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Our vision is to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and societies through research and education in the social and behavioural health sciences.


Our mission is to advance and apply the social and behavioural sciences in the field of public health through the advancement of knowledge on the structures and processes that underlie health and health promotion, illness, premature mortality, injury and disability.


  • To conduct critical, multidisciplinary scholarship through a broad array of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives and research methods;
  • To integrate considerations of ethics and equity in our research and teaching;
  • To actively engage with current and future public health practitioners, policymakers, advocates, educators and researchers;
  • To collaborate with institutions, movements and groups such as community organizations, educational institutions, and government and non-governmental organizations locally, nationally and internationally, in research, education and advocacy;
  • To influence policy and practice through the production of scholarship and the effective translation of knowledge;
  • To educate students in the breadth and depth of social and behavioural science contributions to public health;
  • To promote health, well-being and resilience.

The Division fosters:

  • Multidisciplinary Scholarship grounded in a broad array of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives and research methods;
  • Active Engagement with current and future public health practitioners, policymakers, educators and researchers;
  • Collaboration with community organizations, scholarly institutions, government and non-governmental organizations locally, nationally and internationally;
  • Knowledge exchange that influences policy and practice.

The Contribution of the Social and Behavioural Sciences to Public Health

Public health is a complex field of practice that engages a diverse range of perspectives and approaches for researching and changing health and its determinants at a population level. According to CIHR (Canadian Institutes for Health Research), one of the four foundational knowledge pillars of public health is “behavioural and social science research applied to health”. The scientific task here is to understand and explain the nature and mechanisms of the individual, institutional and societal conditions and forces that influence health status, health-related behaviour, and the organization, process and outcomes of public health as a set of practices for prevention and intervention. More Info

Examples of SBHS Division scholarship include:

  • Development of innovative quantitative and qualitative research approaches;
  • Application of social science theories to public health scholarship;
  • Use of historical and critical approaches to understand the context and factors influencing public health and health care policy;
  • Improvement of public health policy and practice through research and health promotion;
  • Examination of the impact of social inequities on health across the life course;
  • Exploration of the role of social determinants of health in preventing disease and improving well-being;
  • Current examples of substantive foci include the social determinants of health, smoke-free policies, gambling, addictions and mental health, HIV and AIDS, environmental health justice, social movements, housing, global health policy, gender and health, youth, and occupational health and safety.


Division Head: Carol Strike
PhD Degree Program: Lisa Forman
MPH Degree Program: Social and Behavioural Health Sciences (Health Promotion): Suzanne Jackson
MPH Degree Program: Indigenous Health: Angela Mashford-Pringle
MPH Degree Program: Black Health: Roberta K. Timothy
Social and Behavioural Health Sciences Support: Marija Vasilevska 

Educational Programs: