Erica Barbazza

University of Toronto/CIHI, Toronto, Canada

January-April (?) 2020

As someone who has lived abroad for nearly a decade, the prospect of a secondment sending me home – back to my childhood house to live with my parents, with the possibility to reconnect with lifelong friends and rediscover the Canadian health services research landscape – was truly thrilling. 

In January 2020, I began my secondment in Toronto, splitting my time between both the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and its North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s Primary Health Care Information Team. This collaboration between an academic and policy partner would prove to be a huge asset to our study exploring the current and potential use of EMR data for primary health care (PHC) performance measurement across the country.

While the secondment has been paralleled by wildly unexpected circumstances, it has certainly not changed the learning potential of my placement. My numerous interviews with Canadian stakeholders and researchers were hugely insightful, leaving me encouraged by the great momentum across the country around the development of PHC performance measurement. My team at both CIHI and UofT embodied Canadian friendliness to a degree I had forgotten and was pleased to rediscover. And my time in Toronto – when it was possible to explore – was a reminder of just how great a city is when it embraces its public for their differences.

As my placement wraps up at the end of April, when and if it is possible to return to Europe – I will certainly never forget “that time I went home to Toronto”, and really stayed home!