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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis

Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


CHEPA researchers have helped shape Canada’s health system for more than a quarter-century. They continue that tradition today, investigating pressing issues such as the relationship between doctors’ pay and health system costs; ethical concerns related to who gets what care and who has a say in it, and whether evidence supports the health decisions being made.

The centre was founded in 1988 by a group of health economics and health policy analysis pioneers -  Greg Stoddart, Jonathan Lomas, Roberta Labelle, David FeenyGeorge Torrance and Amiram Gafni - to be a multidisciplinary centre with research, teaching and service activities that provide timely and relevant evidence to inform policy-making at all levels of the health-care system.

It continues this tradition today, working at the intersection of the health and social sciences, evaluating how Ontario’s health system is performing and supporting the development of policies to enhance the system’s effectiveness and sustainability. Evidence about what works and what could be improved derives from the study of how well policies achieve their objectives and the consideration of values such as fairness and patient-centredness.

Using the tools of economics, sociology, political science and ethics, CHEPA researchers address issues such as:

  • Explaining and measuring the factors that cause social inequalities in health.
  • Finding the best ways to pay health-care providers and manage human resources to achieve higher quality and better outcomes for the money spent.
  • Researching the best methods for assessing new health technologies and treatments, as well as the social implications of these methods.
  • Assessing the roles of values and ethical considerations in health policy.
  • Using public and community engagement to learn about the health system.
  • Finding ways to support evidence-informed policymaking.

CHEPA’s knowledge exchange program, which uses multiple strategies for communicating and sharing information, ensures the knowledge generated through the work of its members is effectively communicated to health system decision-makers and other stakeholders. Collaboration with those who use the research ensures that CHEPA’s work meets the specific needs of these individuals and groups. Complementary initiatives, such as a rapid-response evidence service and training, enables health system leaders to identify and act on evidence and values in a timely way.

  • HIV expert to talk about why affected communities must be involved in research

    Sean Rourkeā€‹Clinical neuropsychologist Sean Rourke is transforming the way population health and community-based research is done, resulting in a stronger impact on policies and front-line services, and helping to solve complex health problems for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

    Rourke will discuss his work, and why it’s so important for researchers to engage affected communities, on Feb. 10 at a CHEPA seminar entitled Meaningful engagement of affected people and communities in research: Why it matters, how it is done, and what impact it can have.

    Rourke is a scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital; professor of psychiatry, U of T, and scientific and executive director of the Ontario Ministry of Health AIDS Bureau-funded Ontario HIV Treatment Network. He is also the director of three national centres funded by CIHR doing research on HIV/AIDS

    The seminar will be held on Weds. Feb. 10  from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Communications Research Lab (CRL) B119. All are welcome. The seminar will be available remotely for those unable to attend.

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  • CHEPA researchers engaging Canadians to better inform cancer drug funding decisions

    Julia AbelsonCHEPA faculty member Julia Abelson is a principal investigator on a new national initiative to engage Canadians in order to better inform the decisions made about cancer drug funding.

    The research, funded by the Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC), also involves the participation of researchers at the McMaster Health Forum, including John Lavis and Mike Wilson, who are also members of CHEPA.

    In announcing the $800,000 grant, the ARCC noted that although new therapies have resulted in health gains in the treatment of cancer, drug expenditures for cancer treatment have risen faster than in other areas of health care, leading to concerns among policy makers and health care providers that the high costs for new cancer treatments might not be justified by the “often small increase in health benefit they provide over less expensive drugs.”

    The team will be responsible for engaging Canadians on their priorities for cancer drug funding decisions in order to “generate guidance and recommendations from deliberative public engagement events to inform cancer drug funding decisions within different provincial jurisdictions, and to identify common guidance across provinces.”

    Full story

CHEPA Seminar Series

CHEPA sponsors a regular series of seminars presented by invited speakers. For a schedule of future CHEPA seminars, click here.

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