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SPPH doctoral students awarded the 2023 Health System Impact Fellowship

Nov 14, 2023 |

Congratulations to SPPH doctoral students Esteban J. Valencia and Zeina Waheed for being awarded the 2023 Health System Impact Fellowship! 

On November 9, the Honorable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced an investment of more than $4.7M in the Health System Impact Fellowship program. This program aims to help researchers’ career development by having them work in partnership with health system organizations to tackle complex, high-priority challenges, and ultimately strengthen health systems in Canada. The program blends research and professional development with practical, hands-on experience that is complemented by unique mentorship opportunities, designed to accelerate researchers’ professional growth and potential to achieve evidence-informed health system impact. 

This funding will support 11 PhD students and 27 postdoctoral fellows who are embedded in 31 health organizations and connected to 14 universities across Canada. Their research spans a wide range of health system priorities, from improving transitions in care and supporting the wellbeing of our health workforce, to advancing access to health care in rural areas and innovating long-term care. Ultimately, their research will help Canada advance its progress toward improving people’s health and experiences with the health care system, health care workers’ well-being and satisfaction in their work, value, and equity. 

Funding is provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Health Research BC, Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé, and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation. 


Impact Fellows:

Esteban J. Valencia

Identifying patterns of healthcare needs among provincially incarcerated women to improve coordinated support services

Host Partner Organization: BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS)
Location (city, province): Vancouver, BC
Academic Institution: University of British Columbia
PhD or Post-doctoral Fellowship: PhD Fellowship
Fellowship funder(s): Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network 

About You & Your Fellowship Program of Work: 

Recent changes in BC correctional healthcare governance, and the COVID-19 pandemic, have impacted the scope of health and social support services available to those entering and exiting BC jails. Within this context, my research explores historical and contemporary trends in morbidity among provincially incarcerated women. This work will inform ongoing efforts to strengthen coordinated services for those in provincial custody. 


Zeina Waheed

Building system readiness for pharmacogenomic and companion diagnostic testing in British Columbia

Host Partner Organization: British Columbia Ministry of Health
Location (city, province): Vancouver, BC
Academic Institution: University of British Columbia
PhD or Post-doctoral Fellowship: PhD Fellowship
Fellowship funder(s): CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (CIHR-IHSPR)

About You & Your Fellowship Program of Work:

Pharmacogenomic and companion diagnostic testing help identify medications that are more likely to be effective and/or reduce side effects based on an individual’s genetic profile. My project will assess BC’s readiness to implement these tests into routine care and provide recommendations to facilitate implementation. I hope to help advancement towards implementation that improves patient outcomes and reduces healthcare system wastage/costs.


Full announcement can be found on the Health System Impact Fellowship program website.