Best Brains Exchanges 2021

Best Brains Exchanges (BBEs) are in-camera sessions. As a result, not all Best Brains Exchange topics and presenters are listed here. The following information is being shared with consent.

For more information on any of the past Best Brains Exchanges listed below please contact


  • Building a Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in Public Health: Centering Partnership, Equity, and Interdisciplinarity

    Hosted in collaboration withthe Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH), BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), Public Health Ontario (PHO), and Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ)

    The Best Brains Exchange (BBE) brought together a diverse blend of research and implementation experts from across disciplines and sectors, community health practitioners and program managers, policy and decision makers from across levels of government, and other key stakeholders to explore and discuss evidence that will guide a Pan-Canadian strategy for the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in public health policy and practice. With this strategy in mind, the BBE focused on scoping the public health niche within the sphere of AI and technological innovation, outlining initial ideas on priority activities and early opportunities, articulating foreseen concerns and barriers arising at the intersection of technological innovation, public health practices, equity and social values and identifying key stakeholders and experts across sectors that should be engaged in developing a Pan-Canadian strategy for AI in public health.

    Learn more about the BBE in the summary report.


  • Challenges in the antimicrobial business model and potential incentives to increase access and promote innovation

    In October 2021, Health Canada, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, hosted a virtual Best Brains Exchange (BBE) that brought together senior policy makers, subject matter experts and industry stakeholders to discuss:

    • Challenges with the antimicrobial business model in Canada and their impact on AMR;
    • Options for pull incentive models and how international counterparts are implementing them; and
    • How pull incentive models might be applied in the Canadian context.

    The meeting report provides a summary of the presentations from renowned subject matter experts, highlights the themes of the meeting discussion and outlines the recommendations, key takeaways and suggestions on next steps made by participants to advance the agenda on this important issue in Canada.

    Learn more about the BBE in the summary report.

  • Optimizing the Use of Real-World Evidence as part of Decision-Making for Drugs for Rare Diseases

    Hosted in collaboration with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) and the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD)

    The Best Brains Exchange (BBE) brought together people with lived experience, their care providers, key stakeholders involved in decision-making about drugs for rare diseases in the Canadian health system and academics. The exchange included stakeholders in discussions about potential gaps in the clinical evidence that could be filled with RWE. The needs and perspectives of different stakeholders were shared and the potential implications of next steps in evidence appraisal and various decision points were considered. This type of collaborative learning is key to building a more streamlined and better informed decision-making process that will optimize access to drugs for rare diseases in Canada.

    The Best Brains Exchange Meeting Report is available: Report on a Best Brains Exchange Optimizing the Use of Real-World Evidence as Part of Decision-Making for Drugs for Rare Diseases [ PDF (731 KB) - external link ]


  • Identifying and addressing research gaps in breast cancer screening: working towards improved breast health for Canadians

    Hosted in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), working in consultation with Health Canada, Canadian Breast Cancer Screening Network, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Canadian Cancer Research Alliance

    The purpose of this Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was to provide an opportunity for researchers and implementation experts, policy makers, health research funders and other key stakeholders to define the current state of the evidence, including knowledge gaps related to breast cancer screening. By applying a cross-disciplinary approach, BBE participants engaged to collaboratively discuss a pan-Canadian research agenda to address gaps in evidence on innovative and emerging screening approaches, as well as help to inform programmatic approaches for breast cancer screening in Canada.


  • Post COVID-19 Condition in Canada: Evidence to Inform Health Equity-based Public Health Action

    Hosted in Collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

    The purpose of this Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was to convene individuals with lived experience, along with knowledge and policy leaders to collectively identify what surveillance and research in needed to inform public health action aimed at preventing and managing the impacts of Post-COVID-19 Condition. By assessing what evidence already exists, and agreeing on the priority evidence gaps that still need to be filled, this BBE helped to lay the groundwork for collective action to address these knowledge gaps through public health policy.


  • Visioning the Future of Public Health in Canada

    Hosted in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada

    The overarching goal of this virtual Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was to describe key system-level elements of a future public health system and to hear tangible actions for sustainable change. The BBE provided key evidence and guided commissioned work to inform the development of the 2021 CPHO Annual Report. Grounded in Canada’s COVID-19 experience, the 2021 Chief Public Health Officer of Canada (CPHO) Annual Report describes the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a vision to transform Canada's public health system. The report proposes a series of transformation opportunities and actionable ideas that will leave us better prepared for the next public health crisis, and ultimately, help all people in Canada to achieve better health. To read the report, visit

     Also available is a “What We Heard” report, entitled A Renewed and Strengthened Public Health System in Canada that provides a summary of discussion groups and key informant interviews conducted to inform the development and drafting of this report.


  • Using Behavioural Science to Drive COVID-19 Testing

    Hosted in collaboration with the Testing, Contact Tracing, and Data Strategy Secretariat, COVID Task Force, Health Canada

    The purpose of this Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was to bring together Federal, Provincial and Territorial policy and decision makers, researchers and implementation experts, non-governmental organizations and other key stakeholders together to examine key trends in behavioural science related to screening hesitancy and behaviours for COVID-19. Specifically, discussions focused on identifying strategies to combat testing hesitancy and misinformation related to COVID-19 risks, and exploring lessons learned from other communicable disease stigma reduction campaigns.


  • Clinical Guidance on Youth Vaping Cessation

    Hosted in collaboration with Health Canada's Tobacco Control Directorate.

    The purpose of this Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was to provide an opportunity for researchers, policy makers, health practitioners, youth, and other key stakeholders to support the Government of Canada's efforts to address the rapid rise in youth who vape. To complement enhanced efforts to prevent the uptake of vaping products among youth, there is interest in exploring approaches and tools that can help youth and young adults quit vaping.


  • Regulation of the Ontario Retirement Homes Sector

    Hosted in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and the Ontario Ministry of Health.

    The purpose of this Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was to examine the distinction between long-term care and retirement homes, gain a deeper understanding of the research and implementation evidence related to retirement home models and assess the current provincial regulatory regime of retirement and long-term care homes to support future decision making.

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