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  • February 5, 2021 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
  • February 12, 2021 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
  • February 19, 2021 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
  • February 26, 2021 from 10:00am to 12:00pm

With the onset of the COVID-19 era, we are at somewhat of a crossroads in the field of population health research. Data from several countries is demonstrating massive racial and socioeconomic inequalities in risk for acquiring Covid-19 and for the most severe associated outcomes. In Canada this data has caused a groundswell of public and political attention on health inequalities, and of discourses about what policies may best address them. At this moment in time, it is well worth taking stock of the field of population health, which hasn’t been done for some time. What are the major findings of the 21st century to date? Where is the field headed in terms of its conceptual orientation to population health and health inequalities? What are the major data and methodological developments that will facilitate innovative population health research? What systems and structures would facilitate the uptake of findings from population health science to inform policies and other ways of making structural changes to society?


Introduction to the Symposium

Dr. Vivek Goel and Dr. Arjumand Siddiqi

Historical Roots of Population Health and the Benefit of Hindsight

This session will be stage-setting.  It will give a sense of what we are talking about when we say, “population health.” What were the beginnings of the ‘population health’ movement in the literature? What were the main motivations for the initial set of research questions? What were the key findings? What did the originators envision were the implications of their work?

Confirmed Speakers:

Dr. Ichiro Kawachi (Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

Dr. John Frank (Professor, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh)

Dr. Michèle Lamont (Professor, Department of Sociology, Harvard University)


Racial Health Inequalities

This session will examine one of the most important ways in which population health is patterned in major immigrant-receiving countries.  What are the key findings to date on the associations between race, racism, and health? What are the pressing questions on the horizon in this area, particularly as they pertain to policies and other societal conditions (e.g., impact of populism)?

Confirmed Speakers

Dr. Ana Diez Roux (Professor and Dean, Drexel University School of Public Health)

Dr. Roberta Timothy (Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto)

Dr. Wiliam Darity, Jr. (Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University)


Major Emerging Insights in Population Health / Health Inequalities

We are in a period where there are some critical emergent population health phenomena that require spotlighting.  Life expectancy in many population groups is stagnating or outright declining.  Socioeconomic health inequalities are growing. A growing literature implicates neoliberal economic trends and policy trajectories.  Covid-19 has also had large implications for population health and health inequities.  This session will explore these issues.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr. Sandro Galea (Dean and Professor, School of Public Health, Boston University)

Dr. Laura Rosella (Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto)

Dr. Michael Stepner (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Economics, Harvard University)

Dr. David R. Williams (Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)


How Does Population Health Science Touch the Public Discourse and Policies?

While continued investment in the development of population health science is crucial, there is also growing recognition of the importance of communicating the current body of research to the public and policymakers.  In Canada, policymakers are drawing on population health science to understand how to form income assistance policy.  In the era of Covid-19, the importance of communicating population health science to the public and to policymakers has been made even more apparent.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr. Sharon Friel (Professor, Australian National University)

Dr. Darrick Hamilton (Professor and founding director of the Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy at The New School, New York)

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown (Professor and Dean, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto)

Dr. Deborah Drake Matthews (Former MPP for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario)

Closing Notes

Dr. Mabel Carabali and Dr. Arjumand Siddiqi