As the year draws to a close, we seem predisposed to reflection. While 2021 is a year that many of us are glad to see come to an end, it was also a year of adapting, creating community, learning and sharing in new ways. The research community has adapted to significant changes in how work is developed and conducted and CAHSPR members have done this time and again this year. Although it may sound inelegant, my father’s highest praise was to comment on someone’s grit. I will take his lead and commend each of you in the Canadian health services and policy research community on your grit! This grit and determination is what Canadian healthcare needs at this time and our members have persevered through the difficulties of the pandemic, contributing to solutions that will improve our shared future in a post pandemic world.

COVID-19 forced us all to change how we live, work and how we meet to share knowledge. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to cause harm across the globe, it became clear that an in-person conference was not feasible for 2021. The CAHSPR planning committee developed a very successful virtual conference that was informed by lessons learned from our experience with the inaugural virtual conference held in 2020. We had dynamic panelists and speakers. The theme of “Hindsight, Insight and Foresight” framed robust discussions about inequity in healthcare, innovation, the adaptations made by the health services and policy research community, with a focus on what we can do to create a better path forward in caring for aging Canadians. We were proud to welcome a diverse audience to the conference and to earn the designation of Patients Included™ for Virtually CAHSPR 2021.

Like many organizations, at CAHSPR we have been grappling with how to best protect the health and wellbeing of our attendees, invited speakers, sponsors and our team in the face of uncertainty about the status of COVID19 in the Spring of 2022. The CAHSPR Board of Directors has decided we can best do this by holding the 2022 annual conference virtually. This decision was a difficult one and was reached recognizing that by foregoing an in-person conference we risk foregoing the robust networking, informal chats and breakout discussions that are an important part of the traditional in person CAHSPR conference. We are committed to making the experience as rich and interactive as possible for our community. While recognizing this decision may be disappointing to the vibrant community of CAHSPR researchers and policy makers, we believe it is the right decision. Virtually CAHSPR 2022 will be held May 31 to June 1, 2022. The call for abstracts has gone out and we are excited as we begin to shape a program that we know will be outstanding. Stay tuned.

In addition to planning for the 2022 conference we have exciting things taking shape in 2022 for CAHSPR that we will be sharing over the coming months. Watch here for news and get ready to dive in and get involved.

As we emerge from the pandemic and as we look to the future, this point in time finds us at a fork in the road so to speak. That fork has no signpost that illuminates the way to the “right” path. We are in uncharted territory. What I do know is that the best road will build on lessons learned during a difficult two years and will lead to transformation in those areas where the pandemic has shone a light on gaping and often pre-existing holes in society and the health system.

As Canada begins to build back and establishes our new normal after the disruption of the pandemic, the health services and policy community plays a key role in ensuring the Canadian healthcare system is stronger and will meet the needs of Canadians now and into the future. Thank you for all you have done during 2021 and all that you will do in 2022 and beyond.

Maggie Keresteci

Maggie Keresteci

Executive Director, CAHSPR