Development of a Community of Practice to Advance Supply Chain Resilience, Workforce Sustainability and Economic Recovery in Canada’s Post Pandemic Future

University of Windsor | $498,832

Ontario University of Windsor 2021 SSHRC

COVID‑19 has highlighted the significant impact that supply chain capacity and performance have on the ability of health systems to manage the demands of this unprecedented global pandemic. The critical link between supply chain capacity, patient safety, workforce safety and organizational performance contributes to the high degree of complexity of supply chain infrastructure and processes in the healthcare sector. Supply chains in the healthcare sector are global and very complex, involving multiple and varied stakeholders, including global supplier networks, a diverse range of health organizations, regional shared services organizations, national group purchasing organizations and provincial health systems. Emerging outcomes from the Project Director’s COVID‑19 research have demonstrated limitations in supply chain performance and capacity in Canada’s health systems. Supply chain teams in seven Canadian provinces were found to source and procure products (PPE, ventilators) from global networks of suppliers independently, with little evidence of coordination across organizations, jurisdictions or teams, all competing with each other for products during critical shortages. Gaps in knowledge across the many supply chain teams further precluded collaboration to achieve a more proactive and effective response to the devastating impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has laid bare the need to learn from the past, sharing knowledge and expertise across many stakeholder groups, by creating opportunities (forums, channels) for collaboration to strengthen supply chain resilience, capacity and coordination across jurisdictions. There is an urgency for new approaches and platforms to enable knowledge sharing, collaboration and coordination among the many supply chain teams and stakeholders across Canada, informed by research, to advance and strengthen supply chain resilience, and contribute to Canada’s global competitiveness to effectively respond to future disruptions in supply, to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. The purpose of this partnership grant is to respond to this urgent need by creating a Community of Practice (CoP) to establish a formalized knowledge mobilization and research platform to connect, inform and mobilize the collective expertise of diverse healthcare supply chain stakeholders across Canada. This phased initiative will: Build a CoP, which will create a culture of learning and sharing among diverse stakeholders (Phase I); co-design collaborative supply chain models, practices and measurement tools (Phase II); and validate solutions and scale the CoP for long-term impact (Phase III). The proposed CoP brings together multiple domains of knowledge represented by a pan-Canadian team of researchers and partner organizations from industry, the health workforce, government, health systems, a citizens advocacy group (Imagine Citizens Network), etc, who have worked with the Project Director to envision and co-design the program. The domains of knowledge include but are not limited to 1) Supply Chain, Operations and Logistics (leading scholars from Canada’s Business Schools); 2) leaders from diverse partner organizations who bring Health Workforce (e.g., Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons), Social Determinants of Health, and Health Economics expertise; and 3) Policy, Health System, Federal Government (e.g., Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada) and Provincial Government leadership expertise. The team includes 18 researchers, and the 40 partner organizations include recognized leaders, many of whom have collaborated with the Director on other large programs of research or knowledge mobilization.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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