My research program aims to improve health and health care in northern, rural, and remote settings. Based in Northern Ontario, my team and I accomplish this by generating and applying knowledge that is relevant to our context. Embedding research in a health system to improve outcomes is called a learning health system. We have three main projects:
- Understanding how and to what extent a health system is a learning health system and whether it is achieving outcomes that matter in northern, rural, and remote settings.
- Studying the impacts of COVID-19 on community health and health services in Northern Ontario.
- Testing an educational program to build capacity in learning health system capacities, such as evaluation and analysis.
We use a collaborative research approach to conduct this work. We work closely with health system decision-makers, health professionals, and members of the public to design, implement, and share our findings.
A resilient health care system is one that learns and adapts. The HRF Fellowship in Health Systems Resilience has given me the privilege to support a northern and rural learning health system by supporting rigorous and relevant research for people, communities, and health organizations in Northern Ontario.Dr. Brianne Wood
We anticipate that our embedded research will result in tangible improvements in how health care is delivered in Northern Ontario because our findings can help local health system leaders prioritize, allocate resources, and make evidence-informed decisions. These projects form a knowledge base of how to build and assess learning health systems in northern, rural, and remote settings, which can benefit health systems across Canada that have similar contextual considerations such as distributed health care organization, chronic workforce challenges, and unique population health. My collaborative research approach also ensures that we have multiple scales of connections, from local to global. As such, my team and I participate on provincial and national committees that support health system decision-making and pragmatic research. These communication opportunities allow us to amplify our research findings, contribute data to systems that often exclude northern, rural, and remote observations, and allocate resources and capacities to traditionally underserved areas.