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2. How to make research activities work for YOU in transformation rather than overwhelm your organization

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the critical challenges already faced by Canada’s health system, including that of planning for, and supporting the current and future workforce. 


While in theory research can optimize organizational performance and help an organization meet its HR goals, too many organizations find that requests to 'participate in' or support research add even more stress to an overburdened system. In spite of significant investment of resources, research involvement often results in little or no benefit to the organization. Health leaders have identified a number of challenges related to research involvement - often related to lack of consideration of organizational expertise and priorities. We need to re-imagine research in a way that actually supports organizations in their goals of organizational innovation and transformation, and includes the evidence-in-context of managerial and clinician experience.


Learning objectives:

The workshop relates to the conferences themes in two ways by preparing leaders to:  1) recognize the capacity (including staff, processes, and partners hip mechanisms) required to respond to research effectively, and 2) harness the wealth of research opportunities emerging that address health human resources strategies for the future.  Learning objectives are to:


•    Identify HR implications of common responses (strategies to build research capacity of existing staff, collaboration with academic centres, and ‘embedding researchers within their organizations) to expectations of research involvement

•    Discuss strategies for protecting organizational resources and staff from inappropriate requests for research involvement

•    Illustrate a decision-making algorithm to respond to academic requests for organizational research involvement

•    Review innovative take-home tools to support organizations in building shared organizational understanding of the role of research within the organization, clarifying the role of research in relation to quality improvement and evaluation, and identifying research objectives and priorities


Activities, Methods, Innovations

Activities will include a short slide presentation, participant discussion and problem solving around HR issues, and opportunities to apply tools (e.g., decision tree) to build capacity within health organizations (big and small) to assist optimizing research in health human resources planning. 


Outcomes, Results  

It is expected that participants will achieve clarity on next steps needed to develop a proactive response to expectations of research use and participation as they respond to current challenges. 



The content of this workshop is timely as leaders face many challenges to transform healthcare. It is based on actual challenges and solutions experienced by health leaders and on the free online resource “It’s time to talk about our relationship with research”, based on health leader experience (IKT Resources – IKT Research Network (


Leadership Lessons Learned

Knowledge and skills gained will support participants in providing leadership in decision making about research involvement:  helping ensure that those decisions a) respect organizational priorities, b) protect staff time, c) ensure integration of clinical and managerial expertise, d) build staff skills and confidence.  


System Changes

Understanding what questions to ask and what is required to ensure research investments are working for organizations and teams rather than overwhelming them are key to successful transformation and addressing human resources challenges in innovative ways.



Ingrid Botting - Corporate Secretary, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

Sarah Bowen - Independent Consultant

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