Dean of York’s Faculty of Health honoured by national advisory body

Harvey Skinner, dean of York’s Faculty of Health, has been inducted as a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the national advisory body that counsels government on health issues and public policy.

Left: Harvey Skinner

CAHS was established in 2004 by health and biomedical leaders in Canada as an arms-length organization to provide expert, timely and unbiased advice about pressing health issues for Canadians. Skinner was inducted on Tuesday in Montreal, during the academy’s annual meeting, becoming one of fewer than 200 fellows in the organization. He was chosen through an annual nomination and peer review procedure that recognizes fellows for their national and international reputation for discovery, innovation and leadership in health sciences.

A psychologist, Skinner was one of the first to focus on linking behaviour change, organizational improvement and information technology (e-Health). He has been a pioneer in the use of computer technology to assess health and change behaviour, and he developed three assessment instruments that are used internationally to measure alcohol dependence, detect drug problems and assess how well families are functioning. He also regularly advises governments, health organizations, universities and health care practitioners on how to reduce resistance – both in individuals and organizations – and increase motivation to change.

In addition to his interest in domestic health issues and policies, Skinner has a special interest in global health, which is in keeping with CAHS’ commitment to be a major voice in health sciences internationally. He is research director of the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program, which promotes peacebuilding in the Middle East through health initiatives, and is also a member of the Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century and the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research. Skinner has also served as an expert adviser to the World Health Organization, US Institute of Medicine, US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, US National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences.