Main navigation english

Canadian Public Health Association

National leadership for public health research in the 1990s

Brief to Health and Welfare Canada
Approved by the Canadian Public Health Association
Board of Directors, December 1991


At the Canadian Public Health Association's (CPHA) June 1990 Annual General Meeting, the CPHA membership approved a resolution, "Status of National Health Research and Development Program (NHRDP) Funding," which addresses concerns about public health research in Canada. CPHA's Public Policy and Legislation Committee and the Executive Board requested the development of a paper which would present CPHA's concerns and recommendations.

A draft paper prepared by CPHA members Dr. Larry Chambers and Dr. John Eyles was approved by the CPHA Board of Directors at their December 1991 meeting. Following further consultation with CPHA experts, the paper was redrafted as a CPHA brief for wide distribution.

CPHA would like to acknowledge the input of the Board of Directors and CPHA members to this paper and to express appreciation to the authors. Dr. John Eyles is Professor of Geography at McMaster University, where he is also an associate member of the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis. He is also currently Visiting Scholar with the Ontario Premier's Council on Health, Well-Being and Social Justice. Dr. Larry Chambers is consultant epidemiologist in the Hamilton-Wentworth Department of Public Health Services, a Teaching Health Unit affiliated with McMaster University. Dr. Chambers also holds a cross-appointment as professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics in McMaster's Faculty of Health Services.

Executive Summary

In the 1990s current knowledge and technologies will not be adequate to deal with the many important public health problems facing Canada. This brief argues that national leadership in public health research is essential to generate new knowledge and technologies necessary to promote the health of Canadians. The nature of the new public health, linking it to the phases of health care provision is outlined. It puts forward reasons why public health research is important, namely to save money and increase benefits, to present action plans for health, to develop new tools for research and understanding and to foster the development of communities. It concludes with two sets of recommendations: (1) research priorities relevant to intersectoral and health care sector matters; and (2) options for implementing the new public health research agenda in terms of organizational structures, the role of personnel and funding mechanisms. Diversified funding strategies are seen as necessary to help achieve the outlined research objectives.