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Two postdoctoral fellows join the department of family medicine to lead embedded health system research

This September, two postdoctoral fellows will make the McMaster University department of family medicine (DFM) their academic home while working closely with health service organizations.

Image of Melissa Pirrie (left), Kate McLeod (right), both looking at camera and smiling
Melissa Pirrie (left), Kate McLeod (right)

Melissa Pirrie and Kate McLeod have been awarded two of only 50 postdoctoral fellowships available through the 2021 Health System Impact Fellowship program of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. These fellowships give postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to conduct research within health service and related organizations — contributing their analytical and methodological expertise to the problems facing those organizations.

McLeod will be working with the Ministry of the Solicitor General. Dr. Fiona Kouyoumdjian, Assistant Professor with DFM will be her academic supervisor.

Working with Niagara Region Emergency Medical Services, Pirrie’s academic supervisor will be Dr. Gina Agarwal, Professor with DFM with whom Pirrie has worked for many years.

Support for postdoctoral fellows aligns with the vision of the David Braley Primary Care Research Collaborative, launched by DFM in fall 2020. Together with Monica Molinaro (Banting Postdoctoral Fellow), Pirrie and McLeod make a total of three postdocs who started with DFM on September 1, 2021.

Melissa Pirrie

Pirrie isn’t new to the department, joining us in 2013 as a research coordinator — contributing to research projects while simultaneously working on her PhD in health studies and gerontology at the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health.

Pirrie’s research focuses on health inequities among marginalized populations, building on Agarwal’s work. Working with Niagara Emergency Medical Services (NEMS), she will evaluate the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care (CPLTC) program, which will implement the Community Paramedicine at Clinic (CP@clinic) program created by Agarwal. CPLTC aims to keep seniors safe at home while they wait for long-term care.

Beyond her work with NEMS, Pirrie will be participating in a further program of research on the health of people living in social housing buildings, healthcare access and health inequities for the growing population of seniors living on low incomes.

Kate McLeod

McLeod, who recently completed her PhD work at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, is conducting research focused on health and healthcare equity for people who experience incarceration.

Working with the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General, McLeod’s postdoctoral research program will evaluate current policies and identify and address priorities for change. McLeod’s research will support and advance improvements in service delivery and connections with health and social services in the community.

McMaster University Department of Family MedicineMichael G. DeGroote School of Medicine