- Program Contact
- Sonja Johnston
Many public health scares (COVID-19, SARS, the tainted blood scandal, listeria outbreak) and on-going threats to the public’s health (tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity) highlight the need for effective public health policy and the central role of public policy in building public health capacity and improving population health.
What is Public Health Policy?
Public health policy, the backbone of public health, is policy related to public health issues. Substantively, public health policy addresses a broad range of issues, including but not limited to:
- Policies for infectious and chronic disease prevention and control
- Food security and food policy
- Climate change adaptation
- Environmental health policy
- Physical activity policy
- Substance abuse and harm reduction policy
- Gambling policy
- Occupational health policy
Public health policy includes a wide array of legislative and regulatory interventions, administrative practices, financing and funding decisions, and various forms of soft law operating at all levels of government, affecting multiple settings, jurisdictions and sectors of activity.
Public health policy is different than health policy, which focuses on issues of health services and health care delivery.
Why Offer a Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy?
In Canada, the need for professionals trained specifically in public health policy has been identified as a top priority by government agencies at all levels. The Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy (CSPHP) fills this niche, providing an exciting opportunity to become intellectually and actively involved in the complex tasks demanded by public health policymaking including: policy change, policy analysis, policy assessment, and policy structures and planning. This training program promotes an active, productive and collaborative multidisciplinary community of researchers, trainees, policymakers, educators and practitioners that works and learns together to address – from a policy perspective – the key issues compromising the public’s health at local, regional, national and global levels.
What is the CSPHP?
The Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy is a cross-disciplinary program providing graduate students with exemplary training program in public health policy. It will give students the capacity to contribute to the development, refinement, and evaluation of policies to address society’s pressing and emerging public health priorities. Through the direction of academics and policymakers associated with the Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy, students will be provided with real world skills to address the complex and demanding task of public health policy making (including insight into a wide array of legislative and regulatory interventions, administrative practices, financing and funding decisions, and various forms of soft law e.g., guidelines and informal processes) which operate at the international, federal, provincial and municipal levels and in settings that are cross-cutting (e.g., worksites) and in ways that are both cross-jurisdictional and cross-sectoral.
Upon successful completion of the Master’s or PhD requirements of the host department and the program, students receive the notation “Completed Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy” on their transcript and a collaborative program parchment countersigned by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Program Director.
Host Faculty: Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Participating Degree Programs
- Exercise Sciences (MSc, PhD), Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education
- Health Administration (MHSc) and Health Policy, Management & Evaluation (MSc, PhD), Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
- Nutritional Sciences (MSc, PhD) Department of Nutritional Sciences
- Public Health Sciences (MPH, MSc, PhD), Dalla Lana School of Public Health
- Public Policy (MPP) and Global Affairs (MGA), Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
- Social Work (MSW, PhD), Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
Please note that graduate students from ANY program of study at the University of Toronto are eligible for participation in the Collaborative Program. It is NOT required to be enrolled in one of the participating degree programs in order to apply for the Collaborative Program. In addition to the required CSPHP courses, students will be able to take electives relevant to public health policy through the participating degree departments.
Terms of Participation in Collaborative Program
- All students enrolled in the Collaborative Program must complete the requirements of the Collaborative Program, in addition to those requirements for the degree program in their home graduate unit
- The Collaborative Program Director and/or Program Committee is/are responsible for certifying the completion of the Collaborative Program requirements
- The home graduate unit is solely responsible for the approval of the student’s home degree requirements
Requirements & Components
All students must:
- Satisfy requirements of home degree program and graduate unit
- Complete 1.0 full-course equivalent (FCE) in public health policy from the following list:
- CHL5300H Public Health Policy, CHL5308H Tools and Approaches for Public Health Policy Analysis and Evaluation, HAD5011H Canada’s Health Care System, or PPG2000H Politics and the Policy Process
- This requirement will be waived for students who have completed 2 of these 4 courses previously
Master’s students must also:
- Undertake a major paper, thesis or practicum placement with a public health policy focus
- Complete the Master’s Seminar Series course, SRM3333Y (credit only, no course weight), which is comprised of Monthly Rounds and two full day Public Health Policy Institutes (see below)
Doctoral students must also:
- Undertake thesis research with a public health policy focus
- Complete the Graduate Seminar Series course CHL5309Y Advanced Analysis of Topical Issues in Public Health Policy, which is comprised of Monthly Rounds and two full day Public Health Policy Institutes (see below)
The monthly public health policy rounds provide an opportunity for mentors and trainees to meet on a regular basis, share and receive feedback on their work, and hear talks on public health policy issues. Monthly rounds will be offered by the various academic units and partnering agencies, addressing a wide array of relevant topics.
