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UBC postdoc receives CIHR-IHSPR Rising Star Award for doctoral work

Lindsay Hedden, a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Medicine, has received this year’s Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)'s  Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR) Rising Star Award, for her work on health services delivery and workforce issues in primary healthcare.

IHSPR is dedicated to supporting graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and to recognizing the research excellence and knowledge translation initiatives of these emerging health services and policy researchers at an early stage in their career. The award recognizes the excellence of Canadian research and innovative knowledge translation.

Hedden received the Rising Star Award for an article she published based on her doctoral work at the UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, under the supervision of now Emeritus Professor Morris Barer. According to her the article answers a question that has long been asked, and she is happy that CIHR-IHSPR recognized this as an important contribution.

"For my doctoral work I was really interested in this question of why we have more primary care physicians per capita than ever before and yet anecdotal reports of shortages are becoming more and more frequent,” Hedden explained. “There's an increase in the number of women who are practicing medicine and there has been these anecdotal concerns of women always working part time."

But what she found was that the primary driver of shortages is a trend towards reduced per-physician clinical activity over time. The Ministry of Health’s reliance on static headcounts as measures of supply masks important workforce changes that are affecting patients’ experience of care. She concluded that BC’s primary care shortage is likely to worsen without intervention.

As a doctoral student, Hedden received the CIHR Doctoral Research Award, UBC’s Four-Year Doctoral Fellowship, the Western Regional Training Centre for Health Services ResearchDoctoral Studentshipand the Transdisciplinary Understanding and Training on Research in Primary Health Care Doctoral Studentship.

After completing her PhD, Hedden remained at UBC as a postdoc to work with Drs. Stirling Bryan and Larry Goldenberg and the Vancouver Prostate Centre on their Supportive Care Program. Her postdoctoral work is funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and Prostate Cancer Canada.

"I am conducting a cost effectiveness evaluation of this [initiative] to try and determine, is this a program that is helping men and their partners cope with the prostate cancer diagnosis and is it doing so using the optimal amount of resources."

Hedden says whether you're looking at it from a cancer control lens or you're looking at it from a primary healthcare lens, we need to make some advancements in terms of how we measure capacity in the health system.

"I've been really lucky in terms of the mentorship that I've received through UBC, not only in a formal capacity through my PhD and my postdoctoral supervisors, but also in an informal capacity through working with other students and other faculty members. I think that's been the biggest contribution," Hedden concluded.