Progress in Supporting Health Social Sciences

Dear colleagues,

Earlier this year, I announced a new planning grant program designed to support social scientists whose work is focused on population health.

Today I’m pleased to congratulate the 23 successful applicants who received funding from IPPH through this competition (see below for a full list of funded projects). The response to our call for proposals was high and reflective of the need for greater support to health social scientists. We hope this funding program helps communicate the importance of well-funded health social science research and that the awarded grants serve to support the recipients in their future applications for bigger CIHR Foundation and Project Scheme grants. I am particularly pleased that quite a few of the successful applicants were new investigators – who need all of our support at this time of austerity in research funding.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to highlight that the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has recently expanded its eligibility guidelines to once again include health research. This is a development for which my team has pursued with colleagues at SSHRC since the very first day of my appointment as Scientific Director ten months ago. We congratulate SSHRC on this move and believe it is an important step to ensuring a vibrant community of social scientists in our country. For those who are not familiar with their programs, please take the time to consider SSHRC’s funding opportunities as part of your efforts to secure the financial support you need to undertake your research.

We at IPPH will continue our funding, policy and advocacy efforts to support the full range of population and public health researchers in our country. I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.


Steven J. Hoffman JD PhD LLD
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health
Director, Global Strategy Lab, and
Associate Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

2017 – IPPH-funded Planning and Dissemination Grants (from 2016 call)
Principal Investigator Institution Project Summary
Dr. Stefania Bertazzon University of Calgary Dr. Bertazzon will lead the Walk Smart, Breathe Smart Project. This project will collect and analyse data on air pollution. The team then plans to translate the findings into accessible information on urban pollution and pedestrian pathways for smart walking where the air is cleaner.
Dr. Karen Blair St. Francis Xavier University Dr. Blair will examine the health implications of public displays of affection in mixed-sex, same-sex, and gender diverse romantic relationships. The approach will better understand how the dynamics of affection can influence health outcomes.
Dr. Yin-Yan Chen University of Ottawa Dr. Chen’s research will spawn new knowledge and insight on social determinants of health among immigrants in Canada. This knowledge will allow policy makers and services to better understand non-citizens’ health and wellbeing, and to determine the appropriate health interventions for this specialized public.
Dr. Marie-Soleil Cloutier INRS Dr. Cloutier will conduct a systematic review of the global impact of the “Vision Zero Strategy” – a Canadian movement challenging Canada’s 2025 Road Safety Strategy. This data will serve as a basis for a future grant application on the assessment of the Vision Zero Strategy and its ability to improve population health.
Dr. Delphine Colin-Vézina McGill University Dr. Colin-Vézina will catalyse social science experts and knowledge-users to discuss opportunities to realize the impact of the social science research on the overall population.
Dr. Jennifer Dean University of Waterloo Dr. Dean will launch a community-driven research program on the health implications of shifting settlement patterns of immigrants in the Region of Peel, Ontario. Through a knowledge-user workshop, the research team will identify research questions that will be addressed in a future CIHR Project grant application.
Dr. Véronique Dupéré Université de Montréal Dr. Dupéré will create new links between researchers in education and health who are interested in improving the outcomes of vulnerable youth adults. Through a common understanding of the overall needs of vulnerable youths, Dr. Dupéré will identify gaps in the educational system and health services and how research can bridge such gaps.
Dr. Patrick Fafard University of Ottawa Dr. Fafard will study the roles of Chief Public Health Officer(s) (CPHO) in Canada, how they vary and why, and with what effect do these roles have on public and population health. The project will assess the benefits, costs, risks and trade-offs of different options for structuring CPHO positions.
Dr. Olena Hankivsky Simon Fraser University Dr. Hankivsky will evaluate existing health equity frameworks and tools to better understand their population level up take and their efficacy in terms of affecting health inequities. Dr. Hankivsky plans to develop a joint network of researchers and decision makers from government, international organizations and NGOs who are interested in advancing health equity frameworks and tools.
