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Renewal of public health services in BC and Ontario


Principal Investigators:

Marjorie MacDonald, Trevor Hancock, Bernie Pauly, and Ruta Valaitis

Principal Knowledge Users:

Warren O’Briain (BC) and Heather Manson (ON)

(listed alphabetically):

Allan Best, Ted Bruce, Maureen Dobbins, George Eisler, John Garcia, Anne George, Anita Kothari, Craig Mitton, Linda O'Mara, Michael Pennock, Sandra Regan, Barb Riley, Esther Sangster-Gormley, Rita Schreiber, Joan Wharf Higgins, Sabrina Wong

Knowledge Users
(listed alphabetically):

Cindy Anderson, Gayle Bursey, Veronic Clair, Meghan Day, Karen Dickenson Smith, Rocchina Difiore, Lydia Drasic, Vera Etches, Linda Ferguson, Betty-Ann Horbul, Brian Hyndman, Victoria Lee, Maria Morais, Daina Mueller, Anne-Joyelle Occhicone,  Anna Pancham, Amanda Parks, Nancy Peroff-Johnston, Jennifer Pritchard, Doaa Saddek, Jennifer Scarr, Renée St Onge, Lorna Storbakken, Peggy Strass, Jacky Sweetnam, Carol Timmings, Roger Wheeler, Deanna White

Advisory Board Members:

Janet Braunstein Moody, Richard Massé, Gregory Taylor, Jane Underwood


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Funding Period:

January 2009 – January 2014

The purpose of this program of research is to conduct a set of studies that compare the implementation and impact of the BC Core Public Health Functions framework and the Ontario Public Health Standards. Our overarching goals are to contribute to:

a) public health systems renewal in BC and Ontario to inform system renewal in Canada and, in turn, contribute to improving population health and reducing health inequities;
b) advancing the field of public health services research in Canada by implementing a consensus-based research agenda and applying/developing innovative research methodologies;
c) informing integration and linkage of public/population health and primary care services; and
d) training expert public health services and population health researchers.

Our team includes leaders and experts recognized in both provinces, and nationally, including public health senior knowledge users and researchers at multiple universities. Each team member brings unique knowledge and expertise to the table, and collectively has extensive experience in health services and policy research, public and population health research, studies exploring the implementation and outcomes of population and policy interventions, as well as knowledge translation/exchange research. This diversity of disciplines and the team’s affiliations with five universities provides excellent opportunities for research training and mentoring. Team members are at various career stages and include experienced and promising new researchers.


The specific objectives of our program of research are:

  1. To explore and understand the implementation of and contextual factors influencing public health renewal in BC and Ontario.
  2. To examine and understand the impact and outcomes of public health renewal at organizational, systems, and population levels in both BC and Ontario.
  3. To explore the implications of public health renewal for public health human resources planning related to workforce competency, skill development, and basic and continuing education.
  4. To apply and contribute to the development of new, innovative and appropriate methods for: a) mapping the context of public health renewal, b) identifying the complex causal processes that link public health renewal to outcomes, and c) analyzing and describing the relationships and collaborations between primary care and public health practitioners and systems.
  5. To assess the nature and extent to which an equity lens has been integrated into public health renewal policies and programs in BC and Ontario and to critically analyze the application of an equity lens in relation to the reduction of inequities drawing on previously developed analytic tools.
  6. To engage in an innovative knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) process to strengthen and improve services and their linkage with other health services in BC and Ontario.


We will achieve our research objectives by conducting an a number of studies that are focused on two core public health programs common to both BC and Ontario. These include: chronic disease prevention/healthy living and sexually transmitted infection prevention. Two primary questions will be addressed:

1. What are the processes of public health standards/core functions implementation for two core public health programs in BC and Ontario, and how do differences in context within and between each province affect the implementation processes?
2. What are the impacts and outcomes of the two core programs and how do contextual differences and process of implementation affect these?

Furthermore, the following themes will be examined within the research questions:

1. What are the implications of public health systems renewal for public health human resources planning related to workforce competency, skill development, and for basic and continuing education?
2. What are the relationships between public health and primary care sectors within and across the two core programs and what effects do these relationships have?
3. How and to what extent is an equity lens integrated into the three core programs and with what impact?


Our program of research uses complex adaptive systems theory, which highlights the importance of context in understanding the implementation and impact of complex public health systems interventions. The research questions are conceptualized within a case study design, in which the case is defined as the core public health program. The main data collection and analysis strategies include: focus groups, key informant interviews, document reviews, secondary data analysis, concept mapping, and social network analysis.


For more information about this grant please contact Diane Allan, () RePHS Project Coordinator.


Overview of RePHS
RePHS overview (video format)

BC September 22 and 29 2011 Webinars
September 22 2011 webinar (video format)
September 29 2011 webinar (video format) - file too large for website: please contact to receive .pdf

BC October 15 2012 Meeting
October 15 2012 meeting (video format)

BC and Ontario Overview of Phase 1 Results

BC Lessons Learned
Ontario Overview

Conference Presentations 

CPHA 2014

Primary Care and Public Health Collaboration 

TOPHC 2013

Implementation for Public Health Standards: Equity

CPHA 2013

Factors Influencing Implementation

Concept Mapping: Equity

Public Health Human Resources (PHHR)

CHNC 2013

Equity Workshop

UVic School of Nursing Research Conference 2013

Concept Mapping: Evidence

TOPHC 2012

Implementation of Public Health Standards

CPHA 2012

Fading Vision
Concept Mapping: Evidence

TOPHC 2011

Implementation of Public Health Standards


Public Health Human Resources

CPHA 2010

RePHS: A Research Framework
RePHS: Equity
RePHS: Chronic Disease Prevention
RePHS: Public Health and Primary Care


July 2010 - Vol. 1 Num 1
October 2010 - Vol. 1 Num 2
January 2011 - Vol. 2 Num 1
April 2011 - Vol. 2 Num 2
July 2011 - Vol. 2 Num 3
October 2011 - Vol. 2 Num 4
January 2012 - Vol. 3 Num 1
May 2012 - Vol. 3 Num 2
January 2013 - Vol. 4 Num 1


Please use 2010 (date) when referencing this webpage.

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