Health promotion researchers tap into national network

York’s health promotion researchers have just joined a consortium that will increase their access to a huge network of others doing similar work across Canada.

Dennis Raphael (left), a professor in Atkinson’s School of Health Policy & Management, will represent the York Centre for Health Studies (YCHS) on the Canadian Consortium for Health Promotion Research. He knows the value of joining the consortium. Before coming to York, he tapped into the consortium’s network of health promotion research to conduct a national study of seniors’ quality of life.

“The importance of this membership is that it connects York with an elaborate network of health promotion researchers,” he said. “It allows us to submit proposals that are national in scope and to become involved in research that might be initiated in other sectors. We will be immediately able to connect with researchers from Halifax to Vancouver.”

Like York’s centre, the consortium fosters interdisciplinary research and consists of university-based researchers from a variety of disciplines studying variables that affect the health of individuals and communities.

YCHS was established in 1990 and, in addition to stable core funding, has collected over $3 million in research funding over the past five years, according to centre director Marcia Rioux. The centre draws together faculty from the social, health and environmental sciences, as well as from nursing and law. The research undertaken at YCHS proceeds from the assumption that the health of individuals and communities reflects a host of interacting variables – social, political, economic, cultural and historical – and that without attention to these factors, efforts at intervention are likely to fail, wrote Rioux in the application to join the consortium.

The centre focuses on six areas: political economy of health; health policy, institutions and professions; women and health; culture, ethnicity and health; mental and physical fitness; and health and the environment. In the application, Rioux said the centre is currently developing several interdisciplinary research networks linking faculty with practitioners in health policy and health care to study such important issues as:

  • the epidemiology and mapping of SARS;
  • how poverty affects health and to what extent policy makers are aware of these effects;
  • the legal and ethical processes necessary for new forms of health care delivery to become effective on a wide scale in the health system;
  • the multidimensionality of pain and the promotion of pain-aware health care;
  • mental health policy in comparative, cross-province perspective, related to the use of new technologies and health-care procedures to monitor the symptoms of mentally disabled children so as to prevent deterioration.

For more information about YCHS, visit For more about the consortium, visit