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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


  • Professor Steve Birch to retire

    29 Jan 2018

    Stephen BirchSteve Birch, one of CHEPA’s long-time faculty members, “has left the building” and will officially retire on March 31, 2018.

    A professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) at McMaster University, Steve has won many awards and accolades and has hundreds of publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In the 2011 World Bank rankings of health economics researchers, he was ranked equal 1st in Canada and equal 35th in the world based on the volume and impact of his publications.  However, He says he is proudest of his collaborations with people, both colleagues and students.

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  • Virtual healthcare trends in Canada to be discussed at next CHEPA seminar

    12 Dec 2017

    Jennifer Zelmer

    The state of virtual healthcare in Canada will be examined during CHEPA’s first seminar of 2018, being held MONDAY, January 15, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon (Please note the change of day and time).

    In her presentation From e-Booking to e-Visits and Beyond: Virtual Care Trends, Economics, and Policy Perspectives, guest speaker Dr. Jennifer Zelmer, president of Azimuth Health Group, will discuss the current state of virtual care in Canada and how it is evolving.

    She will also explore key economic and policy issues related to these trends and how they affect the scale and spread of virtual care.

    The seminar will take place in CRL-B119 on MONDAY January 15, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.  All are welcome to attend.

    If you are unable to attend in person you are welcome to participate remotely online, using WebEx. To join the seminar online, copy and paste the link below into your browser. The password is CHEPAseminar

    Seminar link:

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  • Visiting professor from Australia and Singapore to speak on the impact of health shocks on the spending dynamics of the elderly

    23 Nov 2017

    Dr. Terence Cheng

    CHEPA’s last seminar of the 2017 calendar year will be presented on December 6 by Dr. Terence Cheng, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and an Affiliated Researcher at Singapore Management University.

    His presentation, titled Monthly spending dynamics of the elderly following a health shock: Evidence from Singapore, will draw from research that used novel longitudinal data from 19 monthly waves of the Singapore Life Panel to examine the short-term dynamics of the effects that ‘health shocks’ ranging from a diagnosis of cancer to less-severe conditions such as hypertension have on household health and non-health spending by the elderly.

    The seminar will be held on Wednesday, December 6 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Communications Research Lab (CRL) B119. All are welcome to attend.

    If you are unable to attend in person you are welcome to participate remotely online, using WebEx. To join the seminar online, click here, or copy and paste this link into your browser:

    The password is CHEPAseminar

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  • Legalizing cannabis and its medicinal use for chronic pain: next CHEPA seminar

    02 Nov 2017

    Jason Busse, CMCRThe implications of legalizing cannabis and preliminary findings from a review of using cannabis to manage chronic pain will be addressed on Weds Nov. 15 in a CHEPA seminar presented by Dr. Jason Busse, Co-director of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote Centre of Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR).

    Medicinal cannabis is currently legal in Canada, and the federal government plans to legalize cannabis for recreational use in 2018. This talk will review the implications of legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis, introduce the CMCR, and present preliminary findings from a review of using cannabis to manage chronic pain.

    Dr. Busse is also the Principal Investigator for the 2017 Canadian guideline for opioids and chronic non-cancer pain, and an Associate Professor in the departments of Anesthesia and Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications with a focus on chronic pain, disability management, and methodological research.

    The seminar will be held on Weds Nov. 15 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Communications  Research Lab (CRLB119. All are welcome to attend.

    If you are unable to attend in person you are welcome to participate remotely online, using WebEx. To join the seminar online, click here

    The meeting password is: CHEPAseminar

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  • PMPRB policy change topic of next CHEPA seminar

    16 Oct 2017

    Dr. Mitchell LevineDr. Mitchell Levine, a Governor-in-Council appointment as the Vice-Chair of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board of Canada (PMPRB) and the board’s Acting Chair and CEO, will present the next CHEPA seminar, PMPRB: A time for policy change?, on Weds Oct. 18.

    Canada, like many countries, faces rising health care costs as payers struggle to reconcile finite budgets with patient access to promising new health technologies. Levine will discuss the indications for policy change in the wake of a release of a discussion paper on modernizing the guidelines, and the announcement of pending changes to PMPRB regulations.

