Celebrating Research: Rachel Flynn

Hear from Assistant Professor Dr. Rachel Flynn who evaluates the sustainability of research-based products used to improve child health.

Allie Voisin - 24 January 2022

Rachel Flynn's interest in sustainability was sparked during her clinical role as a nurse where she experienced constant implementation of new practices and innovations, but a lack of effort in sustaining them. This inspired her research which involves evaluating both why and how improvements made to child health are sustained long term in healthcare settings, and how these improvements impact the health of children. 

Hear from Dr. Flynn on why this research is so rewarding, the challenges that come with it, and more through this Q & A. 

How’d you get into your area of research?

As a nurse, I was always interested in the area of healthcare improvement and how we can provide the best care for our patients. My interest in sustainability was sparked from my clinical role as a nurse where I experienced constant implementation of new practices and innovations, but a lack of effort in sustaining them. Furthermore, during my training as an implementation scientist trainee, I discovered great research on the science of implementation across child health contexts but a lack of research on how to sustain effective implementation efforts of innovations.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

It is very rewarding to work in partnership with health system stakeholders, parents and families to ensure that my research is relevant and meaningful to those that will benefit from it. This engagement also helps me to see the uptake of my research for practice and patient care improvement, which is very exciting. Working with students in the areas of implementation science and quality improvement for child health is also very rewarding and I love getting opportunities to teach in these areas of practice and research. I also find research collaborations and watching an idea develop into a research study very rewarding.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?

The most challenging piece for me as a new Assistant Professor has been administration and learning the logistical processes for HR, finance and IT. I have a lot of gratitude for those with expertise in these areas, who have provided me with excellent support.

Where do you want your research to be in 5 years?

I would like my research to be used in healthcare settings and systems as an operationalized theory that guides health system leaders, managers and providers on how to sustain effective innovations and contribute to enabling a learning health system. I want my research to be driven by the needs and priorities of children, their families and those in healthcare trying to sustain effective improvements that they have made. 

Where is your favourite place on campus? 

I really like the outdoor spaces on campus, especially in Autumn.