CIHR’s Healthy Cities Research Initiative

Dear colleagues,

Seven CIHR Institutes are working together on a new major initiative focused on advancing the science of how to create urban environments that maximize health outcomes and prevent harm. CIHR’s Healthy Cities Research Initiative (HCRI) has brought together over $34 million in initial funding, along with a number of key partners and stakeholders, in order to achieve this goal.

The concept of healthy cities is a movement toward inclusive, equitable, safe, resilient, smart, and sustainable urban environments that help people engage in healthier behaviours and nudge towards decisions that will improve health. In creating the conditions necessary for good health – those where physical activity, social connectivity, economic opportunity and injury prevention, as well as access to health services, nutritious food, clean air and green space, are available and convenient – urban environments can become engines of good health.

When it comes to health, we are excited that the HCRI will apply an implementation science approach to determine what interventions work for whom, in which contexts, and why. By working collaboratively across disciplines and sectors like health promotion, urban planning, engineering, and policymaking, as well as working directly with municipalities and all levels of government, researchers will be able to adapt proven interventions and work towards scaling up their effectiveness in new contexts. We believe this new initiative can support Canadian researchers to tackle issues like our aging population, air pollution, physical inactivity, diabetes and obesity, as well as health equity issues when it comes to diversity, gender and Indigenous populations. Through the HCRI we hope researchers can help make Canada the home of many of the world’s healthiest communities possible.

The HCRI website is now live and provides an overview of our objectives, outlines some anticipated funding opportunities, and what researchers, practitioners and policymakers interested in this initiative can expect from CIHR and our partners. It is our intention to provide the research community and our stakeholders with the most amount of information possible about the direction of this initiative so that colleagues can share in our vision, anticipate future opportunities, and form strategic partnerships. In further efforts to provide forward guidance, we will be hosting an English webinar on Tuesday August 20, 2019, and a French webinar on Wednesday August 21, 2019, that will provide additional information about the HCRI and allow participants to ask questions. Webinar registration is limited but a recording of it and all related materials will be available to view online shortly after the presentation.

While several smaller opportunities have already launched under the HCRI umbrella, our first large-scale funding opportunity, the Healthy Cities Research Training Platform, will be launching shortly. This opportunity is co-funded by CIHR with the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to support and reinforce the cross-disciplinary collaboration needed for implementation science training and healthy cities research. If you would like to be notified when this opportunity launches, or to stay up-to-date with all HCRI activities, please sign up for HCRI updates.

We are pleased to be part of this exciting initiative and believe that the HCRI will have a distinct national and international impact. We look forward to updating you further and encourage you to visit our website, sign up to receive our emails, and register for the August 20 webinar to learn more.


Steven J. Hoffman JD PhD LLD | @shoffmania
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health

Jane Rylett PhD | @j_rylett
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Aging

Cara Tannenbaum MD MSc| @CIHRIGH
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Gender and Health

Carrie Bourassa, BA MA PhD | @goaliegirlmom31
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health

Rick Glazier MD MPH CCFP FCFP | @RickGlazier1
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research

Karim Khan MD PhD MBA | @KarimKhan_IMHA
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis

Norman Rosenblum MD FRCPC | @normrosenblum
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Diabetes

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