Oral Health Initiative

National Oral Health Research Strategy: Setting Research Themes

The National Oral Health Research Strategy (NOHRS) is in the early stages of development, following initial launch discussions held in Ottawa, in March 2023. This preliminary meeting involved a small but representative group of 70 individuals from across the oral health research community, health researchers from other disciplines, professional bodies, and patient and public partners.

This initiative is led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) in collaboration with Canadian Association for Dental Research, Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry, Network for Canadian Oral Health Research, Canadian Dental Association, Denturist Association of Canada, Canadian Dental Therapists Association and Canadian Dental Hygienists Association.

We are aware that many other people and organizations have expressed interest in the NOHRS process and are very grateful for this high level of engagement. The next step for co-creating the strategy is to consult more widely, in order to gain the broadest possible input. The pipeline to co-create the strategy involves a series of opportunities for broader engagement, culminating in the anticipated publication of the NOHRS in June 2024 at the Canadian Oral Health Summit in Halifax. It will be a living strategy, shaped by the oral health research community.

Feedback was collected on the research themes and priorities from the community to be reviewed by the Steering Committee. Following this, writing teams for each of the themes were convened, and are now in the process of creating a first draft document of the NOHRS. We look forward to gaining wider community feedback in March 2024, ahead of the NOHRS launch.

Access the Executive Summary

Send any questions to: IMHA-IALA@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

  • Addendum

    In line with the plan detailed in the next steps, the following steering committee was convened in April 2023:


    • Dr. Paul Allison, Professor in the Faculty of Dental Medicine & Oral Health Sciences at McGill University. Dr. Allison is currently a member of the Lancet Commission on Global Oral Health, on Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and leader of a national Canadian research team working with Statistics Canada on the oral health element of cycle 7 of the Canadian Health Measures Survey.
    • Dr. Leigha Rock, Vice-President of CADR, Assistant Professor and Director, School of Dental Hygiene, Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University. Dr. Rock is also cross appointed to the Departments of Pharmacology and Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine. She is a Scientist at the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute and holds a scientific appointment at Nova Scotia Health, Department of Anatomical Pathology.


    • Dr. Raj Bhullar, Chair, Research Affairs Committee of ACFD, Associate Dean (Research) for the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba.
    • Ondina Love, representative from the professional members’ associations, CEO of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, Executive Director of the Canadian Foundation for Dental Hygiene Research and Education, Chair of the Extended Healthcare Professionals Coalition, steering committee for the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research.
    • Dr. Belinda Nicolau, Past-President of the CADR, Professor and the Assistant Dean of Research at the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences - McGill University and the Director of the Oral Cancer group of the Network Canadian Oral Health Research.
    • Dr. Robert Schroth, Professor in the Departments of Preventive Dental Science and the Departments of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba; Provincial Medical Representative for Pediatric Dentistry with Shared Health Inc.; Research Scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.
    • Dr. Sonica Singhal, Assistant Professor and Program Director for the discipline of Dental Public Health at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto; Scientist, Oral Health, at Public Health Ontario.
    • Dr. Ana Miriam Velly, Director of the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR), Associate Professor, Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences at McGill University, and the Director of Research at the Department of Dentistry, Jewish General Hospital.
    • Iona Worden-Driscoll, National Network Coordinator with the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR).
    • Dr. Karim Khan, Scientific Director CIHR-IMHA and Professor in the Department of Family Practice and School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia.
    • Dr. Hetty Mulhall, Communications & Events Strategist CIHR-IMHA
    • Dr. Dawn Richards, Consultant, CIHR-IMHA Patient Engagement in Research Strategy, Founder of Five02 Labs Inc.
    • Dr. Rosemary Twomey, Associate Scientific Director CIHR-IMHA

Oral Health Data Platform

The Oral Health Data platform was funded in March 2021 and is supported by the following CIHR Institutes:

The Oral Health Data Platform has the overall goals of generating data, creating a database, and establishing a research and training infrastructure. These will enable oral health researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers to address essential oral health and oral health care-related research questions, facilitate knowledge translation and further knowledge exchange with appropriate stakeholders. The Oral Health Data Platform will build sustainable long-term capacity in oral health related research to improve the health of all Canadians.

This platform, created in collaboration with Statistics Canada through their Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), will add relevant and essential biological, clinical and self-report oral health data in Cycle 7 of the CHMS. This project will use Statistics Canada's existing research infrastructure and expertise to address oral health-related knowledge gaps, to explore links between oral and systemic health, and to establish a modern, world-class research platform to provide numerous opportunities for new research discoveries and training.

Data generated by the survey will be used to investigate important research questions around topics such as:

Dr. Paul Allison, lead for this project, is a professor in the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences at McGill University. He is a dentist trained in oral and maxillofacial surgery and dental public health, with research training in clinical and community epidemiology. He is a former President of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

For more information, please contact:


The vision of the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR) is to be the primary resource for initiating, supporting, and sustaining innovative and collaborative oral health research designed to benefit the health of all Canadians. NCOHR links researchers from ten universities across Canada to promote mentorship of the next generation of oral health researchers; aid development of interdisciplinary research teams; enable sharing of research-related resources; guide development of sustainable infrastructure; and facilitate communication between and among knowledge creators and knowledge users. This network creates opportunities for oral health researchers to share ideas and resources so they can work together to continue to improve the oral health of Canadians.

More information on NCOHR's objectives and priority areas.

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