Health Systems Research* (HSR)

Combining in-depth and comprehensive training in theory and research methods to drive improvements in clinical practice, health systems transformation, and population health.

Health systems research students working together at a table

* Formerly Health Services Research, new name will be effective on SGS September 2023

The HSR program is at the forefront of research and collaborations that span regional, national, and global contexts.

Trainees will build their academic and professional portfolios while collaborating with a network of leading health service researchers in Canada and internationally. The program offers diverse areas of study to lead high-calibre research and prepare trainees for leadership roles in academia, research institutes, as well as in policy and planning positions in both the public and private sectors.

Studying with an Emphasis

HSR offers students the unique opportunity to focus their education on the following areas of study: 

Faculty lead: Eric Nauenberg & Boriana Miloucheva

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of fundamental economic principles as they relate to the healthcare sector. This emphasis builds capacity in mathematical and statistical techniques while providing students with practical knowledge on how to effectively communicate research motivations, study designs, findings, and implications to various audiences including academics and decision-makers. Students will feel equipped to critically analyze health policy issues and have a deeper understanding of resource allocation, health services supply, and how healthcare markets work.

Areas of study include: 

  • Health economic theory
  • Health economic evaluation
  • Health econometrics and machine learning

Faculty lead: Nelson Shen & Emily Seto

Students will design, evaluate, and use health informatics capabilities to better manage information and improve healthcare delivery. This highly interdisciplinary emphasis tackles major issues around the design, development, and evaluation of electronic solutions in consumer, community, and acute care settings. Students will be prepared with the necessary research tools, including the use of conceptual frameworks and research methods, to investigate specific areas of interest. 

Areas of study include: 

  • Development and evaluation of digital health innovations
  • Implementation of digital health innovations
  • Health informatics theory

Faculty lead: Fiona Miller

Students will investigate the political, social, and economic conditions that produce and distribute health and illness across populations and jurisdictions, and examine the systems devoted to sustaining public health and to financing, governing, and delivering healthcare and related social services.

Areas of study include: 

  • Comparative health policy and systems
  • Public health policy
  • Healthcare policy
  • Health technology policy

Faculty lead: Whitney Berta

Students will explore organizational behaviour, organizational theory, strategic management, implementation science, sociology, and industrial-organizational psychology to understand the organization of health services and the impact of management and organizational practices on performance. This highly interdisciplinary field will explore diverse topic areas including how healthcare organizations are managed, leadership, healthcare practitioners, patient safety and quality of care, team functioning, organizational change, inter-organizational relationships and networks, governance, and evidence-based management.

Areas of study include: 

  • Health practitioner outcomes (e.g. burnout, turnover)
  • Motivation and leadership in HSR organizations
  • Strategic decision making
  • Change implementation

Faculty lead: Kelly Smith

The Health Services Outcomes and Evaluation emphasis draws upon several academic disciplines including epidemiology, program evaluation, and economics to systematically examine the impacts of health services on the health status of various populations. Students should have demonstrated knowledge of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, primary data collection and secondary data sources, and the strengths, weaknesses and appropriate application of different research designs and data analysis strategies.

Areas of study include: 

  • Program evaluation
  • Comparative effectiveness, safety, economic and other outcomes of health systems, services & programs 
  • Methods for health services research 

Faculty lead: Zahra Shakeri

The Health Systems Artificial Intelligence (AI) emphasis is designed to prepare graduates to significantly contribute to the advancement of AI in health and healthcare.  The emphasis will equip students with the necessary foundational knowledge, literacy,  and skills to bridge the gap between the rapid advancements in AI and its application to meet healthcare needs. Within this highly emerging emphasis, students will learn foundational concepts, research methods, and ethics related to AI in health.

Areas of study include: 

  • Health data mining and data science
  • Multimodal learning and knowledge representation learning in healthcare
  • AI in population and public health, public health surveillance
  • Health AI Deployment and AutoML
  • AI enable operational efficiency in a healthcare system
  • Ethics and policies of AI in health

Faculty lead: David Naimark & Brian Chan

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is an interdisciplinary field that advances and applies theories, concepts and methods in order to inform decision-makers on the introduction, use, and dissemination of health technology. The HTA emphasis encompasses quantitative and qualitative methods to equip students with skills within the main pillars of HTA to be able to critically analyze health policy issues related to health technology. 

