AMS Healthcare announced the 2022 Research Fellows in Compassion and Artificial Intelligence on September 27, 2022. These 13 outstanding individuals, from across multiple disciplines, have been selected by an external expert review panel as leaders and innovators to address the challenges facing healthcare. The “AMS Compassion and AI” program focusses on promoting the integration of digital technology and compassionate care in the delivery of health care services and the education of health professionals, as well as facilitating the leadership needed to realize the promise of technology.
This year, Dr. Ibukun Abejirinde, scientific lead, virtual care, at the Women’s College Hospital (WCH) Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV), was awarded AMS Healthcare’s 2022 Research Fellow in Compassion and AI for her project titled “Re-Imagining Digital Health Compassion Through the Lens of Canadian Newcomers”.
Dr. Abejirinde is an implementation and evaluation researcher with a background in clinical medicine. Her AMS project will focus on understanding and enabling the role of digital technologies in healthcare delivery to Canadian newcomers (landed immigrants and refugees). “Through multidisciplinary mentorship, networking and professional development, the AMS Fellowship will catalyze my growth as a leader in the digital health landscape and equip me to advance principles of compassionate digital care in my work,” says Dr. Abejirinde.
Virtual care can be marginalizing, adding to the post-migration stressors experienced by newcomers and revealing deeper inequities within the healthcare system. “As a digital-first strategy becomes normalized within primary care, it is critical to leave no one behind,” says Dr. Abejirinde. With this in mind, Dr. Abejirinde will take an intersectional approach to explore how virtual care is perceived by newcomers, and what makes it compassionate – responsive, dignity-preserving and enabling positive patient–provider interactions. She will use the research to inform strategies for delivering compassionate virtual care that is meaningful to newcomers and promotes trust and health-seeking behaviour. Community engagement is crucial to realizing project objectives. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with WCH’s Crossroads Clinic, as well as two community health organizations, FCJ Refugee Centre and Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services.
Dr. Abejirinde has made profound contributions to virtual care delivery in Canada, working to bridge systemic gaps experienced by marginalized groups to advance health equity for all. She is a trailblazer in digital healthcare, and we congratulate her on this fellowship!