NAO: North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

The North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (NAO) is a collaborative partnership of interested researchers, research organizations, governments, and health organizations promoting evidence-informed health system policy decision-making. Due to the high degree of health system decentralization in the United States and Canada, the NAO is committed to focusing considerable attention to state and provincial health systems and to creating a foundation for more systematic health system and policy comparisons among substates.

Objectives

  • Establish an health systems research network in North America, beginning with the United States and Canada but eventually incorporating Mexico
  • Collect, analyse and disseminate information and analysis on health care policies and reforms, paying particular attention to state and provincial governments
  • Partner with the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies on research and knowledge transfer and exchange initiatives
  • Create a rapid response capacity for governments in North America interested in obtaining environmental scans or analyses of policies comparing selected jurisdictions in North America

Products and Services

  • Comparative state and provincial health systems and policy studies
  • Monograph length health system profiles of provinces in Canada (eventually extend to states in the United States and Mexico)
  • Health policy news and updates for researchers and decision-makers
  • Policy briefs and environmental scans produced in response to rapid response requests of governments
  • Decision-maker summaries of findings from the NAO’s major research projects

NAO Governance Structure

  • At this formative stage, the NAO is being housed at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), University of Toronto, also the location of the NAO’s first research hub. Research hubs will eventually be established in the United States and Mexico
  • The NAO Director is Dr. Gregory P. Marchildon, Professor and Ontario Research Chair in Health Policy and System Design, IHPME, University of Toronto. Dr. Jay Shaw is the NAO’s Head of Research and Alexandru Titeu is NAO’s Research Officer. Shaw is a faculty member of IHPME and scientist at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, and Titeu is a health researcher employed by IHPME.
  • In 2017, a board will be established that will include representatives of participating countries and organizations
  • Similar to the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, the NAO will seek out the active membership of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Americas / Pan-American Health Organization
  • Reporting to the NAO board, the NAO secretariat will conduct the daily business of the NAO

Gregory P. Marchildon, Director of the NAO

The founding director of the NAO, Gregory P. Marchildon is Professor and Ontario Research Chair in Health Policy and System Design at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto. A scholar-practitioner, Marchildon has extensive experience in establishing and working in national and international research and policy networks. A member of the editorial board of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Marchildon is also the Canadian representative on the Health Systems and Policy Monitor network. As the founding director of the NAO, Marchildon is mobilizing the key people and infrastructure to launch and manage the NAO.