Areas of study include: 

  • Evidence synthesis
  • Economic evaluation
  • Social, legal and ethical consequences of emerging technologies

Program Highlights

Network with Thought Leaders

Learn and receive mentorship from internationally recognized faculty who are known globally for their innovations in health services research.

Lead Impactful Research

Build skills in leading original, high-calibre practical research that will contribute to the evolution of health systems.

Collaborate with

Learn in an immersive and highly interdisciplinary environment with the opportunity to focus your education in diverse areas of study.

Health Services Systems and Policy Research Seminar Series

The HSSPR seminar series is offered annually, with themes varying each year. These seminars are open to all HSR students and to the public.

HSR Careers 

HSR Student and Supervisor

HSR equips students to take on senior leadership roles within professional practice and academia.

Graduates of the program have found professional opportunities in diverse settings including:

  • Community-based healthcare organizations 
  • Industry (pharmaceutical, medical devices, regulatory)   
  • Health nonprofits   
  • Academia and research institutes
  • Government agencies   
  • Global health agencies

People from HSR

Latest Alumni Stories

Kayleigh Gordon

Kayleigh Gordon joined HSR for the strong interprofessional education and opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of research methodologies.

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Reham Abdelhalim

Reham Abdelhalim highlights how HSR provides the tools and support needed for a successful career in health services research.

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Rui (Ray) Fu

Ray Fu highlights HSR’s multidisciplinary approach and focus on exposing trainees to a wide range of research areas and skills.

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Logan Roy

Logan Roy joined the HSR program to collaborate with like-minded colleagues across diverse fields within the healthcare sector.

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Latest HSR News

Image of a doctor meeting with a patient

Public Trust Crucial for Use of Administrative Health Data in Identifying Future Health Risks  

March 6, 2024

Faculty / Research

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Image of Kerry Kuluski Emily Cordeaux and Yasmin Sheikhan

New Funding Program Inspired by IHPME Students and Faculty Supports Student Research and Patient Partnerships 

January 24, 2024

Faculty / Research / Students

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Valeria Rac

Dr. Valeria Rac named Canada Research Chair in Health System and Technology Evaluation

December 6, 2023

Faculty / Research

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Want to counter health misinformation? There’s a course for that

July 20, 2023

Education / Students

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New faculty spotlight: A Q&A with Dr. Boriana Miloucheva

July 12, 2023


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Dr. Sara Allin co-chairs conference on health systems governance during COVID-19 pandemic

July 6, 2023


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IHPME student wins third grant for work in digital health research

June 12, 2023

Awards / Research / Students

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oxycodone opioid tablets

Researchers develop tool to help hospitals reduce loss and theft of medications

June 8, 2023

Faculty / Research

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Meet the researchers turning a hospital into Canada’s first learning health system

June 6, 2023

Faculty / Research

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Image of Xiaomeng Ma, winner of the Young Investigator Award

IHPME Student Wins Young Investigator Award

May 30, 2023

Awards / Research / Students

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Upcoming Events

Research and Impact Day 2024


Apr 24, 2024 from 9am (EDT)

155 College Street 6th/7th Floor


Event Details

Promoting the Health of Workers and Older Adults in Long-Term Care Homes Through Nature and Strategic Decision-Making


Apr 24, 2024 from 4pm-5:30pm (EDT)


IHPME Events

Event Details

Design Charrette: Building Salutogenic Long-Term Care Homes


Apr 29, 2024 from 8am-4pm (EDT)

In-person event located at the Health Sciences Building (155 College Street, Toronto)

Virtual option available to watch the presentations

IHPME Events

Event Details

Learn More About this Program

HSR Program Director

Katie N. Dainty
Email Address: katie.dainty@​

Co-leads the management of the HSR Program.

Graduate Administrator

Zoe Downie-Ross
Phone Number: (416) 946-3486
Email Address: ihpme.grad.admin@​

Coordinates student records, graduate funding, and student-related awards.

Graduate Admissions

Christina Lopez
Email Address: ihpme.admissions@​

Manages admissions and responds to all related inquiries.

Graduate Assistant

Nadia Ismail
Phone Number: (416) 946-4100
Email Address: ihpme.grad.assist@​

Coordinates various graduate initiatives including defences, student events, and graduation.

HSR Program Assistant

Anita Morehouse
Phone Number: 416-946-3922
Email Address:​

Manages the HSR courses including enrolment, grades, and access to Quercus.