Policy & systems research

Our research

Admin co-leads: Stuart Peacock and Lindsay Hedden

The policies and systems that govern human life have a direct impact on our health. In this research challenge area, we look at how policy, governing systems, and their implementations affect health in different communities, with particular interest in the disproportionate impact on Indigenous populations and marginalized people. Through academic research and an applied approach that engages stakeholders at all levels of our health care system, we aim to improve overall population health, and close the care gap between different communities.

Our two key focus areas are Indigenous health governance, and implementation science. We strongly believe in addressing health inequity, and in ensuring that evidence-based policy functions not just in theory, but in practice. We work closely with Indigenous communities, in a sincere partnership that aims to close social and economic gaps and advance Indigenous self-support. Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, we assess the long-term impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities, including disparities in education, infrastructure, and political economy, developing an understanding of how systems shape lives, and in turn impact health. We analyse complex systems in terms of community impact, with the aim to challenge systemic inequity, and address the problems systems founded on colonization necessarily inherit. We are led by the community, to ensure a patient-oriented approach to evidence-based care.



  • Joao Luiz Bastos racism and health, racial health inequities, intersectional health inequities, health inequities, social determinants of health
  • Nicole Berry Global health, gender & reproductive health, maternal/child health, participatory methods
  • Tania Bubela Health and biotechnology law and policy, knowledge translation in health
  • Chris Buse Environmental Health; Planetary Health; Health Impacts of Climate Change; Ecosystem Approaches to Health (Ecohealth); Ecological Determinants of Health; Health Equity; Health Impact Assessment; Cumulative Impacts of Resource Extraction; Mixed-Methods Research; Public Health Policy; Knowledge Synthesis
  • Kiffer Card The Social Determinants of Infectious Disease; The Health Effects of Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Social Disconnection; Climate Related Ecological Distress; Recreational and Therapeutic Use of Psychoactive and Psychedelic Substances; The Socio-Political Determinants of Health and Health Inequities; Motivated Social Cognition and Behaviour; Stigmatized Behaviour; Health and Social Policy; Implementation Science and Knowledge Mobilization
  • Nicole Catherine Child health equity, children's health policy, child health and development, early prevention of avoidable adversities
  • Susan Erikson Medical anthropology; ethnographic research; global political economy of health; datafication; financialization; digital health technologies; planetary health risk financing; desirable health futures
  • Maya Gislason Social inequities in health, eco-social health, planetary health, ecosystem approaches to health, climate change, intergenerational climate equity, cumulative impacts of intensive resource extraction, Indigenous health and wellness, community participation, Patient-Oriented Research, critical pedagogy, public health, equity informed mixed methods evidence building, interplay between human, animal and ecosystem health, governance, structural and epistemic justice.
  • Lindsay Hedden Primary care, health equity, health policy, health workforce, virtual care and public/private roles for financing and delivery of health services.
  • Kelley Lee Global infectious disease governance, cross-border health measures and border management, pandemic preparedness and response, globalization and health, commercial determinants of health
  • Anne-Marie Nicol Health communication; toxicology; social marketing; risk perception; risk assessment
  • Bohdan Nosyk Economic evalation and mathematical modelling; substance abuse; HIV/AIDS; illicit drug dependence and treatment
  • John O'Neil Global health, Indigenous health systems, Southeast Asia, implementation and community-based health system research
  • Stuart Peacock Cancer survivorship, health economics and cancer, health services and policy, research in cancer, and ethics and public engagement
  • William Small Ethno-spatial epidemiological methods, illicit drug use, HIV prevention
  • Julia Smith Pandemic preparedness and response, health policy, Intersectional feminist analysis, social commercial and political determinants of health, global health
  • Jeremy Snyder Public health ethics, medical tourism, vulnerable populations, health worker migration
  • Julian M. Somers Clinical psychology, substance use & mental health, primary health care reform, homelessness
  • Kate Tairyan Preventive medicine, global health, computer-assisted technology, knowledge translation
  • Kimberly Thomson Children's health policy, child and youth mental health, social-emotional development, life course epidemiology, developmental trajectories, intergenerational mental health, social determinants of health, population and public health, prevention and health promotion, evaluation, longitudinal studies, intergenerational cohort studies
  • Scott Venners Epidemiology, Indigenous health, environmental health
  • David Whitehurst Health economics, outcomes measurement and valuation, economic evaluation, patient-oriented research
  • Meghan Winters Epidemiology, GIS applications, built environment & health, transportation & city design

Recent theses

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Coming soon.