Promote careers in health services and policy research.

The Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance (CHSPRA) Training Modernization Start-Up Grants in HSPR

  • Funds available: $850,000 enough to fund approximately 8 grants
  • Maximum amount per grant: $100,000
  • Grant duration: One year
  • Application deadline: November 22, 2016

This funding opportunity is hot off the press and intended to help create the conditions and partnerships necessary for successful modernization of Canada’s training enterprise. These grants include funding for a number of exciting elements, including pilot experiential fellowship opportunities co-created by universities and health system organizations.

Next up, as the phase 2 of this initiative, will be Health System Impact Fellowship awards for promising individuals with a doctorate degree in HSPR (or a related field). These unique fellowships will provide paid experiential learning opportunities within health system and related organizations, enabling fellows to contribute their research talents to critical issues faced by health system organizations while simultaneously developing their professional experience, skills and networks. Stay tuned for additional news regarding the anticipated launch date of this opportunity in Fall/Winter 2016.

In the 3rd phase of the HSPR Training Modernization strategy, we will launch a Health System Impact Doctoral Training Award for support experiential learning opportunities and enriched competency development for individuals enrolled in an HSPR or related doctoral training program.

CIHR Institute of Cancer Research: Health Services and Economics Research in Cancer Control Catalyst Grant

  • Funds available: $1,000,000 for approximately ten grants
  • Maximum amount per grant: $100,000
  • Grant duration: One year
  • Application deadline: November 22, 2016

The overall focus of this priority is to support evidence informed decision making when it comes to policies, programs and practices related to cancer care (including screening and prevention). Through new research (including health economics) we will better understand how best to provide health services to improve disease management across the cancer control continuum (from prevention to palliation), as well as the development of mechanisms for timely adoption and implementation of research findings.

This funding opportunity represents ICR’s first activity in support of its second research priority area from its new Strategic Plan 2015-2020: Capturing Innovation to Prevent Cancer and Improve Cancer Control for Canadians.

CIHR funding opportunities


Dr. Steven J. Hoffman appointed Scientific Director of CIHR-Institute of Population and Public Health

Photo courtesy of University
of Ottawa.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced the appointment of Dr. Steven J. Hoffman, a leading international lawyer and global health researcher at the University of Ottawa, as Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Population and Public Health and as CIHR's lead for global health. His appointment began on August 1, 2016. As Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Population and Public Health, Dr. Hoffman will work with the Canadian population and public health research community and stakeholders to identify research priorities, develop research funding opportunities, build partnerships and translate research evidence into policy and practice to improve the health of Canadians and people around the world.

Twitter: @shoffmania

Read more.

Peer Review Working Group established to advise CIHR

As a follow-up to the outcomes of the July 13th Working Meeting to discuss CIHR's peer review processes, a Peer Review Working Group has been established under the leadership of Dr. Paul Kubes as Executive Chair of the College of Reviewers. This group, which includes representatives from the Working Meeting, will advise CIHR on the implementation of peer review changes before the launch of the next Project Grant and Foundation Grant competitions.

Read more.

2016 Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

At the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (November 14–18, 2016, Vancouver, Canada) we will confront questions of how health systems can absorb shocks, respond to emerging needs and take advantage of new opportunities in the face of emerging challenges. The previous iteration of the Symposium brought together over 2,000 leading thinkers on health systems from around the world. By participating in Vancouver, you will be able to share your innovative ideas on strengthening health systems and engage in dialogue with a diverse community, ranging from high-level policy makers, researchers and donors to practitioners and advocates on the ground.

Read more.

CIHR Launches the SPOR Innovative Clinical Trials Initiative

As part of its commitment to support clinical research and strengthen the environment for clinical trials in Canada, CIHR is launching a new initiative under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). The initiative will support the development and adoption of innovative methods for carrying out clinical trials. The first funding opportunities will support catalyst grants, multi-year grants and mentorship chairs.

Read more.

Sign up for CIHR-Institute for Gender and Health’s Newsletter

Sign up for a new newsletter highlighting the most interesting discoveries in sex, gender and health research! The Institute of Gender and Health presents Discoveries, a quarterly newsletter featuring Canadian and international research on sex and gender across health disciplines. Look for research from the IMHA community in coming issues!

Download EvidenceNetwork.ca’s new eBook!

The free eBook, ‘Why We Need More Canadian Health Policy in the Media’, is now available for download. This eBook is a compilation of the EvidenceNetwork.ca commentaries published in major newspapers in 2015, written by experts in the health policy field.


Health Systems Evidence Service

Want to be at the leading edge of the fast paced field of how to bring the best evidence to bear on pressing policy issues in support of health-system strengthening? Don’t miss your chance to attend a McMaster Health Forum Health Systems Learning fall workshop:

Five-day workshop - October 17-21, 2016. Master the skills required to acquire, assess, adapt and apply research evidence by working with McMaster Health Forum faculty to prepare a high-quality summary of the available research evidence on a topic you are actively working on in your own organization. For more information on this workshop (hosted in English), visit Health Systems Learning or contact mhf@mcmaster.ca.

Call for proposals: Sex Differences Across the Lifespan

The CIHR Institute of Gender and Health is proud to partner with the The Organization for the Study of Sex Differences (OSSD), to bring their 2017 annual meeting to Montreal next May. Symposium proposals are now being accepted. The deadline for submission is October 1, 2016.


New Project Officer

IHSPR has a new Project Officer, Shannon Pearson, who joined the institute in June, 2016. Shannon brings to the table several years of experience working at the provincial, federal and international levels with a focus on healthcare project management and business operations. Please see the ‘Contact Us’ section below for more information on how to get in touch with Shannon and the rest of the IHSPR team! Welcome to the team, Shannon!

Got good news?

Are you a CIHR-funded investigator driving innovative health services and policy research? Have you recently been published in a peer-reviewed journal? Then we want to hear from you!

Send us a research project abstract and a short summary (500 words max) of your latest game-changing outcomes and impacts for a chance to be featured in the IHSPR newsletter or website! Forward us your information to info.ihspr@mcgill.ca.

Contact Us

Stay up to date with IHSPR activities! Follow SD Robyn Tamblyn on Twitter and follow us on YouTube. Contact our staff.

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