PHIRN: Population Health Improvement Research Network

Patterns & Pathways of Inequities update

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Dr. Labonté in late 2011 had his Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Health Equity renewed for a second 7 year term. His focal studies during this period will be on health worker migration, medical tourism, comprehensive primary health care renewal and global health diplomacy. Several of these study areas have implications for Ontario health equity and, through PHIRN and with a network of researchers, he is facilitating research syntheses and new studies on related topics.

Youth Futures

Youth Futures/L'Avenir Jeunesse is a complex population health intervention aimed at facilitating access to and furthering post secondary education for high-school students in Ottawa coming from ‘at risk’ backgrounds for social and health inequalities, including children from families with little or no post-secondary experience. The implementation evaluation assesses whether the program reaches the intended population, if the process is being implemented as planned, if the content is applicable, and whether stakeholders are satisfied with the program. This study is presently underway, and is expected to be completed within the next several months. Lead researchers on the project include Vivien Runnels, Caroline Andrew ( Professor Emerita, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa), and Elizabeth Kristjansson and input has been received from several community partners, including the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing, Youth Zone Jeunesse, City of Ottawa Parks, Recreational and Cultural Services, City of Ottawa Employment Services Unit, Sandy Hill Community Centre, Pathways to Education and Saint Paul University, and other community sponsors.

Food Security Studies

where is the foodFood security is rising in importance internationally and locally. These studies were funded by CIHR ( but with additional support through PHIRN to examine two aspects of local food security policy:

  • Theory for Food for All: Planning and implementing a knowledge translation theory in the development of a local community food policy.(Paper in review) 
  • Analyzing food policies in Canada: an analysis & compendium of Canadian food policies and food charters. (Report near completion)

Lead academic researchers on this project include Elizabeth Kristjansson, Vivien Runnels (Globalization and Health Equity Unit), Caroline Andrew and Ronald Labonté; with extensive leadership and participation from community agencies and participant researchers, including Just Food, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Carleton University, the Ottawa Food Bank and many members of the public.

Housing and Health: New Immigrants

This study, completed in 2011, is a review of qualitative and quantitative studies on immigrant housing status, and its association with health and well-being. It found that recent Canadian policy changes have made housing less accessible for new immigrants with low incomes and that this lack of affordable housing raised their risks of ill health. It discusses several options to reduce the housing-related health risks faced by new immigrants to Canada.

Hadi, Abdullahel and Labonté, Ronald. Housing and Health of the Immigrants in Canada: A Narrative Review. Exchange Working Paper Series, Volume 2, Number 4. University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Commentary, Canadian Journal of Public Health (in preparation)

Determinants of Rural Community Health

This pilot study characterizes rural communities, spatial determinants of health, and health outcomes in rural areas surrounding the City of Ottawa. It is an extension of the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study using innovative statistical and GIS techniques. Several community organizations and health centres are partners in the study. The study is being led by Elizabeth Kristjansson (Department of Psychology, University of Ottawa), and Michael Sawada Department of Geography, University of Ottawa). A final report and journal article are in the last stage of completion. The report will shortly be posted on the PHIRN web-site.

Global Influences on Health Equity


In October 2011, Dr. Labonté was invited to give an opening address in the session on global influences on health equity, at the WHO’s high-level invitational meeting on Social Determinants of Health. His comments were followed by a roundtable discussion involving senior diplomats and health ministers from low-, middle- and high-income countries. A copy of his comments was published as a PHIRN working paper  “Global Action on Social Determinants”

A Rights-Based Approach to Housing and Poverty Reduction

This study was undertaken in In collaboration with the University of Ottawa’s SSHRC-funded Community-University Research Alliance Project “Reconceiving Human Rights Practice.” It has generated two technical papers reviewing the legal bases in human rights law for housing and poverty reduction policies in Canada and Ontario, both of which are under final editing for posting on the PHIRN website. A third paper, as well as popularized briefing papers, are in final production. Lead researchers on this study have been Martha Jackman (Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa) and Bruce Porter (Social Rights Advocacy Centre).

Measuring Social Exclusion/Inclusion

This review of concepts, models, measures and indicators of social exclusion/inclusion was undertaken in collaboration with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The intent was to recommend approaches to measure social exclusion as an enriched concept to income-only measures of poverty or inequality. The review was a comprehensive analysis of post-2000 English and French language literature on concepts, indicators and measures of social exclusion/inclusion, as well as a lengthy analysis of key related concepts from the sociological and public health literature See: Technical Report: Labonté, R., Hadi., A. and Kaufmann, X. Indicators of Social Exclusion and Inclusion: A Critical and Comparative Analysis of the Literature, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2012.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 November 2012 14:38 )