A Pioneer in the Field of Health Policy: Dr. Raisa Deber Retires from IHPME 

July 8, 2024

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An image of a person smiling in front of a window. 'After a distinguished career, Dr. Raisa Deber retires from IHPME, leaving a lasting impact on Canadian health policy and healthcare in Canada.'
After a distinguished career, Dr. Raisa Deber retires from IHPME.

Following a distinguished career spanning decades, Dr. Raisa Deber has retired from IHPME. Dr. Deber is a leading figure in the field of Canadian health policy who has made significant contributions to healthcare in Canada.  

Originally from Toronto, Dr. Deber was first hired in 1977 at the Department of Health Administration. She was completing her PhD in Political Science at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) while working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin.  

“It was wonderful returning to my hometown of Toronto,” says Dr. Deber. “I found that many of our U of T students were experienced healthcare professionals who were seeking to get graduate training in healthcare policy and management. Since my PhD training had not included much about Canada, health, or policy, I quickly realized the importance of learning from others. That lesson allowed me to have a wonderful career, working with superb colleagues and students, and making contributions to the healthcare system, as well as being married to a wonderful husband, since 1971, and raising a wonderful son, who added his fantastic wife and daughter to the family.” 

Her research interests have spanned across critical areas within health policy such as the distribution of health expenditures, particularly the 1% that make up the highest users, the examination of where nurses and other health professionals work, the roles of public and private financing, factors affecting patient engagement, and the shift of care from hospitals to community settings. Throughout her career, she has provided insights that have directly impacted policymakers and clinical practitioners. 

In 2009, she was awarded the Emmett Hall Memorial Lectureship, one of Canada’s most esteemed honours.  

In 2012, she was named a Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) fellow and in 2018, a fellow to the Royal Society of Canada, one of the highest honours presented to individuals in the arts, humanities, sciences and Canadian public life.  

Among her authored books are two from the University of Toronto Press (UTP), Treating Health Care: How the Canadian System Works and How It Could Work Better, and Case Studies in Canadian Health Policy and Management, the latter of which was written with many of the students that took her case studies course and is currently being updated.  

Affiliated with our Health Administration (MHSc) and Health Systems Research (HSR) programs, Dr. Deber has taught several courses at IHPME including Canada’s Health System and Health Policy, Case Studies in Health Policy, and Public Health Policy. Over the years, her dedication to issues related to health systems in Canada has made a lasting impression on her students and colleagues. 

“As Dr. Deber steps into her well-deserved retirement, we reflect on her remarkable career and the indelible impact she has had on Canadian health policy. Her unrelenting dedication to equity and fairness has helped shape our healthcare landscape, and her unwavering commitment to patient-centered decision-making have made her a true pioneer in health systems research. Thank you, Dr. Deber, for your efforts and contributions,” says IHPME Director, Audrey Laporte

“Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Deber has exemplified humour, humility, excellence and integrity. As a pioneering scholar, she has been instrumental in shaping the healthcare landscape and advancing health policy. As a committed mentor, supervisor and lecturer, she has excelled in engaging graduate and postgraduate students in research and creative scholarship. Her candour and expertise have made her a trusted advisor whose perspectives on healthcare financing, accountability and delivery and system sustainability have been solicited by the media and decision-makers at the provincial, national and international level,” says Andrea Baumann, Professor of Nursing and Associate Vice-President of Global Health at McMaster, and Dr. Deber’s first PhD student.  

“It has been wonderful working with my students and colleagues here,” says Dr. Deber. “My ongoing advice to incoming faculty and students is to not take yourself too seriously and to learn from each other.  So, thank you IHPME, to which I Have Put My Energies throughout my career.” 

Please join us in extending our sincere appreciation to Dr. Deber for her extensive service to IHPME. We wish her all the best in her retirement.

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Marielle Boutin
Email Address: ihpme.communications@​utoronto.ca

Manages all IHPME-wide communications and marketing initiatives, including events and announcements.