Dr. Sylvia Kairouz Concordia University Through a network of experts, Dr. Kairouz will examine the effects of our population’s dependence on the Internet and its effects on our overall health.
Dr. Amy Kaler University of Alberta In collaboration with experts across Canada, Dr. Kaler will develop a research agenda on how women access and use new medical technologies for non-surgical pregnancy termination across different nations and societies.
Dr. Rodney Knight Simon Fraser University Dr. Knight will establish a Canada-France research collaboration to reduce drug- and sexual-related harms among HIV-positive and –negative men who have sex with men (MSM).
Dr. Réal Labelle Université de Québec à Montréal Dr. Labelle will consult with experts to gain consensus on the research approach that will feed a larger research program on the impact of new technologies on suicide risks and prevention.
Dr. Eric Mykhalovskiy York University Dr. Mykhalovskiy will develop a conceptual framework on social sciences and how population health researchers can improve population health interventions. Ultimately, the team plans to apply for additional funding to action the framework.
Dr. André-Anne Parent Université de Montréal Dr. Parent will mobilize intersectoral researchers interested in improving the health outcomes of youth by identifying and prioritizing research questions on health equity.
Dr. Paul Peters University of New Brunswick Building upon existing research underway in healthy cities and community population research, Dr. Peters will examine the demographic shifts in Canada, neighborhood and community design, and the impacts on health policy and planning, social policies and economic development.
Dr. Stephen Quilley University of Waterloo This seed funding will provide Dr. Quilley with the resources required for a research program to investigate intersectoral strategies for improving population health in a context of mounting ecological crises, slowed economic growth, and social instability. Ultimately, Dr. Quilley will further his research program through application to a CIHR Foundation Grant.
Dr. Michelle Stewart University of Regina Dr. Steward will lead a project that will launch a community-driven/intersectoral social determinants of health framework on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The framework will investigate root causes of health inequity which can link health-based research to social justice issues, resulting in more suitable interventions.
Dr. Ame Stinchcombe University of Ottawa Dr. Stinchcombe aims to catalyze new knowledge on the psychosocial dimensions of aging with HIV and apply that knowledge to population health interventions. The project will lead to new national and international collaborations among researchers and stakeholders in order to ensure equitable treatment for older HIV-positive individuals. 
Dr. Bruce Wallace University of Victoria Dr. Wallace and his team will engage local stakeholders in a two-day meeting to determine key issues, research gaps and build local capacity for implementing equity oriented harm reduction strategies in response to the opioid overdose crisis in Canada. The key outcome of the project is a CIHR Project grant application.
Dr. Corinne Wallance McMaster University Dr. Wallace will investigate marginalized women within Canada and globally to understand how they are disregarded and what can be done to improve their wellbeing, specifically related to maternal health. This project will develop a tool to measure and map social, physical, economic, and cultural factors creating their maternal wellbeing in different countries (Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya). 
Dr. Michael Widener University of Toronto Dr. Widener will use this grant to establish research relationships, assess resources into food accessibility studies, and test data collection tools that provide critical information to community policies and practices. Ultimately Dr. Widener will submit a project grant proposal to CIHR to further examine the 12% of Canadian households that experience food insecurity and their related drivers, like transportation, housing options, and employment.
Dr. Warren Wilson University of Calgary Dr. Wilson team will use the funds to host a 5-day workshop with Nicaraguan stakeholders to disseminate research findings from an earlier study examining the health challenges faced by Nicraragua’s women and children. Dr. Wilson plans to use the research findings of his study to develop a longitudinal study that will implement effective health interventions for this population.
Dr. Marisa Young McMaster University Dr. Young plans to lead critical groundwork to identify regions for family-friendly community resources (FFCR) data extraction based on respondents' residents in the Canadian Work Stress and Health Study (CAN-WSH) data. With this groundwork completed, the team will apply for a larger CIHR Project Grant.
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