The DLSPH and its associated divisions, academic units and centres have a long-standing, deep focus on an unparalleled range of public health issues, including:
|addictions (smoking, alcohol, gambling and illicit drugs)||clinical public health||health economics||health services||infectious disease epidemiology and modeling||social determinants of health|
|child and adolescent health||gender and health||health informatics||health ethics||methodological research in biostatistics, demography and epidemiology|
|chronic disease epidemiology||genetic epidemiology & statistical genetics||health policy||health promotion, implementation-based science||occupational & environmental health|
The DLSPH has also identified interdisciplinary research areas, initiatives to foster collaboration across the School, the University, and beyond, on research and education efforts aligned with DLSPH priority themes. The goal is to create new teams that are positioned for discovery and prepared to pursue the “big questions.” Their work will be used to help train the next generation of public health and health system leaders.
Using Data Sciences, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies in Informatics and Analytics to Improve Population Health and Health Systems Performance
New analytic technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence) and ways of organizing and collecting data (e.g. wearables, black boxes) promise precision public health interventions, improved health systems management, and new insights into the organization of services. However, the relative value of some of these approaches is unclear and raise critical issues in ethics, equity, and policy and re-enforce the need to maintain a strong critical perspective on their usefulness and impact and a thoughtful approach to their epistemology.
Laura Rosella is leading the Data Science Interdisciplinary Research Cluster which brings together an interdisciplinary team to focus on the DLSPH priority area.
Responding to Climate Change, Environmental Health Challenges, Ecological Determinants of Health and Indigenous Health
Climate change arguably represents the most significant threat to longterm planetary health and will only exacerbate other growing environmental threats. Creation of sustainable responses to these challenges requires solutions at the clinical, organizational, community and jurisdictional level that build off of planetary health, Indigenous knowledges, and occupational and environmental health. This theme leverages valuable data resources at the School that allow linkage of health, environment, and climate data to study changes in exposure at the individual (exposome) level through to the national and even international level.
Implementation and Improvement Science to Support Public Health and Health Systems Improvement
Health systems regularly announce profound change in their goals and organization but there is little attention to how these changes will occur through evidence-based implementation. At the same time, most systems face a shortage of people, roles, and structures to support constant improvement. However, sustainability will only come through a relentless commitment to improvement and a profound change in culture and organizational behaviour. However, this sort of change and its link to health system capacity and information systems are poorly understood.
The Interdisciplinary cluster in Global Public Health and Health Systems Improvement through Implementation Science is co-led by associate professors Erica Di Ruggiero and Xiaolin Wei. It engages faculty and students from across the School, the University, affiliated hospitals and research centres, as well as faculty based abroad (currently including Kenya, the Philippines and Israel).
Building Sustainable and Equitable Health Systems through Integration and Engagement at the Organizational, Local and Jurisdictional Level
Economics, social theory, and behavioural science provide insights into how public health, health care, and social policy systems can be aligned, integrated and supported to build healthy organizations and communities. Yet these sorts of insights are too rarely developed into platforms for evaluation and change and the opportunity to learn from local evaluations and cross-jurisdictional policy analysis remains under-used. At the same time, attention to the social determinants of health, culture and ethnic identity often remains an abstract consideration with little practical understanding of how to improve them in clinical and community settings. Toronto and a number of communities around Ontario hold the promise of living labs where innovations and evaluation can build sustainable and engaged health systems and where we can have direct impact on public health and health systems that could be scaled across systems.
Reducing the Burden of Preventable Disease and Improving Wellness
The interplay of new technologies and social factors from social media to microfluidics to anti-vax campaigns and the legalization of cannabis are changing the way we can and do respond to preventable diseases, often with the consequence of outbreaks in preventable disease and substantial loss of life. Interdisciplinary approaches will allow us to respond to these challenges at the clinical and system level and describe how solutions to controlling disease and promoting health can be rapidly scaled.