Public Health Policy Institutes
The Fall and Winter Institutes are key forums for learning about the latest evidence and state-of-the art approaches to public health policy research and practice, constructively debating topical issues, and engaging collaboratively with stakeholders and decision makers around pressing policy case studies. The Institutes present an opportunity for students to enhance knowledge and professional competencies.
Optional Program Components
Training and Research Pods
To foster new cross-disciplinary team research, mentors and trainees will join one or more research and training pods. Pods will include academic mentors from at least two disciplines, representatives from the public health policy-making community, and post-doc, PhD and Master’s trainees, providing ample opportunity for trainees to acquire knowledge and technical skills from a range of disciplines. Each research and training pod will develop a cross-disciplinary collaborative research agenda based on current and emerging interests and issues in public health policy.
Lunch and Learns
The Lunch and Learns provide excellent opportunities for program participants to engage informally around career pathways that reflect a Public Health Policy Focus.
All participants in the Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy have the option of establishing a mentorship with a Program Mentor. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How to Apply
Applications for the 2022-23 competition for the Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy are now closed. The 2023-24 competition will open in late April 2023. If you’d like to be added to the notification list please email email@example.com.
|Robert Schwartz, PhD
|Public health policy, public policy, public administration, accountability, evaluation and monitoring, policy change|
|Sara Allin, PhD||Health systems, comparative health systems and policy within Canada and with high-income countries|
|Yvonne Bombard, PhD||Genomics health services and policy research, health outcomes and impact of new genetic tests, patient & public engagement, health technology assessment, mixed methods, personalized medicine|
|Adalsteinn Brown (Steini), PhD||Public health policy making in government and non-government settings|
|Ray Copes, MD||Development of policies, strategies and services in environmental and occupational health|
|Raisa Deber, PhD||Health policy, document analysis, health services research, health economics, decision making, technology assessment, survey methods, policy analysis, public-private mix, health human resources|
|Erica Di Ruggiero, PhD||Population health interventions (policies, programs), their health and health equity impacts, global agenda setting in policy, population health intervention and implementation research, qualitative research and mixed methods research, knowledge utilization and exchange strategies to influence public health decision-making at national and global levels|
|Roberta Ferrence, PhD||Tobacco policy, tobacco epidemiology, second hand smoke, population surveys|
|Michael Goodstadt, PhD||Best practices, health promotion, public health, disease prevention, addictions, evaluation|
|Bartholomew Harvey, MD, PhD||Epidemiology, cancer screening, chronic diseases, public health practice, public health human resources, survey methods, recall bias, education research|
|Suzanne Jackson, PhD||Health promotion, healthy public policy, evaluation, community-based research, qualitative research, participatory research|
|Arif Jetha||Examining life course differences in the labour market participation of people living with chronic episodic conditions, identifying workplace accommodations, policies and programs that prevent work disability, application of systems thinking perspectives to conceptualizing the role of organizations in the return-to-work process, survey methodology; mixed-methods research, strategies for the analysis of public health policy|
|Prabhat Jha, MD, DPhil||Global health, HIV/AIDS, tobacco, epidemiology|
|Pamela Kaufman, PhD||Environmental design and behaviour, tobacco control, qualitative research, observation methods|
|Mary L’Abbe, PhD||Food and nutrition policy, assessing and modelling nutrition policies and population intakes using national food consumption survey data|
|Trudo Lemmens, PhD||Health law, bioethics, research regulation and research ethics, public health law|
|Heather Manson, MD||Policy interventions to address risk factors for chronic disease, health equity|
|Gregory P. Marchildon||Health policy, Health systems, Health financing, Policy history and Federalism and health|
|David, McKeown, MD||Public health services and organizations, environmental health policy, food policy, health inequalities and social determinants of health, HIV/AIDS policy|
|John McLaughlin, PhD||Cancer epidemiology, prevention & screening, population health, molecular & genetic epi, environmental risk factor, surveillance systems, genetic risk, gene-environment interaction|
|Fiona Miller, PhD||Health policy, health technology policy, public health ethics, newborn screening|
|Kate Mulligan, PhD||Urban governance and the political ecology of health: Healthy public policy, applied municipal public health, global urban infrastructure, climate change, food, vectorborne diseases|
|Cameron Mustard, ScD||Epidemiology, population health, occupational health|
|Blake Poland, PhD||Health promotion, community development, qualitative methods, social theory, hospital-community collaboration|
|Carlos Quiñonez, DMD, PhD||Dental care, public policy, health equity, access to care, social sciences and health, history of healthcare|
|Jurgen Rehm, PhD||Alcohol and drug epidemiology, alcohol policy, economic evaluation, treatment evaluation|
|Terrence Sullivan, PhD||Public health policy, cooperative performance|
|Valerie Tarasuk, PhD||Dietary assessment, food policy, food insecurity, poverty, community-based research|
|Ross Upshur, MD||Concept of evidence in health care, medical epistemology, clinical reasoning, public health ethics, ethics and health information, empirical approaches in bioethics, primary care research methods|
|Xiaolin Wei, MD||Global health, primary care, tuberculosis, antibiotics resistance, diabetes/hypertension, policy evaluation; complex interventions; implementation science frameworks; randomised controlled trials|
|Daniyal Zuberi, PhD||Social policy, poverty, inequality, work, immigration, health policy|
Current Students 2021-22
|Name||Area of Research Interest||Degree|
|Alina Chen||Food policy, food insecurity, health equity||MPH|
|Christine Del Rosso||Food security and policy, environmental health policy and climate change adaptation||MPH|
|Riley Garno||Health promotion, social determinants of health||MPP|
|Sandra Gosling||Indigenous child and family welfare, gender-based violence, substance use, wellness||MSW|
|Joy Hannam||Health and social policy||MPP|
|Sabrina Hyde||Investments in health care, supporting front-line workers, innovation||MPP|
|Suman Kanoatova||Health equity and the social determinants of health||MPH|
|Felix Lau||Mental health policy, social determinants of LGBTQ2S+ health, health equity, policy & program evaluation||MPH|
|Emily Maradin||Infectious and chronic disease prevention and control, substance abuse and harm reduction policy||MPP|
|Dalubuhle Ndlovu||Substance abuse and harm reduction policy, policies for infectious and chronic disease prevention and control||MHSc|
|Divya Rajagopal Sarkar||Barriers to healthcare and burden of out of pocket health expenses||MGA|
|Haileigh Robb||Food insecurity, health equity, maternal and child nutrition policy, social determinants of health, global health||MPH|
|Theresa Shuma||Policy analysis and change||MPH|
|Nina Trask||Food policy as it relates to community/public health, literacy and security||MPH|
|Rhea Virkutis||Infectious disease arising from environmental conditions (Indigenous health)||MPH|
|Frédérique Watulo||Infectious disease outbreaks and chronic diseases||MPP|
|Jorge Angel-Mira||Post-War development, migration, and health policy||PhD|
|Ingrid Giesinger||Social determinants of health, chronic disease prevention, health equity||PhD|
|Lief Pagalan||Environmental health policy||PhD|
|Cara Samuel||Critical policy analysis, knowledge-to-action processes, policy implementation in marginalized communities||PhD|
Past Students 2019-21
|Nadine Abdel-Ghafar||Sexual, gender, and race-based violence, health equity/social determinants of health||MA|
|Sally Abudiab||Access-related issues to long-term community health services for people with chronic needs||MSW|
|Monish Ahluwalia||Health technology assessment||MSc, MD|
|Daniel Byrne||Social determinants of health, mental healthcare for sexual minorities, program and policy evaluation||MSW|
|Sabrina Campbell||Healthy quality improvement and safety||MSc, MD|
|Victoria Davis||Social determinants of health, health equity, policy and program evaluation||MSc|
|Pavlina Faltyek||Public health systems organization as it relates to transitional justice||MSc MPP|
|Shameemah Khan||Global health policy||MPH|
|Jessica Klingler||Harm reduction||HBa, MI|
|Stephanie Lawrence||Health promotion, chronic disease/injury prevention, social determinants of health, health equity, social justice, primary care reform||MN|
|Rachel Lee||Policies affecting health inequities and social determinants of health; sexual & reproductive health policies||MPH|
|Matthew Oh||Drugs and substance regulation; rehabilitation and social reintegration||MPP|
|Yina Shan||Systems thinking, planetary health, global health, environmental and climate justice, health equity, political advocacy||MPH|
|Diane Simon||Indigenous and First Nations||MPH|
|Mehathie Sivakumaran||South Asian health, immigrant and refugee health||MPH|
|Michael Snider||Public health nutrition, food environment/industry regulation, food security, education, accessibility and health equity in all policy||MPH|
|Calum Thompson||Urban and community health||MPH|
|Maria Tinajero||Nutrition policy||MSc|
|Mariana Villada Rivera||Health equity (and social determinants of health)||MPH|
|Steven Winkelman||LGBTQ+ health access and health equity||MPH|
|Nadia Flexner||Food policy||PhD|
|Abdulrahman Ghoneim||Dental public health policy, dental disease prevention||PhD|
|Wade Michaelchuk||Physical activity, public health policy||PhD|
|Christine Mulligan||Food policy||PhD Nutritional Sciences|
|Franklin Perez||Microplastics-associated infectious disease||PhD|
|Monte-Angel Richardson||Violence prevention||PhD Social Work|
|Harman Sandhu||Public health financing, governance, and leadership||PhD Health Services Research|
|Michelle Tam||LGBTQ+ health, reproductive technologies, sexual and reproductive health||PhD Social and Behavioural Health Sciences|
|Laura Vergeer||Food policy||PhD Nutritional Sciences|
|Heather Abela||Social determinants of health, marginalized populations and health equity, healthy public policy||MPH|
|Alysha Bartsch||Mental health, Mental Healthcare, Service Access/Use, Social Determinants of Mental Health||MPH|
|Cassandra Carey||Health Promotion and implementation-based science||MNS|
|Vhil Castillejos||Urban and Community Health, Newcomer Immigrant Health, Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health, Youth, and Mental Health||MPH|
|Katherine Charness||Public planetary health, healthy public policy, climate change, policy innovation, co-design, collaboration||MPH|
|Monika Dalmacio||health equity/social determinants of health, social justice, healthy public policy, primary care reform/implementation of integrated care in Ontario||MHSc|
|Joseph Friedman Burley||Inclusive LGBTQ2S, Health Policy||MPH|
|Casidhe Gardiner||Food & Nutrition Policy; Social Determinants of Health||MPH|
|Natalie Gdyczynski||Social determinants of health, access to health care for marginalized populations,Delivery of health services in the community international health policy||MPP|
|Mary Kathleen Greenaway||Transgender Health, Social Determinants of Health||MPH|
|Kelly Husack||Indigenous Health, Environmental Health, Urban Policy, Social Determinants of Health||MPP|
|Rebecca Johnson||Social Determinants of Health, Community Development, Policy and Program Evaluation||MSc|
|Kira Kastner||Social determinants of health, Health in All Policies, trauma-informed policy and human-centered design for policy||MPH|
|Janani Kodeeswaran||Public health policy pertaining to racialized women and the Canadian labour market||MPH|
|Juliane Koropeski||Health equity, social determinants of health, harm reduction, access to healthcare, program and policy evaluation||MPH|
|Jennifer Lee||Food and health policies||MPH|
|Preveena Manisekaran||Food, Nutrition, Health Policy, Food Security, Policy Development||MPH|
|Alexia Medeiros||Chronic Disease Prevention||MPH|
|Sumayya Mehmood||Social Determinants of Health in association with Mental Health and Stigma||MPH|
|Nam (Eugene) Seungwon||Public health policy development and assessment in relation to clinical outcomes/factors||MPH|
|Matineh Rastegar Panah||Nutrition Public Health Policy||MSc|
|A. A. Rajendran||Tobacco Control Policy||MPH|
|Indhu Rammohan||Drug policy; drug policy evaluation; harm reduction policy||MSc HSR|
|Michael Snider||Public Health Nutrition, Food Industry and Natural Health Products Regulation, Food Environment Policy, Educational Institutions, Food Security, Disadvantaged Population, Disability/Accessibility Policy, Mental Health Policy, Health Equity in all Policy||MPH|
|Sterling Stutz||Health Equity, Social Determinants of Health, Indigenous Health||MPH|
|Merissa Taylor-Meissner||The intersection of mental health, community-building, and social justice||MSW|
|Rebecca Warrian||Aging, end of life care||MPP|
|Thilaxcy Yohathasan||Indigenous Public Health||MPH|
|Arbella Yonadam||Infectious and chronic disease prevention and control, climate change adaptation||MPH|
|Yalinie Kulandaivelu||Public Health Informatics||PhD, Health Services Research|
|Mariana Morales||HIV in high-risk groups (e.g. men who have sex with men)||PhD in Health Services Research, Health Policy|
|Jean-Paul Soucy||Antibiotic resistance/ antibiotic stewardship||PhD Epidemiology|
Upcoming Events 2022-23
The Collaborative Specialization in Public Health Policy hosts monthly Rounds as part of its commitment to sharing knowledge and ideas in public health policy. All rounds are held from 12:30pm to 2:00pm and are open to everyone!
Rounds will resume September 2022.
Recordings are available for most Rounds. Click the Title link to go to the video on YouTube.
|March 11||Joana Lima Madureira, Benoît Gomis||The Shared Strategies of Health-Harming Corporations to Influence the Policy Process|
|February 11||Lisa Sanders||Achieving Net Zero: Energy Transitions and the Art of Governing Public Health (not recorded)|
|January 14||Notisha Massaquoi||Public Health Policy in the Age of Racial Reckoning: Promoting Health and Wellbeing for Black Communities in Canada|
|November 12||Brian Rush||Research on Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy and Entheogen-Based Healing: An Overview and Public Policy Considerations|
|October 22||Adalsteinn Brown||Science Advice During a Time of Crisis (not recorded)|
|September 17||Ross Upshur||If We Listen to the Science, What Language Does It Speak: Reflections on Science, Values and Pandemics|
|February 26, 2021||Dr. Sara Allin||Examining the Governance, Organization, and Financing of Public Health Across Canada and Their Impacts on the COVID-19 Response|
|January 15, 2021||Michael Chaiton||Individual-Level Risks Are Imaginary: Understanding the Impact of Public Health Interventions Through the Experience of Tobacco Control|
|November 13, 2020||John McLaughlin||Evidence, Information and Determination Underlying Public Health Policy and Practice for Covid-19 Response|
|October 16, 2020||Natasha Crowcroft||Immunization Policymaking and Measles: Moving from Vertical to Horizontal|
|September 18, 2020||Vivek Goel||COVID-19: Science to Policy|
The goal of my research program in social epidemiology is to elucidate the impact of policies and interventions on reducing health inequities. As a CIHR Public Health Policy Fellow, I received advanced training in the theory, analysis and evaluation of public health policies. Particularly of interest for my research is how different types of evidence are used in public health policy decision-making. Participation in the Strategic Training Program in Public Health Policy provided me with valuable skills to compliment my expertise in epidemiology. This experience was instrumental to the development of my interest in applied public health research, a path that led me to my current position as a Scientist at Public Health Ontario.
