Introducing Autism Alliance of Canada’s new Health System Impact Fellow, Dr. Alexia Ostrolenk

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Alexia Ostrolenk as Autism Alliance of Canada’s 2023-2025 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Health System Impact Fellow (HSIF). Dr. Ostrolenk will be joining the Alliance’s highly skilled community of fellows, past and current, who have a track record of engaging in impactful, community-driven projects. 

With a strong academic background and a commitment to improving the lives of Autistic people and their families, Dr. Ostrolenk brings a wealth of  expertise to her HSI postdoctoral fellowship at the Alliance. Dr. Ostrolenk earned her bachelor’s degree in life sciences from Sorbonne University in Paris and completed two master’s degrees in cognitive neuroscience from University College London and the École Normale Supérieure. She then pursued a Ph.D. in psychiatric sciences from the Université de Montréal. In addition to her research, Dr. Ostrolenk is an active science communicator. She co-founded ComSciCon-QC, a program offering free science communication training for graduate students. Her efforts have been instrumental in training a new generation of effective science communicators.

As the host organization, Autism Alliance of Canada is excited to collaborate with our academic partner at St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, to provide mentorship and training to Dr. Ostrolenk. Dr. Ostrolenk will receive mentorship from Dr. Deepa Singal, Scientific Director of the Alliance and Dr. Jonathan Lai, Executive Director of the Alliance, alongside academic mentorship from nationally renowned expert Dr. Andrea Tricco, Scientist and Director of the Knowledge Synthesis Team, Unity Health Toronto, and Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Synthesis. Dr. Tricco is also the Nominated Principal Investigator of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Evidence Alliance. 

Dr. Ostrolenk will be advancing the “Autism Evidence Synthesis Initiative,” a joint effort between Autism Alliance of Canada and the SPOR Evidence Alliance. The initiative’s goal is to create knowledge synthesis products that inform autism policy and practice in Canada.

The Health System Impact Fellowship program is led by the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research’s (CIHR-IHSPR) in collaboration with multiple CIHR institutes and initiatives, funding agencies, health system organizations and universities. Autism Alliance of Canada proudly hosts trainees accepted into this program, giving them opportunities to address real-world system challenges in Canada. Our HSI Fellows work with various groups, including community organizations, policymakers, researchers, healthcare professionals, and people with lived experiences across the country to address the needs of Autistic people in Canada and their loved ones. Our goal is to increase the capacity of upcoming researchers and policy-makers who can bring about significant changes for Autistic people across Canada.