In Canada, we have dramatically reduced the burden of infectious disease with investments in sewage, water filtration, vaccination and screening that allow early intervention. But chronic diseases are becoming more common. Reasons include poor diet, sedentary behaviour, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, poverty/income inequality, changing work expectations, and social networks.
In much of the developing world, there is a double burden: infectious diseases are being better controlled, but deadly disease is spread through unclean water and lack of sanitation. While smoking is on the decline in the developed world, rates continue to rise in the developing world.
To stave off the ravages of chronic illness means investing in prevention by understanding and altering social, economic, political, and cultural factors that improve health outcomes.
Research in action
Scott Leatherdale is a CCO research chair whose research on community level intervention informs policies and programs for physical activity, nutrition, and the prevention of alcohol abuse and problem gambling.
Dave Hammond is a CIHR award winning researcher who is improving the design of national and international policies and regulations such as labeling systems for tobacco and nutrition.
John Garcia uses 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors, as well as his research, to enhance the training of health professionals and improve the evaluation of chronic disease prevention policies and programs.
Joel Dubin is a biostatistian improving the analysis of longitudinal data to better evaluate policies and programs intended to reduce cancer, tobacco use, and kidney disease.
Janice Husted is an epidemiologist who is improving our understanding of rheumatic arthritis and mental health.
Jane Law’s work in geo-informatics and Bayesian spatial modelling informs policies and programs to prevent cardiovascular disease and crime.
John Mielke is a neurophysiologist who studies how nutrition, stress, and injury affect the brain.
Laurie Hoffman-Goetz is a physiologist who examines how physical activity enhances immune function and prevents cancer.
Peter Hall's research examines brain-behavior relationships that have implications for the development and prevention of chronic illnesses, particularly those affecting older adults (e.g., Type 2 diabetes).
The School also has strong connections to scientists and staff in the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact.