OHT Impact Fellows Program – FAQs

What is the OHT Impact Fellows Program?

This is a new program that provides fellowships for skilled evaluators and researchers to work in OHTs. During their year-long placement, OHT Impact Fellows will support the implementation of local priority projects and contribute to evaluation activities within and across OHTs.  Through the program, Fellows will bolster local evaluation capacity and support learning across the OHT network.

What is it designed to accomplish?

The goals of the program are threefold:

  1. Provide OHTs with highly trained personnel who can bolster local capacity and support the implementation of priority projects, resulting in local impact.
  2. Contribute to evaluation and rapid learning within and across OHTs, resulting in shared learnings, evidence-informed decision-making, and greater impact across the OHT network.
  3. Provide trainees interested in transformation health system work with opportunities for advanced training, experiential learning, mentorship, and participation in a cohort of emerging leaders, thereby improving their career preparedness, leadership skills and impact potential.

Who are Impact Fellows?

Impact Fellows are highly trained (PhD-level) personnel who have expertise in cutting-edge evaluation and analytics that can be harnessed to help advance an OHT’s goals and priorities, generate innovative solutions grounded in evidence, and help build in-house capacity for evaluation.

What do Fellows do?

OHT Impact Fellows will support implementation and evaluation of priority projects within their host OHT and support rapid learning across OHTs to foster system adaptation and transformation. About 70% of their time will be spent on local (host OHT) projects and 30% on activities that cut-across OHTs (e.g., shared learning, training, contributing to central evaluation, etc.).

Where do Fellows work?

Fellows are matched with designated Ontario Health Teams, where they work with one or more OHT partners to implement or evaluate a local priority project. As OHTs cover a majority of Ontario, Fellows may work in almost any part of the province.

Who can apply?

A. Individuals with a doctoral degree completed within the last seven years or who has completed their PhD requirements by the start date of the fellowship (September 1, 2021) are encouraged to apply*. The degree should be in health services and policy research or a related field such as epidemiology, health economics, population health, public health, or social studies of medicine.

B. Individuals with a thesis-based (research) graduate degree in health services and policy research or a related field who hold a professional degree (e.g., MD, BScN) or have at least five years of relevant professional experience in health and social service-related settings are also encouraged to apply. Individuals who satisfy this eligibility requirement and are currently pursuing a doctoral degree are required to also meet eligibility criterion A (i.e., complete their PhD by the start date of the fellowship). This reflects the full-time commitment of the fellowship.

Priority will be given to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those already in Canada on a study/work visa.

*Official confirmation of completion is required via a letter from the applicant’s Program Director or equivalent that they have completed their PhD requirements (PhD graduation, PhD oral defense, or at minimum have a confirmed oral defense date scheduled within two months of the fellowship start date).

How are Fellows selected?

Applicants are first vetted to ensure they meet the program requirements. (See How to Apply for more details.) Vetted candidates advance to the matchmaking phase, where they are matched with host OHTs. During this phase, candidates will be interviewed by a selection committee and ranked by prospective hosts. Candidates that are scored highest will be matched first, and so on until all fellowships are awarded.

Who can host?

Any OHT can apply to host a Fellow! All that is required is a good project, an enthusiastic mentor, and a commitment to continuous learning.

OHTs interested in hosting a Fellow are asked to identify a local project that aligns with their year 1 priorities. For example, the project might focus on a priority population (e.g., seniors, youth, mental health and addictions), on a core OHT building block (e.g., evaluation, population health management, primary care), or on other OHT priorities (e.g., COVID-19, integrated care). The key point is the project should advance work that is already underway in the OHT, thereby contributing to the overall impact of the OHT.

Host OHTs are also asked to identify a senior (executive-level) decision-maker who can supervise and mentor the Fellow. This is someone who will champion the role of the Fellow and connect them to key OHT staff, so that the Fellow is able to work effectively within the OHT. The host mentor plays a critical role in ensuring that outputs from the Fellow – whether these be evaluation data, knowledge products, etc. – are taken and utilized effectively by the OHT.

How are host OHTs selected?

A committee will review project proposals for alignment with OHT priorities and program objectives. (See how to apply [LINK] for more details.) OHTs with strong proposals will advance to the matchmaking phase. Note that while we hope to match all interested OHTs with Fellows, it is possible that some OHTs may not be matched due to the number of fellowships available or other program constraints.

Why host a Fellow?

As OHTs experiment with new models of care, they need local support to help plan, evaluate, and learn from their experiences. Feedback from OHTs indicates a need for resources and more hands-on support, particularly around implementation and evaluation. With their advanced training, OHT Impact Fellows can support implementation and evaluation of local priority projects and be a conduit for knowledge exchange and learning across OHTs.

Is there a cost to OHTs?

No. The Fellow’s salary is 100% covered by the fellowship program. The only costs for host OHTs are indirect: e.g., office space, mentor’s time, etc.

What is the relationship of this program to other OHT Supports?

The OHT Impact Fellows program is meant to complement existing OHT Supports such as ADVANCE, RISE, and the Central Evaluation. Having Fellows embedded within OHTs allows for more effective uptake of material provided by other OHT Supports. At the same time, Fellows can relay local needs to OHT Supports so that the materials they generate are aligned with what is needed on the ground.

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