    The seminar takes place on Weds Oct. 18 in CRL-B119, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend. If you are unable to attend in person you are welcome to participate remotely online, using WebEx. Copy and paste the link below into your browser to join the meeting:

    The case-sensitive password is MW6sCtgJ

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  • Two CHEPA-linked post doctoral trainees receive HSIF fellowships

    03 Oct 2017

    Two post-doctoral trainees with links to CHEPA are among the beneficiaries of a new Health System Impact Fellowship (HSIF) and Training Modernization Start-Up Grant program announced on Oct. 2 by federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

    Julia Bidonde, recipient of the inaugural CIHR-CADTH McMaster Health System Impact Fellowship, and Mark Embrett, a graduate of McMaster’s Health Policy PhD program, are two of the 46 PhD graduates who will receive hands-on learning opportunities in Canadian health system organizations.

    Mark Embrett Mark Embrett and Julia BidondeJulia Bidonde


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  • Evaluating the indicators of nursing care topic of fall's first CHEPA seminar

    14 Sep 2017

    Yaw OwusuCHEPA’s first seminar of the new academic year on Wednesday Sept. 20 brings one of its Health Policy PhD graduates, Yaw O. Owusu, associate director of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), back to McMaster to explain how the indicators of nursing care arising from Best Practice Guidelines (BPG) are evaluated.

    The RNAO launched its Nursing Quality Indicators for Reporting and Evaluation® (NQuIRE®) data system in 2012. NQuIRE is an online web entry system and database that collects, analyzes and reports comparative data on indicators reflecting the nursing staffing structure, nursing-sensitive process and outcome indicators of care arising from the Best Practice Guidelines.

    The data system was created to support Best Practice Spotlight Organization®s (BPSO®s) in evaluating and monitoring the implementation of BPGs in their practice settings across different health sectors.

    Owusu is Associate Director, Research and Evaluation, at the RNAO. He holds a PhD from McMaster, with a specialization in health economics.

    The seminar takes place on Wednesday Sept. 20 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Communications Research Lab (CRL) room B119. All are welcome to attend.

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  • Labelle Lecture examines the link between the caste system, infant mortality and unfulfilled economic potential in India

    09 Aug 2017

    Dean SpearsDean Spears, co-founder and executive director of r.i.c.e., a non-profit organization focused on research and policy advocacy for early-life health in rural India, will present the annual Labelle Lecture on Weds. Sept. 13. 

    In his lecture, Where India goes: Abandoned toilets, stunted development, and the costs of caste, Spears will address the health and economic development impact of the continuing practice in India of open defecation, which he says is an enduring consequence of the caste system.

    The lecture calls for annihilation of caste and a questioning of assumptions about the chain linking development policy to changes in rural India's villages.

    The lecture will take place at 3 p.m. on Sept. 13 in McMaster’s MDCL 3020, with a reception to follow in the Farncombe Atrium. All are welcome. You can also attend remotely by copying and pasting this link in your browser:

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  • Abelson receives the 2017 Egon Jonsson Award

    22 Jun 2017

    Julia Abelson

    Julia Abelson was awarded the 2017 Egon Jonsson Award at a ceremony in Rome on June 21 in recognition of excellence in contributions made to the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care.

    The award, for the paper Public and Patient Involvement in Health Technology Assessment: A Framework For Actionalso recognizes the contributions of co-authors and CHEPA faculty members Mita Giacomini and John N. Lavis, as well as François-Pierre Gauvin of the McMaster Health Forum and former CHEPA post-doctoral fellow Deirdre DeJean, and researchers and collaborators from other institutions across Ontario.

    The paper describes the development and outputs of a comprehensive framework for involving the public and patients in the work of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) at Health Quality Ontario.

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  • Guindon earns Early Researcher Award

    24 May 2017

    Photo of GuindonCHEPA faculty member Emmanuel Guindon has received an Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario for his research project entitled Fiscal policy and population health: the case of tobacco control.

    Guindon, a member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), who holds the CHEPA/Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Chair in Health Equity and is an assistant professor in McMaster’s department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI), has published extensively on the relationship between prices, taxes and tobacco use.

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  • National award for student’s essay on healthcare challenges of working poor

    18 May 2017

    Undergraduate student Xiaoyu (Elaine) Guo has won the 2017 Jack Boan Student Essay competition, which is awarded annually by the Justice Emmett Hall Foundation

    Guo, who was supervised by Emmanuel Guindon, will receive the award at the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) conference, being held in Toronto May 24-26. For more information about her essay, click here.

