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Providence Research Profiles: Meet Dr. Amy Salmon
By Grace Jenkins
Over the next few months Providence Research, in an effort to shine the light on our many notable researchers, will be profiling the careers of those who work within our inspiring research community. This month we are profiling Dr. Amy Salmon, Centre Associate Director with the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHÉOS), a clinical faculty member with UBCs School of Population and Public Health, and recently appointed Director of Clinical Faculty Affairs, with the UBC Faculty of Medicine.
In this new role, she will be providing leadership and support for the clinical faculty within the UBC Faculty of Medicine. UBC has close to 11,000 clinical faculty members – faculty members who are practicing health professionals, whom Dr. Salmon will help connect and engage with.
“The reason that I’m a clinical faculty member is because I’ve always sought out and preferred to do research and evaluation work that’s embedded inside the health system,” she says.
Her research at CHÉOS focuses in the areas of health system and services. She works with programs within Providence Health Care to improve how they are delivering care to patients. Throughout her career, she has been drawn in her work to programs focused on integrated care for people who have more complex health needs.
Providence Health Care and CHÉOS are leaders in bringing developmental evaluation into the health systems and services landscape.
“It’s something unique that we offer, that isn’t duplicated within other health care organizations in the province, and I think we’re seeing the benefits that this approach to evaluation brings,” says Dr. Salmon.
Transforming systems with research and evaluation
Before she came to CHÉOS, her research focused on health system and services approaches involving the delivery of integrated care services to people affected by mental health and substance use issues. She worked with Sheway, an outreach program that provides support for pregnant people affected by those issues in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
CHÉOS recruited her in 2016 to lead the developmental evaluation of Foundry, a province-wide network of health services focused on youth mental health and substance use. While Dr. Salmon had previously been working with a different population, the integrated health and social care model they were working to develop, was very familiar.
Dr. Salmon’s applied health systems and services research involves working in partnership with programs within Providence Health Care, as well as other health authorities and organizations, which are aiming to transform their services. Because programs working in this system-transformation mindset are innovating from the ground up, not improving or replicating a pre-existing initiative, they often have clear long-term goals, but do not have evidence available to help make important decisions about how best to achieve them. That is where Dr. Salmon comes in to support these programs.
Often, this is through embedding developmental evaluation and research in the early stages of these system transformation initiatives. This allows near-real time data to be collected that leaders in the health system can use to make decisions about how to build these programs.
Dr. Salmon began working with CHÉOS’s seniors and long-term care programs in 2018, focusing on efforts to transform the culture of care provided in long-term care homes. Care for seniors is an organizational and clinical focus at Providence Health Care, but it has been challenging in the past to attract and support the scientists needed to focus on health systems and services for this patient group.
She brought together the Seniors Care Research Group, a team who share a strong passion for seniors care and research to support this patient population. They are working to develop a multidisciplinary senior’s care research program that will position them to support other forms of system transformation in the seniors care space.
Collaboration to advance health outcomes
One of Dr. Salmon’s favorite parts of the work she does at CHÉOS is getting to collaborate with a skilled, passionate and diverse group of people who have a common goal of advancing health outcomes for many different people inside our health system.
“I’m very inspired by the work that my colleagues do here, and I feel very grateful to have an opportunity to help contribute to the collective work that we do here,” she says.
While there are challenges facing the health care system, she gets to witness and support the energy for meaningful change that she sees inside it.
“From my vantage point as an embedded researcher, I just really feel very grateful to have the opportunity to support people who see those challenges, who take them seriously, and who are rolling up their sleeves to create something much better, that our society needs and that I think we can all be proud of.”
At Providence Research, we are most fortunate to have Dr. Salmon exploring new avenues of care and options for PHC’s patent population and surrounding community.