Building capacity in the spinal cord injury community
CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship
The Canadian Institutes of Research (CIHR) Health System Impact (HSI) Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for doctoral and post-doctoral fellows studying fields related to health services to apply their research and analytical talents to critical challenges in the health care system outside of the traditional academic setting.
Recognizing a shift in career trajectory for many post-doctoral fellows, CIHR created the HSI Fellowship to better prepare and equip post-docs to work beyond an exclusively research-based environment. The aim is to have candidates work in partnership with an academic and community partner to support improved practice, policy; and better leverage knowledge to produce products and tools that address key health system challenges to make sustained impact.
In September 2019 a CIHR HSI Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Matheus Wiest to work with academic partner University Health Network and community partner ONF under the supervision of ONF CEO, Kent Bassett-Spiers and KITE (TRI) Senior Scientist, Dr. Cathy Craven. Dr. Wiest’s project aims to develop a continuing education model to improve the capacity of rehabilitation service providers through peer-to-peer learning to optimize care integration. Using the ECHO model as a blueprint through the course of his work, Dr. Wiest will build this framework to address gaps in SCI rehabilitation practice as an asset to the Spinal Cord Injury Implementation and Evaluative Quality Care Consortium which seeks to implement best practices based on key performance indicators of quality rehabilitative care for SCI.
Scope of work:
- Systematic literature review: the first part of the project will involve an exploratory review of the existing frameworks that address SCI rehabilitative care;
- Educational framework: the next step will be to develop an educational framework specific to SCI rehabilitation;
- Stakeholder Engagement: once the framework has been developed it will be presented to stakeholders including clinicians and consumers and additional members of the Ontario SCI Alliance for review;
- Feedback and Finalization: the last segment of the project will see the finalization of the framework based on the stakeholder review.
Amanda and Rick Hansen Fellowship in Physical Therapy
In 2018, a two-year postdoctoral fellowship was awarded to Dr. Cindy Gauthier at University of Toronto. Her research projects focused on assessing the effects the orthotic and therapeutic effects of functional electrical stimulation for balance and upper limb functional training. She also studied the safety, feasibility and effects of the use of whole-body electrical muscle stimulation for fitness training among individuals living with a spinal cord injury.
Health Economics Professorship
Is this new rehabilitation device good value for money?
How much does it truly cost if you consider maintenance, repairs and staff to operate?
Is it cost-effective?
These are questions that are becoming more important in this day and age as new devices are becoming more complex and more expensive while funding for health care remain static. Recognizing a need for economic evidence to answer these questions and understand the return-on-investment of new technologies a Health Economics Professorship was established to build the capacity to conduct and share economic evaluations in the field of neurorehabilitation specifically in relation to SCI. Awardee, Dr. Brian Chan will focus on conducting economic evaluations on assistive technologies, developing methods for economic analyses in SCI rehabilitation, supporting virtual care platforms and mentoring a new generation of researchers specializing in developing economic evidence to improve the health of individuals with SCI as part of his current research at the University of Toronto.
Indigenous Health Fellowship
In collaboration with Dr. Melanie Jeffery, Dr. Sandra Juutilainen completed a one-year post-doctoral fellowship covering Indigenous health at the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health based at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. This fellowship helped to increase research capacity in Ontario that is specifically focused on the province’s Indigenous population living with spinal cord injury. Dr. Juutilainen’s work is being done in collaboration with Dr. Melanie Jeffery who has an 18-month post-doctoral position.
Learn more about their work:
- Methodology Matters: Designing a Pilot Study Guided by Indigenous Epistemologies
Abstract: Indigenous individuals and communities have experienced historic and ongoing negative interactions with Western health care and biomedical research. To rebuild trust and mitigate power structures between researchers and Indigenous peoples, researchers can adopt Indigenous epistemologies in methodologies, such as nonhierarchical approaches to relationship. This article shares models developed to bridge Indigenous epistemologies with Western qualitative and quantitative research methods and demonstrates how these epistemologies can be used to guide the authors’ development of a pilot study on traumatic spinal cord injury.
- Traumatic spinal cord injuries among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations of Saskatchewan: a prospective outcomes study
- Advancing primary and community care for persons with spinal cord injury: Key findings from a Canadian summit – Published in Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine.
- Needs, priorities, and attitudes of individuals with neurogenic bladder and bowel dysfunction considering nerve stimulation devices – accepted for publication in Journal of Spinal Cord.
- Indigenous populations and traumatic spinal cord injury: Using an Indigenous lens to establish meaningful data – under review
- Scoping Review on Visual Analytics in Population Health and Health Services Research
- Researcher Profile
CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellowship – Dr. Jawad Chishtie
The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF), in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), funded a fellowship that focused on developing tools that measure the impact of ONF community-based projects. The framework facilitates analysis in understanding of gaps in primary care, including within indigenous communities in terms of access to health care for those with spinal cord injury.