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  • Call for applications for CIHR-CADTH-McMaster Health System Impact post-doctoral fellowship

    01 May 2017

    sized Fellowship TweetMcMaster’s Health Policy PhD program is inviting interested PhD graduates, or near-graduates, to apply for a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in health services and policy research (HSPR) with a focus on public and patient engagement in health technology management.

    Applications will be accepted until June 30th, and will be reviewed as they are received. For more information see the Call for Applications.


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  • Nominate a promising researcher to give the 26th Labelle Lecture

    06 Apr 2017

    The Labelle Lectureship Committee is seeking nominations for a promising junior health services researcher — a rising star in the field — to be this October’s 2017-18 Labelle Lecturer. 

    The Labelle Lecturer can be from any country (including Canada). The ideal candidate has the following characteristics:

    1. Is early in his/her career development (assistant or early associate level), and shows tremendous promise based on early research accomplishments.

    2. Is conducting research on a topic that challenges existing methods or accepted ideas in health research.

    3. Is capable of delivering a high-quality lecture that will be of interest to a multi-disciplinary audience of health researchers and decision-makers.

    4. Can spend one to two days at McMaster. 

    Please submit nominations to Emmanuel Guindon. This Call for Nominations will close on May 15, 2017.

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  • Welcome to Jean-Éric Tarride, CHEPA's new Director

    31 Mar 2017

    Jean-Eric TarrideWelcome to Jean-Éric Tarride, who became CHEPA's new Director on May 1.
    Tarride is an Associate Professor in McMaster's Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI); an Associate Director of the Programs for Assessment of Technology in Health (PATH), The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton; an Associate Member in the Department of Economics at McMaster; and a long-time member of CHEPA. 

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  • Using Statistics Canada microdata for health policy research

    06 Mar 2017

    Mustafa Ornek croppedResearchers and decision-makers increasingly need up-to-date and detailed microdata information at the individual business, household or personal level to be able to respond to current needs and to anticipate future trends in Canadian society.

    The Research Data Centre (RDC) at McMaster houses a large inventory of Statistics Canada’s microdata 'master files', many of which are appropriate for health policy research.

    Mustafa Ornek (pictured) and Vivek Jadon, representatives of Statistics Canada’s Microdata Access Division, will explain the resources available at McMaster for conducting research using Statistics Canada microdata (and how to use them) at a CHEPA seminar on Weds. March 15 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in CRL-B119.

    Ornek, Data Analyst at the centre and a graduate of the Health Policy PhD program, will describe the RDC and its data holdings. Jadon, Data Specialist in the Maps/Data/GIS department at McMaster’s Mills Library, will describe access to Public Use Meta Files and explain the differences between those and the master files in the RDC.

    If you are unable to attend the seminar in person you are welcome to participate remotely online, using WebEx.  If it is your first time using WebEx, you must first set up your computer by clicking here and following the instructions. Once you’ve set it up you won’t need to do it again for future seminars.

    After you’ve set up your computer, click here to participate in the seminar. The meeting password is: chepaseminar

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  • 'Dance with the one that brung ya'

    01 Feb 2017

    What public health/primary care system would be best for the health of Ontario residents?

    Fran Scott, director of McMaster’s new Master of Public Health program, will reflect on that question in her Feb. 15 seminar entitled ‘Dance with the one that brung ya’ -  Public health and primary care in Patients First.

    Fran ScottShe says the public health and health care systems in Ontario have a long history of separate siloes except for some local, informal links. With the passing of Patients First in Dec. 2016, there is now a stronger mandate for formal relationships between LHINs and Medical Officers of Health in population health planning.

    She’ll talk about how this could open opportunities for public health to be a full player in health system leadership and delivery. 

    The seminar will be held on Weds Feb 15 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm in CRL-B119.  All are welcome to attend.

    If you are unable to attend in person you are welcome to participate remotely online, using WebEx.  If it is your first time using WebEx, you must first set up your computer by clicking here and following the instructions. Once you’ve set it up you won’t need to do it again for future seminars.

