Welcome message from new IPPH Scientific Director Dr. Katherine Frohlich

As many of you now know, the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) has moved to the Université de Montréal and I began my tenure as Scientific Director on September 1, 2023. I am honoured to be taking on this role, and the IPPH team and I have already begun planning a refresh of the current 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.

I am so grateful for the leadership and vision of those who have come before me – Drs. John Frank, Nancy Edwards and Steven Hoffman. I am also determined to build on the strong foundations they have been instrumental in establishing. Through the conception and nurturing of the Applied Public Health Chair program, to the creation of population health intervention research and implementation science programs, and the monumental Healthy Cities Research Initiative, these examples demonstrate how IPPH has contributed to the unique position of Canadian population and public health researchers on the national and global scene.

IPPH has played a pivotal role in my career, beginning during my CIHR-funded post-doctoral studies at University of California, Berkeley where Dr. John Frank was a visiting professor. John sought out advice and input from those around him as he was stepping into his role as the first Scientific Director of IPPH. Our conversations and many future consultations with IPPH staff, as well as countless summer institutes, workshops, conferences and activities hosted by IPPH, have influenced and shaped my research career and capacity in fundamental ways over the last 23 years. I firmly intend to foster an equivalent environment for present and future IPPH associated researchers and students.

IPPH has at its core, rigorous research on health equity. This ethos has not only informed IPPH's strategic compass but has also reverberated across the broader CIHR landscape, now found in CIHR’s Strategic Plan, attesting to IPPH's profound influence internally and beyond. I am resolute in my commitment to push the boundaries of equity research in Canada, illuminate the structural upstream determinants that underlie inequities, and fund solution-focused research in response.

As Scientific Director of IPPH, I envision an Institute that champions the convergence of social science theories and methods with public health concerns, inviting novel avenues for research and exploration. My vision extends beyond the research we fund. I am eager to increase accessibility for those who have faced barriers in accessing the opportunities that CIHR makes possible. As we engage the minds of trainees, post-doctoral fellows, and early career scholars, IPPH will strive to be an inclusive community that welcomes a multiplicity of perspectives.

I wish to acknowledge the dedication and perseverance of the IPPH research community, particularly over the last four difficult years that has seen us face the pandemic of our lifetime. As we emerge from these unique challenges, I am eager to listen, reconnect, and initiate a dialogue that paves the way for a renewed era of collaboration within the existing IPPH community and beyond. We hope to engage on a Listening Tour in 2024-2025 to capture the pulse of the community and hear the directions that you wish IPPH to take, but in the interim, please feel free to reach out to me with your comments and concerns.

I extend sincere gratitude to CIHR and IPPH for their dedication during the recent transitional phase. Operating without a Scientific Director for over a year can be challenging. I wish to thank Christian Baron for shouldering this interim role, as well as Associate Director, Jennifer Gunning, who has held IPPH steady and focused.

I look forward to connecting with everyone who contributes to population and public health in our community, learning about your research, listening to you, and working together to advance health equity in Canada.

Dr. Katherine Frohlich
Scientific Director
CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health

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