Funded primarily by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF)—now the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI)—and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario Training Centre in Health Services and Policy Research (OTC) has been a consortium of six Ontario universities that offered graduate training leading to a Diploma in Health Services and Policy Research at Lakehead, Laurentian, McMaster, Ottawa, and York universities and to an equivalent qualification through the Collaborative Graduate Program in Health Services and Policy Research at the University of Toronto.
The competency-based program included the following features: student stipends, course availability at any of the 6 participating universities; summer institutes; distance learning opportunities; linkages with students and faculty across universities and disciplines; and field placement opportunities in policy and research settings across the province.
Additional funding for student stipends and varied projects was provided by several branches and agencies of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Mental Health and Rehabilitation Policy Unit, Health Human Resources Policy Branch, Research Unit of the Health System Planning and Research Branch, Nursing Secretariat, Ontario Women’s Health Council, and Local Health Integration Network Liaison Branch), the CIHR Institute for Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR), Health Canada’s Health Human Resources Strategies Branch,
the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, MITACS, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the Ontario Rehabilitation Research Advisory Network (ORRAN), the Population Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN), the Ontario Mental Health Foundation (OMHF), the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO, and the Ontario Research Coalition of Research Institutes/Centres on Health and Aging (ORC). Supplementary funding to support its EXecutive Training for Research Application Program (EXTRA) has also been provided by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF).
With 10 years of funding, the program—which was launched in July 2002 to build capacity in health services and policy research—provided training to close to 200 Ontario graduate students. The OTC was also able to fund four post-doctoral fellowships: A one-year fellowship in 2007-2008 and three 6-month fellowships in 2012.
In addition, as part of a partnership with the Executive Training for Research Application (EXTRA) Program, the centre has since 2004 provided mentoring support to about 80 Ontario senior health services executives enrolled in the EXTRA Program.
While the OTC will no longer be enrolling graduate students in the Diploma Program (as the CHSRF/CIHR funding ended August 2012), it will continue its partnership with EXTRA during 2013 to provide mentoring support the Ontario EXTRA Fellows. The information on the Diploma component of the OTC presented on this website is, therefore, provided now for reference only.
A special issue of Healthcare Policy (available online free of charge) provides a comprehensive view on the development of health services research capacity via Regional Training Centres.