The Association of Ontario Health Centres is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Rayner, an innovative epidemiologist with extensive experience investigating interprofessional primary health care.

Dr. Rayner will develop and lead a new research program designed to build knowledge about how Ontario's primary health care system can do a better job serving vulnerable populations, a need recently highlighted by Health Quality Ontario in its report on the sector.

The new research program will investigate services and programs delivered by the Association's 109 member centres, which includes Community Health Centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, Nurse Practitioner-Led clinics and Community Family Health Teams, all of which focus on serving the needs of populations whose health is most at risk. Dr. Rayner's mandate is to establish partnerships with academia and other research partners in order to explore the health, and health care services, for these at risk populations served by AOHC members.

"One of the most important challenges our health system faces is how to improve performance serving people and communities that face barriers to health," says Dr. Rayner. "AOHC's research program will address this challenge in a very rigorous and systematic way. It will translate science into practice so the association's members can continuously improve what they do. It can also shape the overall evolution of how primary health care is delivered so that it meets the needs of individuals and populations."

AOHC is especially interested in exploring the unique attributes of its members' Health and Wellbeing service delivery model[external link]. The model applies a very comprehensive approach to primary health care delivery and features attributes that researchers have suggested may be linked to strong performance delivering services.

"Our members have some unique features," says Adrianna Tetley, AOHC Chief Executive Officer. "They are community-governed and they put a strong focus on the determinants of health by applying a community development approach. Our new research program will tell us more about the impact of these distinguishing features and how we can continue improving them."

Dr. Rayner, who holds a doctorate in epidemiology and biostatistics, from the University of Western Ontario has extensive experience working with administrative data bases, has authored several important research studies, several in collaboration with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

"Jennifer Rayner has been a driving force in Ontario for improved measurement to support research and quality improvement," says Dr. Rick Glazier, an ICES Senior Scientist. "Her major contributions have been in the Community Health Centre (CHC) sector but her influence and engagement extend throughout all of primary care in Ontario. Her pioneering work on data linkages and CHC profiles of health and health care have helped to demonstrate that CHCs do a superb job in providing primary care that includes many of Ontario's most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Her new role as AOHC Research Lead will give her even more scope to undertake and engage with others in advancing research that will result in improved health for all Ontarians. I greatly look forward to working with her in this new role."

Dr. Rayner takes on her new role in mid-January however members of the research community can reach her now at