I’m two years post-PhD and a lecturer in healthcare management for over ten years, before which I was a manager in the English NHS and a government economist. My whole working life has been entirely about healthcare and specifically trying to figure out the multiple conundrums of how the system delivers for the population it serves. However, my route to the PhD has been quite atypical, achieved part-time over many years whilst delivering education for students and NHS staff, rather than being able to fully focus on research.
Much like building an academic career, the organisation of health care is complex. I firmly believe that to advance them both, we need to work together much more in an interdisciplinary and intergenerational manner. As one of three PhD/ECR representatives at SHOC, I’m keen to be the voice of practitioner-academics, early career researchers and academics (ECRs/ECAs), as well as others in the midst of their doctoral studies or who have recently completed and exited academia, but continue to maintain an interest in organising healthcare research.
To do that effectively, through SHOC, Jennifer, Elizabeth and I want to hear from PhDs, ECRs, ECAs and others, as well as their supervisors, mentors and senior colleagues as to what we can do to best represent the interests of the next generation of organising healthcare researchers. Please come and collaborate with us as we look forward to two years of questions, development and growth before we meet again at OBHC in Manchester in 2020.
Those who attended this year’s OBHC conference may recall hearing Henry Mintzberg present on the myths of healthcare. Though many of his insights ring true, one in particular struck me: Healthcare is a calling. I have only been involved in this sector for the past few years of my doctoral studies, but in that short time I’ve come to understand this “calling”. Management theory, psychology, and organizational behaviour have always been interests of mine, which I’ve previously pursued through my MSc and my work in the not-for-profit sector. However, it was not until I began my PhD that I came to appreciate just how vital the organization of health services and systems is to the populations and communities that most need those systems.
There were many significant lessons I took away from my first OBHC conference, however one in particular was driven home by the PhD/ECR Pre-Conference Day: The value of our work (theoretical, practical, managerial, or otherwise) is only further enhanced when we have opportunities to truly engage with and learn from one another. There is so much innovative work being done by senior and junior professionals, early career researchers and doctoral students alike, and we would be remiss not to keep up with the activities of our fellow colleagues around the world. As inspiring as a well-run conference can be, we need an opportunity to connect more than once every 2 years! It is our hope that we can use this year's conference as a ‘jumping off point’ to start a dialogue across SHOC around how to create those opportunities for collaboration and learning amongst our fellow PhD students, ECRs, and all others who are driving the future direction of this field.
As one of three PhD/ECR representatives, I am looking forward to working with and hearing from each of you about how to foster this community of people who share the same calling in innumerably different ways.
As I am completing my second year as a PhD student in Health Sciences Research at University of Sherbrooke in Quebec – Canada, I feel thrilled and privileged to act as one of the three PhD/ECR representatives of SHOC. I am a recipient of a doctoral award from Quebec’s Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Montreal (2013), and a master in public health from University of Montreal’s School of Public Health (2015). As an undergraduate, I developed a strong interest in social health inequality issues – which triggered my entry in the non-profit sector. I worked for five years as a caregiver for various vulnerable sub-populations but for the past three years, I was privileged to be involved in different pan-Canadian research projects addressing the challenges and opportunities around health policy and innovation, particularly working with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI). My main research interests focus on health systems governance, transformation and adaptation dynamics, with a particular interest in performance and innovation management capacities. Since 2016, I am also an active member of the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR)’s Student Working Group, which I will Co-Chair in 2018-2019.
The starting point for me to promote students’, post-doctoral fellows’ and early career researchers’ roles within SHOC is the theme of this year’s OBHC conference: “crossing boundaries across borders in healthcare”. Through my first experience as an attendee of OBHC’s conference, I was stunned by variety of strengths, passions and ambitions carried by the PhD/ECR members. Not only do we benefit from a high-level students/trainee international community in organizational research, but also from multiple opportunities to capitalize on our assets to bring about change in academia. By crossing disciplines, from healthcare delivery to policy, we can make our research new, exciting and actionable by managers, providers, patients and citizens.
While we gain from tremendous OBHC conferences every two years, I strongly believe that our potential can sustain and grow on a more continuous pace. The idea from this point is to use the support of the SHOC community, and fill this space that is offered to us to design it as authentic and bold. Our PhD/ECR agenda may translate into transdisciplinary scientific themes and formats, stimulate challenging ideas and ask audacious questions. We want to welcome you to develop your interests as PhD/ECR members of SHOC, so that we can lower the gap between producing to renewing knowledge in organization studies, for the benefit of healthcare populations.
As one of three PhD/ECR representatives, I am eager to co-construct this initiative as genuine and carrier of your hopes.
Élizabeth Côté-Boileau, MSc
PhD Student, University of Sherbrooke, Canada Health Sciences Research Charles-Le Moyne Research Center – Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean on Health Innovations