“Home care clients tend to be an understudied population, and yet, many require complex care and support while in their home environments,” says Marianne Saragosa, a doctoral student at the University of Toronto in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation who has received a Health System Impact Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study with VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The Health System Impact (HSI) Fellowship program provides highly qualified doctoral trainees studying health services a unique opportunity to apply their research and analytic talents to critical challenges in health organizations outside of the traditional scholarly setting and to develop professional experience, new skills, and networks.
Marianne will work with VHA to examine care transitions among home care clients. She is being mentored by her academic supervisor Dr. Kerry Kuluski at the University of Toronto and by Dr. Sandra McKay, VP, Research & Innovation at VHA.
The HSI Fellowship connects Fellows to organizations from across the health care system who have shared impact projects that bridge the knowledge-to-practice gap.
“Through my PhD work and connecting with VHA for support with recruitment, I became more aware of VHA as an organization and saw how my research was aligned with VHA’s strategic vision of connected systems,” shares Marianne. “By engaging home care clients with prior care transition experiences and their care partners and providers, we want to better understand preceding factors to these movements between settings and potential solutions to avoid or reduce transitions,” she added.
HSI Fellows benefit from the opportunity to gain experience in a real-world setting where they can learn from key stakeholders while working alongside them. They are also able to expand their professional networks and make a difference with their work during their fellowship.
“The next year will be an important opportunity for me and I can’t express enough how grateful I am to have formed this partnership with VHA. This is an exciting period of growth and discovery at VHA as they launch their next chapter in research and innovation,” says Marianne. “I want very much to generate new and useful knowledge that will lead to real practice and policy change at the ground level so that home care clients and their families feel heard and valued.”
“We are very pleased to have Marianne working with VHA as part of the HSI Fellowship program,” says Sandra. “It’s a great example of our ongoing commitment to the future of home care and home care scientists and to VHA as a learning organization.”