    After you’ve set up your computer, click here to participate in Fran Scott’s seminar. The meeting password is: chepaseminar


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  • How clinical practice guidelines can influence personal health care decisions

    13 Jan 2017

    Nancy SantessoClinical practice guidelines can assist patients and the public in making heath care decisions provided they’re communicated effectively, a topic that will be addressed on Weds Jan 18 by Nancy Santesso at CHEPA’s first seminar of the new year.

    Santesso, an assistant professor in McMaster’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact (HEI) and Deputy Director of Cochrane Canada, notes that clinical practice guidelines are typically written for health care professionals and program managers to provide guidance when making health care decisions, but they are also meant to assist patients and the public when making their own health care decisions.

    However, patients may not be aware the information from clinical practice guidelines is available or relevant to them. Her seminar will draw from a variety of studies showing that patients and the public do want this information, but that it needs to be personalized and provide guidance about how to apply it to their own situations, as well as explaining ‘why’.

    The seminar will be held on Weds Jan 18 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm in CRL-B119.  All are welcome to attend.

    If you are unable to attend in person you are welcome to participate remotely online, using WebEx.  If it is your first time using WebEx, you must first set up your computer by clicking here and following the instructions. Once you’ve set it up you won’t need to do it again for future seminars.

    After you’ve set up your computer, click here to participate in Nancy Santesso’s seminar. The meeting password is: chepaseminar

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  • New book unravels Ontario’s health system

    03 Jan 2017

    Lavis book coverAre you puzzled about how the Ontario health system works? 

    You can find answers in a book edited by CHEPA associate director John Lavis, entitled Ontario’s Health System: Key Insights for Engaged Citizens, Professionals and Policymakers, which helps make the system more understandable to the citizens who pay for it and are served by it, the professionals who work in it (and future professionals who will one day work in it), and the policymakers who govern it. 

    The full book can be bought on (People outside Canada can find it at If you are interested in particular topics (such as how money flows or how the primary care sector functions), individual book chapters are freely available by clicking here.  Adobe Reader is required to open the PDF pages.

    The book is divided into sections:

    Part 1 describes the ‘building blocks’ of the system, including who gets to make what decisions (governance arrangements), how money flows through the system (financial arrangements), and what and who make up the system’s infrastructure and workforce (delivery arrangements).

    Part 2 explains how these building blocks are used to provide:

    1. Care in each of six sectors – home and community care, primary care, specialty care, rehabilitation care, long-term care, and public health;
    2. Care for four conditions or groupings of conditions – mental health and addictions, work-related injuries and diseases, cancer, and end-of-life;
    3. Care using select treatments – prescription and over-the-counter drugs, complementary and alternative therapies, and dental services;
    4. Care for Indigenous peoples.
    Part 3 describes recent and planned reforms to the system and assesses how the health system is performing. 
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  • Power, culture and HPV vaccine policymaking topic of December CHEPA seminar

    06 Dec 2016

    Michelle Wyndham-WestGender, politics and health-care policy influence Ontario’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine policy in ways that will be noted in a Dec. 14 seminar titled The co-production of power and culture in Ontario HPV vaccine policymaking, to be presented by Michelle Wyndham-West.

    Wyndham-West is an adjunct faculty member at the School of Health Policy and Management at York University, where she earned her PhD and completed a post-doctoral fellowship researching emerging medical technologies and health policy. She also teaches in the graduate Design for Health program at OCADU.

    The seminar will be held on Weds. Dec.  14 in CRL-B119, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

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  • ICES site director Hsien Seow outlines research opportunities

    03 Nov 2016

    Hsien SeowThe Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) uses vast amounts of Ontario’s health-related data, including population-based health surveys, anonymous patient records and clinical and administrative databases to produce cutting-edge studies that evaluate health care delivery and outcomes in the province.

    Hsien Seow is the ICES-McMaster Site Director and also the Canada Research Chair for Palliative Care and Health System Innovation. On Nov 16 he will describe the opportunities the ICES database offers to researchers in a CHEPA seminar entitled: CHEPA + ICES = a match made in heaven?: New research opportunities at McMaster using administrative data.

    He’ll outline what ICES and the ICES-McMaster hub are and how they work; give examples of health policy and economic research using administrative data, and explain how to access the data.

    The seminar will be held Nov 16, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., in CRL B-119. All are welcome to attend. 

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