IHSPR Newsletter – October 2017

Table of Contents

Message from Dr. Tamblyn, IHSPR Scientific Director

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Canada’s new Minster of Health, The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor. I am looking forward to working together on implementing the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research’s strategic priorities, and as they relate to her specific areas of interest including mental health, suicide prevention and the prevention of violence against women. I would like to wish the outgoing Minister of Health, The Honourable Jane Philpott the best of luck in her new role as Minister of Indigenous Services.

There are numerous Institute Community Support funding opportunities available this year so please make sure to check them out! Funding decisions were provided in summer 2017 for a new award called the Health System Impact Fellowships, a core component of a three-pronged multi-year training modernization funding initiative that stems from the Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance’s (CHSPRA’s) Training Modernization Strategy (Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance: Report from the Working Group on Training [ PDF (323 KB) - external link ]). With support from several CIHR institutes and branches, health system organizations and competition partners, 46 fellowships are currently underway across Canada! Stay tuned for the upcoming second launch of this funding opportunity that will contain a stream for doctoral trainees and a stream for post-doctoral fellows.

This month’s newsletter features an exciting research profile about CBPHC Embedded Clinician Researcher Dr. Naana Afua Jumah, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, whose research focus is on substance using pregnant women living in rural and remote areas.

I had the privilege of moderating a panel at the European Primary Care Forum (EFPC 2017) in Porto, Portugal in September, along with a delegation from Canada and the United States to profile examples of approaches to integrated primary healthcare innovation for patients experiencing multiple chronic conditions. More information on this great session is available in the News & Announcements section.

Make sure to stay up to date on IHSPR’s activities through our website, e-bulletins, and newsletters.

I wish you all a wonderful fall!

Robyn Tamblyn

Community-Based Primary Health Care Research Profile

Addressing Transitions in Care: An Indigenous-based, Integrated Care Pathway for Opioid Dependence in Pregnancy in Northwestern Ontario

Dr. Naana Afua Jumah is a clinician and researcher at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and its affiliated research institute and a CIHR Embedded Clinician Researcher. Her research program is focused on improving continuity of care for Indigenous pregnant and post-natal women with substance use issues living in rural and remote northern communities.

Read more.

Featured Funding Opportunities

SPOR Innovative Clinical Trials Rewarding Success

Application deadline: November 21, 2017
Anticipated notice of decision: December 21, 2017
Funding start date: January 1, 2018

The Rewarding Success Initiative is an experimental funding model that is being piloted in five provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador and Saskatchewan. The Rewarding Success Initiative is similar to other funding models that have been developed to support innovation and impact such as risk sharing, social impact bonds, and innovation prizes. The basic principle is that teams of patients, healthcare delivery organizations, clinicians, and researchers identify potential solutions to identified problems and priorities in health care; solutions that will enhance patient and provider experience while also:

  • reducing low value health care (e.g. unnecessary diagnostic tests/ drugs), and/or
  • addressing health care inefficiencies (e.g. wait lists), and/or
  • reducing avoidable morbidity (e.g. stroke)


The iCT Rewarding Success is expected to:

  1. Incentivize multidisciplinary research teams and their healthcare and innovation partners to design, adopt, and evaluate interventions implemented into a healthcare delivery organization that enhance value-based care, health system sustainability, and health outcomes.
  2. Support innovative process transformations that improve health outcomes and value for Canada’s healthcare investment.

Operating Grant: Economic Forecasting

Application deadline: November 28, 2017
Anticipated notice of decision: February 28, 2018
Funding start date: March 1, 2018

This funding opportunity aims to provide relevant audiences with the frameworks and tools that can support the economic analysis of investments in primary and secondary health prevention, identify the scientific and policy challenges that must be addressed if the costs of such investments are to be amortized over time, and outline the changes required to accounting regulations that would allow the costs of primary and secondary prevention and early intervention services and programs to be amortized.

The objective of the Economic Forecasting funding opportunity is to:

  • Advance knowledge in health economic forecasting of the cost of primary and secondary prevention, and early intervention services.
  • Build capacity to produce financial projections that would more easily allow government departments to understand the impact of scaling evidence-based primary and secondary prevention interventions on their budgets over time

Operating Grant: Secondary Data Analysis (Secondary Data Analysis – Dynamic Cohorts)

Anticipated notice of decision: February 28, 2018
Funding start date: March 1, 2018
Total available funding: $420,000, enough to fund approximately 6 grants
Value of grants: The maximum amount per grant is $70,000 per year for up to 1 year

CIHR and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) have partnered to create a dynamic cohort of complex, high system users, a relatively small subgroup of the population responsible for a significant amount of health services use and costs. The Dynamic Cohort was developed using CIHI’s in-house datasets to facilitate cross-jurisdictional research.

