The Institute of Population and Public Health launches at the Université de Montréal

On May 7, 2024, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) proudly celebrated its official launch at the Université de Montréal.

From left to right: Claire Betker, Tammy Clifford, Elaine Hyshka, Carl Ardy-Dubois, Kate Frohlich, Yves Joanette, Theresa Tam, Marie-Josée Hébert, Alex McComber

Over 40 people were in attendance, along with more than a dozen guests online. The ceremony began with Ohen:ton Kariwatehkwen, "the words that come before all else,” shared by Dr. Alex McComber, Kahnawa:ke community representative and McGill professor. He warmly welcomed everyone to Tiohtià:ke, the traditional unceded territory of the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka and invited us to remember that two-leggeds are not superior to all other life; that we share the earth with plants, animals, other humans and the heavens.

Dr. Kate Frohlich, IPPH Scientific Director, then shared introductory remarks and invited several distinguished guests to speak: Dr. Yves Joanette (Deputy Vice-Rector Research, Université de Montréal), Dr. Tammy Clifford (CIHR Acting President), Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert (CIHR Governing Council Chair), Dr. Carl Ardy-Dubois (Dean, Université de Montréal School of Public Health), Dr. Theresa Tam (Chief Public Health Officer of Canada), Dr. Claire Betker (Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health), and Dr. Elaine Hyshka (IPPH Institute Advisory Board co-Chair). The various speakers commended Dr. Frohlich’s dedication to advancing the field of population and public health and expressed enthusiasm for the Institute’s mission.

From left to right: the IPPH team – Danielle Schirmer, Bahar Kasaai, Alexandra Grisé, Kate Frohlich, Arnab Majumdar, Laila Smith

Dr. Frohlich, who began her mandate in September 2023, spoke to her vision and aspirations for the Institute, including a commitment to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative approaches to addressing health inequities. She described the Institute’s new strategic priority “Moving Upstream”, which focuses on the structural determinants of health and shared several exciting funding opportunities. Finally, she took the time to introduce the new team at IPPH who began in December 2023: Dr. Laila Smith (Associate Director, since moved on); Dr. Bahar Kasaai (Assistant Director); Arnab Majumdar and Danielle Schirmer (Strategic Initiative Leads), and Alexandra Grisé (Institute Operations Lead).

Dr. Frohlich closed the event by inviting everyone to stay tuned for the Institute’s Listening Tour which will take place in the winter/spring of 2025. It is the tradition at CIHR for new Scientific Directors to begin their mandates by visiting their research community across the country. We look forward to meeting and hearing from you all!

For those unable to attend the launch event, a recording is available for viewing on Facebook.

“The Institute plays a crucial role in the advancement of population health… This theme is a major concern for Canadians, especially given this era of postpandemic challenges, climate change and rising inequalities.”

Dr. Yves Joanette, Deputy Vice-Rector Research, Université de Montréal

“With its broad and critical mandate … IPPH is uniquely tasked with tackling global issues and research priorities to improve the health of Canadians… This may be a daunting task, but IPPH has what it takes to achieve its ambitious mandate.”

Dr. Tammy Clifford, CIHR Acting President

“I am excited by the expertise and the potential opportunities that will stem from the Institute’s work in the months and years to come… I am confident that the Institute will provide the excellence and scientific leadership needed to pave the way for novel research in support of … population health in Canada and globally.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
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