Sept. 14, 2021

UCalgary Nursing postdoctoral fellow awarded CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellowship

Dr. Fay Strohschein (RN, PhD) was awarded one of 45 postdoctoral fellowships across the country for her work addressing age-related concerns in the care of older Albertans with cancer and their families
Fay Strohschein
Dr. Fay Strohschein (PhD)

In June of this year, UCalgary Nursing postdoctoral fellow Dr. Fay Strohschein (RN, PhD) was awarded a CIHR HSIF (Health Systems Impact Fellowship) in partnership with the Cancer Strategic Clinical Network (CSCN) in Alberta Health Services and the faculty.

Strohschein’s award was one of 45 postdoctoral fellowships across the country announced by the Government of Canada in August.

Jointly supervised by Barbara O’Neill and Dr. Paula Robson of the CSCN and Dean Sandra Davidson, Strohschein says her program of work will include implementation of innovations to address age-related concerns within the Alberta cancer diagnostic pathway and tumour site treatment pathways.

“Age-related health, functional and social changes impact cancer care,” she says.

“To advance a learning health system that strengthens outcomes, experiences and value in the care of older Albertans with cancer and their families, I’ll engage with stakeholders to build partnerships, harness diverse sources of data and evidence to propose innovations that address age-related concerns through community and cancer care collaboration.”

Strohschein completed her PhD in nursing at McGill University in 2020, with a joint focus on psychosocial oncology and aging. Her PhD research provided in-depth insight into cognitive, practical and relational processes of treatment decision-making among older adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

She joined UCalgary Nursing as a postdoctoral fellow earlier this year and has been working with Davidson and alumna and adjunct professor, Dr. Linda Watson (RN, PhD), who manages the Applied Research & Patient Experience team within Cancer Care Alberta. Their aim is to align health-care delivery with the needs of older Albertans with cancer and their families by conducting age-analysis of patient reported, clinical, administrative, and survey datasets to identify gaps in care for this rapidly growing population of patients.

"The Faculty of Nursing has considerable research expertise in both oncology care and older adult care," says Davidson. "Fay’s background and expertise brings these two specializations together seamlessly.

"Our partnership with the Cancer Strategic Clinical Network creates an optimal environment where we can implement evidence-based innovations with the aim to improve the experiences and care delivery for older adults with cancer in our province." 

The application process for the HSIF is rigorous: candidates must find and engage a health system partner and then work with them to develop the CIHR submission. But Strohschein says it was all worth it. “I am excited to continue working at the intersection of cancer and aging, and to gain experience in health services research within the expert team of the Cancer Strategic Clinical Network."

CIHR’s HSIF program gives PhD students and postdoctoral fellows on-the-job learning opportunities in health system organizations across Canada, embedding research capacity directly within these organizations. The fellows bring their unique skillsets, new ideas and innovative approaches to help address real-world health system challenges. While embedded in these organizations, fellows receive unparalleled access to mentors and leadership training to build their capacity for advancing evidence-informed health system changes that improve health outcomes for Canadians.