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Health System Impact Fellowship (HSIF)

The Government of Canada is pleased to support the next generation of health researchers so we can continue to make progress towards transforming our health systems. The Health System Impact Fellowship program is truly win-win: These researchers get hands-on work experience to develop their professional competencies and research, while people in Canada benefit from their insights on how to strengthen and improve the delivery of health care.

The Honorable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

The Health System Impact Fellowship program is led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Health Services and Policy Research. Autism Alliance of Canada is proud to be a host institution for trainees accepted into this program and provide doctoral and postdoctoral awardees with an embedded research opportunity within our organization. Trainees co-develop research projects that advance the organization’s overall impact, support evidence-based decision-making, and address the most pressing challenges faced by Autistic people in Canada.

This fellowship is a unique opportunity for a fellow to work in a small, agile and impactful organization that represents many organizations under its umbrella. Our HSI Fellows have opportunities to work with stakeholders, community organizations, policy makers, researchers, clinicians and people with lived experience across the country to help meet the needs of Autistic people in Canada and their loved ones.

The HSI Fellow may undertake the following:

  • Leading and supporting knowledge synthesis projects in partnership with the SPOR Evidence Alliance including: Policy reviews, environmental scans, analysis, scoping reviews, systematic reviews.
  • Policy work including preparing briefing notes to senior policy makers at the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Senate.
  • Leading stakeholder consultation with member organizations.
  • Knowledge translation and mobilization projects.
  • Writing and preparation of grant submissions to Federal Granting agency and private granting foundations.
  • Research initiatives using quantitative and qualitative methods, including using population level administrative data, survey methodology, and qualitative methods.
  • Project management.
  • Collaborating with other organizations to support project development and further research partnerships.
  • Supporting communities of practice in data and research, employment, and postsecondary supports for Autistic people.
  • Opportunities to develop and present reports to the Board of Directors.

As a virtual organization, location is flexible, offering the ability for fellows from across Canada to apply to this dynamic organization.

Autism Alliance of Canada is passionate about the development and training of Health System Impact Fellows.

We work closely with academic partners to provide a stimulating mentorship and training experience for the fellows. Institutions that have collaborated closely with Autism Alliance of Canada to provide enriching opportunities to Health System Impact Fellows include McMaster University, McMaster University Autism Research Team, the Offord Centre for Child Studies, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Centre for Research in Work Disability Policy, the Institute for Work & Health, and the Li Ka Sing Knowledge Institute, St. Micheal’s Hospital.

Our fellows will work closely with Dr Jonathan Lai, Executive Director, and Dr Deepa Singal, Director of Scientific and Data Initiatives (both former HSI Fellows) who will ensure deliberate opportunities for growth and development of the core competencies outlined in the HSIF Training Modernization Initiative. Fellows will also work with current HSI fellows which presents an opportunity to harness the power of being in a dynamic HSIF cohort and develop long-lasting relationships.

Current Fellows

Project: Advancing the Autism Evidence Synthesis Initiative

Dr. Alexia Ostrolenk
2023-2025 CIHR Health System Impact Fellow

Previous Fellows

Project: Canadian Autistic Adult Needs Assessment

Headshot of Dr. Mackenzie Salt

Dr. Mackenzie Salt
2021-2023 CIHR Health System Impact Fellow

Project: Autistic / Allistic Intercommunication: A Guide for the Workplace

Headshot of Dr. Sara Lacarte

Sara Lacarte
2021-2022 CIHR Health System Impact Fellow