Steering Innovation

CENTRE FOR HEALTH SYSTEMS LEARNING AND INNOVATION

STEERING INNOVATION

Dr. Deanne Taylor is on a mission to drive the future of health care for regional communities.

Dr. Deanne Taylor
Corporate Director of Research,
Interior Health

In addition to her roles with Interior
Health and the KGH Foundation, Dr.
Taylor is the Senior Research Advisor
for the Canadian Health Leadership
Network, Scientific Director of the Rural
Coordination Centre of BC and an
Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health
and Social Development, UBC Okanagan.

In any given moment, we have a choice – to drive or be driven. For Interior Health’s Corporate Director of Research, Dr. Deanne Taylor, it’s never really been a choice.

Last November, Dr. Taylor stood shoulder to shoulder with KGH Foundation CEO Allison (Allie) Young, to announce the biggest gift in the Foundation’s history – a landmark commitment of $5 million by the Jim Pattison Foundation to establish the Centre for Health Systems Learning and Innovation at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH). The gift comes as a massive vote of confidence for the Foundation’s Closer to home than you think campaign, a $40 million fundraising effort that aims to fund sweeping advancements to health care in the southern interior, including a $15 million commitment to support innovation. 

It was a historical day in the evolution of regional health care and health care philanthropy in the interior. 

It began years ago with a vision, driven by Dr. Taylor, to establish KGH as a hub for research. Not the kind that takes place in labs with microscopes, beakers and test tubes but rather Health Systems Research. Dr. Taylor’s primary role is to drive a learning health system, one that utilizes internally generated data and experience, and external proof (impact) and then puts that knowledge into practice in real-time. Health systems learning and transformation is an increasingly vital channel to address the unique needs of a given population. It’s a collaborative dance involving health care providers, researchers, patients, community members, and policymakers. 

Dr. Taylor has always been driven by curiosity. Her superpowers lie in translating theory and knowledge into real life practices to positively impact the experience of the people she is trying to help. 

“I’ve always worked full-time and done academic work at the same time. I like both,” says Dr. Taylor. “I’m curious about how social and health systems impact people in different ways.” 

With a bachelor’s degree in-hand, Dr. Taylor began her career in athletic therapy. She would go on to obtain a Masters of Community Disability Studies, a PhD in Community Health Sciences, and a Postdoctoral degree and a Fellowship in Health Systems Transformation. Later, Dr. Taylor’s experiences as a project leader with Fraser Health in long-term care provided the opportunity to truly observe systems in action, and their impact on people. Since joining Interior Health in 2014, her extensive knowledge and experience have allowed her to effectively bridge communication gaps between academia and the health care system, facilitating the integration of research into practical implementation, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes. 

Driving the vision for the Centre forward has been a remarkable undertaking. 

“The Centre will focus on health systems transformation and innovation in unique ways,” explains Dr. Taylor. “This includes advancing equity, accessibility, and the sustainability of health care, and enabling Interior Health physicians, clinicians and community care providers with support to not only provide world-class care but to explore what an optimal system could look like.” The conversation with the Foundation began in earnest during the pandemic. KGH Foundation CEO, Allison Young, invited Dr. Taylor and her colleague Dr. Devin Harris, Executive Medical Director of Quality and Research for Interior Health, to co-chair the clinical cabinet for a new campaign that aimed to fund both immediate needs and innovation to address the challenges the health system was experiencing. 

“The Closer to home than you think campaign is unique in that it has a health systems perspective,” says Dr. Taylor. “And I have to thank the KGH Foundation for having the courage to drive this type of change and be open to exploring how innovation and research can be supported by the community.” 

“The community of donors deserves credit too,” continues Dr. Taylor. “Certainly, they trust the Foundation to fund much-needed equipment for the hospital. But beyond that, they are trusting the Foundation with funds that will support research, technological advancements and innovative partnerships.”

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