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.

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 

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: Emily Seto & Quynh Pham

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: Meena Andiappan

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: Lesley Gotlib Conn & 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: Emily Seto & Elham Dolatabadi

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
Others

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 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 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 News

Four photos of the 2022 Cathy Fooks and Malcolm Moffat Awards

IHPME Celebrates Leadership and Academic Excellence with the 2022 Cathy Fooks and Malcolm Moffat Awards

December 20, 2022

Students

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Photos of the 2022 Vanier Canada Scholars

IHPME Students Named 2022 Vanier Scholars

December 19, 2022

Students

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PhD students awarded Canada Graduate Scholarships from CIHR

May 13, 2022

Research / Students

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Trainees outline a road map for population health management in Ontario

April 25, 2022

Faculty

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Beyond emergency care: trainee looks at the role of paramedics in the health system

April 13, 2022

Research

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Celebrating International Women’s Day: A Q&A with surgeon-scientist-in-training Dr. Fahima Dossa

March 2, 2022

Faculty

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‘Always give back’: trainee develops research opportunities for youth amidst doctoral studies

February 3, 2022

Research / Students

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Doctoral students awarded funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

January 13, 2022

Research / Students

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‘It reminds me of the responsibility I have to my community in the future’: Opportunity Scholarship recipients committed to addressing health care disparities

October 26, 2021

Faculty / Research / Students

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IHPME PhD candidate Victoria Haldane

PhD student recognized with Award of Excellence for advocacy work on sustainability in health care

April 16, 2021

Research / Students

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Learn More About this Program


HSR Program Co-Director

Peter C. Coyte
Phone Number: 416-978-8369
Email Address: peter.coyte@​utoronto.ca

Co-leads the management of the HSR Program.

HSR Program Co-Director

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

Co-leads the management of the HSR Program.

HSR Program Assistant

Anita Morehouse
Phone Number: 416-946-3922
Email Address: ihpme.hsr.courses@​utoronto.ca

Manages the HSR courses including enrollment, grades, and access to Quercus

Graduate Administrator

Zoe Downie-Ross
Email Address: ihpme.grad.admin@​utoronto.ca

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

Graduate Admissions

Christina Lopez
Email Address: ihpme.admissions@​utoronto.ca

Coordinates all IHPME admissions

Graduate Assistant

TBD
Email Address: ihpme.grad.assist@​utoronto.ca

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