Funding will be provided for cross-jurisdictional research projects, involving at least 2 Canadian jurisdictions (i.e. provinces or territories), using the Dynamic Cohort data and a control group to answer policy-relevant research questions on complex, high system users of relevance to the health system. Projects should also be relevant to at least one of the strategic priorities identified in the CIHR-IHSPR Strategic Plan 2015-2019.

The Secondary Data Analysis Dynamic Cohort funding opportunity is expected to:

  • Support cross-jurisdictional research on complex, high system users in Canada.
  • Promote the use of the CIHR/CIHI Dynamic Cohort datasets.
  • Promote effective knowledge translation through continuous and sustained interactions between researchers and end-users of this research.

Health System Impact Award (for doctoral trainees and post-doctoral fellows)

Anticipated launch date: Late Fall 2017
Anticipated application deadline: Early Spring 2018
Anticipated Notice of Decision: Summer 2018
Anticipated Start Date: September 2018

The Health System Impact (HSI) Award program provides highly-qualified doctoral trainees and post-doctoral fellows studying health services and policy research (HSPR), or related fields (e.g., public health, informatics, economics, nursing), a unique opportunity to apply their research and analytic talents to critical challenges in health system and related organizations outside of the traditional scholarly setting (e.g., public, private for-profit, not-for-profit, and Indigenous health organizations that are not universities), and to develop professional experience, new skills, and networks.

This is the second launch of the HSI program and it now contains a stream for doctoral trainees and a stream for post-doctoral fellows:

  • Doctoral award recipients receive a paid one-year experiential learning opportunity where they are embedded in their health system partner organization for at least 60% of their time focused on an impact-oriented project of direct relevance to their partner organization. The remaining time, if any (up to 40%) is protected to continue with their doctoral program commitments.
  • Post-doctoral award recipients receive a paid two-year experiential learning opportunity where they are embedded in their health system partner organization for at least 70% of their time focused on their impact-oriented program of work. The remaining time, if any (up to 30%), is protected for post-doctoral academic research.

Overall, the HSI Award provides doctoral trainees and post-doctoral fellows with a novel experiential learning opportunity within health system and related organizations where they will dedicate the majority of their time towards a program of work that advances the organization’s impact goal and contributes to improved health system performance.

Stay tuned for additional details this fall, including the official launch of the Health System Impact Award funding opportunity and dates for information webinars.

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, 2018

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 2018

  • Funds available: $10,000 for one recipient
  • Grant duration: One year
  • Nomination deadline: February 23, 2018

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 2018

  • Funds available: $3,000 for approximately three recipients
  • Maximum amount per grant: $1,000
  • Grant duration: One year
  • Application deadline: February 23, 2018

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.


2017 CAHSPR Policy Forum

November 13-14, 2017, Toronto, ON
The Development of Learning Health Care Systems: How Can Canada Own the Podium?

The Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation of the University of Toronto, the Institute for Research in Public Health of the University of Montreal, the Canadian Association for Health Services, Policy and Research, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research are jointly presenting one of the most important conferences of the fall season “The Development of Learning Healthcare Systems: How can Canada own the podium.”

As Canada and other countries struggle with the profound challenges of improving our healthcare systems, there is a growing appreciation for the value of our healthcare systems becoming learning organizations. This idea first enunciated a number of years ago has evolved over time as new technologies, data infrastructure, and highly trained individuals have come forward. A great deal of progress has already been made, but we anticipate the promise of more to come. At this timely conference, coming as it does with the initiation of the first cohort of CIHR Health System Impact Fellows (see information about the National Cohort Retreat below!), we will assess how far we have come both in Canada and around the world, and lay out what should come next. Register Now!

Call for Poster Abstracts now open! Submit your abstract now! Submission deadline is October 6th, 2017.

Health System Impact Fellowship National Cohort Retreat: November 14-16, 2017, Toronto

The Training Modernization Start-Up Grants and Health System Impact Fellowships were created with the overarching objective of preparing a cadre of Canada’s up-and-coming brightest minds for successful careers as leaders of evidence-informed health system improvement. Both the Training Modernization Start-Up Grant and the Health System Impact (HSI) Fellowship programs specified the creation of a new national cohort of which the funded fellows and their health system and academic supervisors would become part.

This first cohort retreat in November 2017 will bring together the funded fellows and their health system and academic supervisors to:

  • learn about the training modernization initiative and key ingredients (tips, tools, resources) for successful experiential fellowships;
  • foster opportunities for relationship building with other fellows, health system leaders, and academic experts;
  • create a forum for collaboration and learning around common goals and objectives; and
  • participate in targeted training sessions aligned with the enriched core competencies - including areas like leadership, project management, and change management - designed to kick-start a successful fellowship.

The national cohort will also meet in the spring/fall 2018 (dates TBC) in Montreal.