My advice to current Fellows is to take advantage of the rich resources available to you through this unique collaborative environment. This includes becoming active in planning and participating in the program components to tailor these experiences to meet your learning goals. Most important is to engage with the other Fellows and interact with the program Mentors, who are leading researchers and policy experts in the field of public health policy.
Public Health Ontario
As a health researcher at the London School of Economics, I participate in a number of activities related the economic assessment of health and social care policies. I feel privileged to be in a position where I provide specialist commentary on past, present and future health interventions for many domestic and international governments and health organizations. In addition to my research activities, I thoroughly enjoy conveying my fascination with the world of health care and economics through lectures, conferences and events.
The training program was a truly enriching experience, which enabled me to be a more confident and well-rounded health researcher. In addition, it introduced me to many peers and mentors, who continue to be a source of collaboration and support. The training and development offered by the collaborative was immediately relevant upon graduation, and provided me with a substantial toolkit when entering the workforce. The coursework related to policy approaches, and modules on the economic evaluation of public health interventions, were of such interest they guided many of my subsequent career choices.
Suggestions for new and current students in the Collaborative Program:
Attend every event, lecture, workshop and module available. Actively engage with the built-in network of peers and mentors, and find at least one area of public health to immerse and specialize in.
PhD Candidate in Health Economics
London School of Economics
Knowledge-to-Action Processes and Macro-Level Decision-Making:
20 Minutes with Dr. Laura Rosella
Dr. Laura Rosella is currently a Scientist at Public Health Ontario, and an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. As a population health researcher, she focuses on ways in which we can inform the prevention of chronic diseases and their risk factors.
Rosella was accepted into the 2009-2010 CIHR Strategic Training Program in Public Health Policy as a post-doctoral fellow in Epidemiology. Her research looked at how high impact, macro-level decisions are made during a pandemic. Such decisions are typically made very quickly, and under immense pressure. For instance: who do we vaccinate first in the midst of a global infectious disease? Rosella’s timing could not have been better: she undertook her research during the global outbreak and aftermath of the H1N1 influenza virus, which reached the height of its pandemic in 2009. “People wanted to talk. They wanted to share their experiences.” Rosella went on to secure 40 key informant interviews with public health and healthcare clinicians and practitioners across Canada who were directly involved with containing the outbreak.
The Strategic Training program was instrumental for Rosella in developing an understanding of what public health policy is: “I still work in public health policy. The Training Program gave me the toolkit to implement policy, as well as access to a system level of public health policy.” Rosella’s study bred a new area of research around knowledge-to-action processes, and specifically how knowledge interfaces with policy. How can we package evidence and knowledge in a way that is amenable to policy?
For Rosella, the various components of the program offered great value: “The Institutes were extremely helpful, due to the large network of people that you can connect with. The Rounds really showcase the interdisciplinary nature of the program. They lend the opportunity to network with various disciplines and with mentors.”
Does Dr. Rosella have any suggestions or advice for new students? “Embrace everything that the program has to offer,” she says. “I learned a whole new language that I had never spoken before, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t completed the program.”