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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis
Julia Abelson

Julia Abelson

Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI)
Director, Health Policy PhD program
Associate member, Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences


T: (905) 525-9140, ext. 22128

McMaster University
CRL Building, 2nd Floor, Room 203
1280 Main Street West,
Hamilton, ON
L8S 4K1

Julia Abelson is a professor in the Department of Health Evidence and Impact, and an associate member of the Department of Political Science. She was director of CHEPA from 2006-2011, and is a past recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator award, and an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Career Scientist award. She is also the director of McMaster's Health Policy PhD program. Abelson obtained her M.Sc. in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health and her doctorate in social and policy sciences at the University of Bath, U.K. Her research interests include public engagement in health system governance; the analysis of the determinants of health policy decision-making; and the evaluation of innovations in the organization, funding and delivery of health services. Through her research, education and service activities, Abelson works closely with decision-makers in provincial, regional and local governments.


  • public engagement methods and evaluation
  • values in health policy analysis
  • politics of health policy


Boivin A, Richards T, Forsythe L, Grégoire A, L’Espérance A, Abelson J, Carman K. Evaluating patient and public involvement in research. Editorial. BMJ. 2018; 363:k5147.
Abelson J,
Tripp L, Brouwers M, Pond G and Sussman J. Uncertain times: A Survey of Canadian Women’s Perspectives Toward Mammography ScreeningPreventive Medicine. 2018. 112:209-215.

Abelson J,
Tripp L and Sussman J. “I just want to be able to make a choice”: Results from citizen deliberations about mammography screening in Ontario, Canada. Health Policy. 2018. 122 (12) 1364-71.

Boivin A, L’Espérance A, Gauvin F-P, Dumez V, Macaulay A, Lehoux P, Abelson J. Patient and public engagement in research & health systems decision making: A systematic review of evaluation tools.  Health Expectations. 2018. July 30.

Abelson J. Patient engagement in health technology assessment: what constitutes 'meaningful' and how we might get there. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy. 2018. 0(0) 1-3.

Abelson J, Allin S, Grignon M, Pasic D, Walli-Attaei M. Uncomfortable trade-offs: Canadian policy makers' perspectives on setting objectives for their health systems.  Health Policy. 2017.  121:9-1 

Carroll SL, Embuldeniya G, Abelson J, McGillion M, Alexandre Berkesse A, Healey JS. Questioning patient engagement: Research scientists’ perceptions of the challenges of patient engagement in a cardiovascular research network. Patient Preference and Adherence. 2017; 11: 1573–1583.

Abelson J, Wagner F, DeJean D, Boesveld S, Gauvin F-P, Bean S, Axler R, Petersen S, Baidoobonso S, Pron G, Giacomini M and Lavis J. Public and Patient Involvement in HTA: Framework for Action. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 2016. 32:4 doi:10.1017/S0266462316000362

Shearer JC, Abelson J, Kouyaté B, Lavis JN, Walt G. Why do policies change? Institutions, interests, ideas and networks in three cases of policy reformHealth Policy and Planning. 2016. 31:1200-1211.

Montesanti S, Abelson J, Lavis J, Dunn J. Enabling the participation of marginalized populations: case studies from a health service organization in CanadaHealth Promotion International. 2016.

Abelson J, Wilson G, Li K, Shields K, Schneider C, Boesveld S. Supporting quality public and patient engagement in health system organizations: Development and usability testing of the Public and Patient Engagement Evaluation Tool (PPEET). Health Expectations. 2016. doi: 10.1111/hex.12378.

LangtonJ M, Wong ST, Johnston S, Abelson J, Ammi M, Burge F, … McGrail K. Primary care performance measurement and reporting at a regional level: Could a matrix approach provide actionable information for policy makers and clinicians? Healthcare Policy. 2016.12 (2),33-51. 

Shearer JC, Abelson J, Kouyaté B, Lavis JN, Walt G. Why do policies change? Institutions, interests, ideas and networks in three cases of policy reformHealth Policy and Planning. 2016. 31:1200-1211.

Montesanti S, Abelson J, Lavis J and Dunn J. Enabling the participation of marginalized populations: case studies from a health service organization in Canada. Health Promotion International. 2016; doi: 10.1093/heapro/dav118

Li K, Abelson J, Contandriopoulos D, Giacomini M. Conceptualizing the use of public involvement in health policy decision-making. Social Science and Medicine. May 23, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.023.

Abelson J, Bombard Y, Gauvin F-P, Simeonov D and Boesveld S. Assessing the impacts of citizen deliberations on the HTA process. International Journal of Health Technology Assessment in Health Care. December 2012.


  • health policy analysis
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