News and Announcements

Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announces a $5.8 Million investment in programs to give health research trainees hands-on work experience

A new $5.8 million investment in training modernization from 8 CIHR Institutes and 1 Branch, Fonds de recherche du Québec–Santé (FRQS), New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, Mitacs and partnerships with 36 health system organizations across Canada and 17 universities will prepare a cohort of the next generation of health services research leaders for stronger career readiness and greater health system impact. The successful fellows are a highly accomplished group of individuals dedicated to applying their PhD skills and knowledge to real-world health and health system improvement. Congratulations to the Start-Up Grant and Health System Impact Fellowship recipients! Read more.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, Scientific Director, CIHR-IHSPR and the Health System Impact Fellowship (HSIF) and Training Modernization Start-Up Grant recipients.

EFPC 2017 Conference, 24-26 September, Porto, Portugal: Cross-border integrated primary care challenges

Building on our relationships with American primary care researchers established through the March 2017 cross-border symposium, IHSPR organized a panel at the EFPC 2017 Conference moderated by Scientific Director Dr. Robyn Tamblyn entitled ‘Canada and the United States – Experiences in Developing Primary Care Models for Managing Complex Care and Multiple Chronic Conditions’. This exciting panel also featured 3 leads from the CBPHC Innovation Teams!

The goals of the session were to:

  • Share North American examples of approaches to integrated primary healthcare innovation for patients experiencing multiple chronic conditions;
  • Highlight approaches to engaging patients in primary healthcare innovation; and
  • Identify challenges, opportunities and advancements in measuring the impact of primary healthcare innovation

The Government of Canada invests over $21M in innovative health research

The honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, was at the CHU de Québec – Laval University Research Centre, to highlight a total investment of over $21M in cutting-edge research from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Twelve researchers, including two from Laval University, received $2.9M to undertake innovative biomedical and clinical HIV vaccine research projects. Furthermore, Dr. Gary Kobinger, renowned for his work on the world's first effective vaccine against the Ebola virus, received a $3.9M grant to work on a vaccine to prevent HIV. The Minister took the opportunity to commend a further 18 researchers from Laval University who received a total of $14.4M in funding to tackle conditions such as heart disease, asthma and cancer. Read more.

Statement from Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews: New gender equity data now available from CIHR

Several months ago, CIHR released its first set of data related to gender equity in our funding programs. This analysis stemmed from CIHR's Equity Strategy, designed with the vision of creating an equitable funding system. The first data set focused on the success rates by gender for CIHR funding, as well as for certain tri-agency funding programs. We also considered gender representation in the broader research enterprise. The second data set, which is now available on our website, focuses on approved amounts of funding by gender in CIHR programs. Our approach to the data is deliberate. First, we are identifying what gender inequities or differences exist and where they exist (i.e. which programs). Our next steps will be to conduct deeper dives into the data to determine why the inequities or differences exist. Read more.

CIHR Annual Report 2016–17

We are pleased to inform you that the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Annual Report 2016–17 is now available on the CIHR website. The report was officially tabled on August 16th in the House of Commons by the Minister of Health. We encourage you to read the report and to share it with your contacts. Read more.

Harnessing data to improve the way we measure health and predict mortality

Dr. Arnold Mitnitski is a Dalhousie University Research Professor of Medicine with past cross-appointments in Community Health and Epidemiology, Mathematics, and Computer Science. By analyzing large data samples collected through medical records of elderly and frail patients, Dr. Mitnitski and his colleague Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a world renowned geriatrician, have developed a measure of human health known as the Frailty Index (FI). The FI has widespread applications in biomedicine by providing physicians with a tool that allows them to distinguish a patient's relative, or "biological age" from their actual, or "chronological age". By mining large samples of health data from the anonymized health records of elderly patients, Dr. Mitnitski has improved the way that physicians can measure frailty in patients. The strong relationship between FI and adverse health conditions and outcomes will allow doctors and other clinicians to provide more accurate assessments and tailored treatment options to patients and their families. Read more.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program attracts and retains world-class doctoral students to Canadian universities by supporting individuals who demonstrate strong leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in health, natural sciences, engineering, humanities and social sciences. Read more.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program Brochure

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program

Canada is building world-class research capacity by recruiting top-tier postdoctoral researchers at an internationally competitive level of funding and positioning them for success as the research leaders of tomorrow. These prestigious two-year fellowships, worth $70,000 per year, are open to both Canadian and international researchers who have recently completed a PhD, PhD-equivalent or health professional degree. Seventy fellowships will be awarded each year. Read more.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program Brochure

Tools and Resources

The following technologies have recently been brought to our attention:

  • TriNetX – a cloud-based health research platform.
  • Health Linkages – “blockchain-like cryptographic technology” for tracking data provenance [video].
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