Transforming public health in the 21st century


Throughout the 20th century, public health measures have had a great impact on the health of Canadians. Various causes of death and illness have been alleviated through breakthroughs such as vaccination and control of infectious diseases.

Today, emerging and increasingly complex threats — like alarming rates of chronic disease, water and food borne illness and climate change — pose different kinds of risk to health. Old paradigms may no longer be as relevant for problem solving.

The new School of Public Health and Health Systems is focusing its training, research and service on solving major, emerging health issues relevant to Canada and countries around the world: chronic disease prevention and management; health and aging; health care system integration, management and informatics; food and water safety, security and governance; reducing health inequality including poverty and Aboriginal health issues; and health and the built environment.

These challenges require systemic, sustainable, and creative solutions applied at local, provincial/state, national, and international levels. Left unaddressed, these challenges will overwhelm health care services and undermine our quality of life and prosperity.

The School of Public Health and Health Systems is training a new generation of public health professionals, adept at thinking and responding systematically. Our trans-disciplinary approach fosters the connections and competencies needed for developing innovative and integrated solutions.

We are focused on:

  • Cultivating networks and partnerships to foster research-to-practice-to- policy opportunities;

  • Providing a greater consumer orientation, easier access and participation in a ‘hands-on’ problem based learning environment;

  • Providing integrated ‘practice centres’ for training students and fostering community outreach;

  • Creating new opportunities and different models for training programs that are more accessible, responsive and relevant;

  • Fostering greater integration and new trans-disciplinary research and service clusters in collaboration with other academic units; and

  • Creating new and enhancing existing areas of expertise and research.

By transforming public health practice, education and research, the School of Public Health and Health Systems is contributing interventions — policies, programs, services, processes, structures, communication, surveillance and training — to significantly impact both current and emerging health challenges here in Canada and around the globe.