UVic Health Initiative (UHI)

The UVic Health Initiative (UHI) - formerly the Health Science Initiative (HSI) - is a joint activity of the Offices of the VP Research and VP Academic and Provost. It began in September 2018 with the goal of developing a set of strategies for enhancing the quality and raising the profile of health research, programs and related activities at UVic.


After consulting academic leaders and research centre directors, an advisory group was formed to advance the work. The advisory group consulted widely with both internal and external stakeholders over a period of approximately six months. Three well-attended townhalls engaged the UVic community as the work progressed. The resulting concept paper describes the work in more detail and provides a roadmap for next steps.

The concept paper

The concept paper (published Nov. 2019) recommends ways to unite health learners, educators and researchers under a common banner — “advancing lifelong health for all” — and outlines our goals and timelines to strengthen partnerships, increase funding for researchers, and create additional programming and funding opportunities for students.

The advisory group's activity was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will resume its meetings in fall 2020. The priority at this time is to implement some measures that will enhance health-related research on campus. Some of these actions will be announced later in the fall term, so please check back here for updates. Meanwhile, Michael Masson has been appointed as special advisor, health research, until December 31 this year, and will chair the advisory group for the fall term.

Share your feedback on the initiative via .

Advisory group members

  • Dr. Michael Masson, Special Advisor Health Research, Chair
  • Tony Eder, Executive Director, Academic Resource Planning, Co-Chair
  • Dr. Lisa Kalynchuk, Vice-President Research
  • Dr. Alexandre Brolo, Director of CAMTEC (Centre for Advanced Materials and Related Technology)
  • Dr. Caroline Cameron, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology
  • Dr. Alexandra D'Arcy, Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Humanities
  • Dr. Nikolai Dechev, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. Robin Hicks, Acting Associate Vice-President Academic Planning
  • Dr. Scott Hofer, Director, Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health
  • Dr. Francis Lau, Health Information Science
  • Dr. Charlotte Loppie, School of Public Health and Social Policy
  • Dr. Ryan Rhodes, School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education
  • Robin Syme, Executive Director, CanAssist
  • Dr. Karen Urbanoski, School of Public Health and Social Policy
  • Jennifer Vornbrock, Executive Director, Community and Government Relations
  • Dr. Bruce Wright, Head, Division of Medical Sciences


  • Sally Lin, Health Research Officer

Why health?

Many of the most challenging global issues are directly or indirectly related to health or wellbeing.  Having a strong research presence in this area will ensure that UVic is contributing to global issues in a meaningful way. Health research is prestigious: top research universities in the world have strong health research enterprises across a broad range of fields, from medicine and biosciences to health ethics, environmental health, philosophy of health and disease to addressing mental health through the arts. Finally, health research brings in considerable resources that can have broad impact across the entire university. For example, the average CIHR 5-year project grant is worth 5x the average NSERC Discovery grant. Building capacity in health research will significantly enhance UVic’s Tri-Agency revenues, which not only benefits our researchers, but also provides indirect benefits to the institution through increased envelopes for CFI, CRC, the research support fund (indirect costs) and graduate student scholarships across all disciplines.

UVic already has strength in health research with more than 200 faculty who self-identify as health researchers. The goals of the initiative are to improve the structure for health research at UVic, provide a clear direction for future activities in this area, develop a central vision of health research and provide visibility inside or outside the university of our strengths including a strong desire for the development of outstanding health programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. 

Townhall materials

Alignment with strategic priorities

This initiative aligns with key aspects of the Strategic Research Plan and the Strategic Framework, particularly in the areas of defining strategic research priorities and investing in areas of research strength that present opportunities for growth, maximum impact, and further global prominence.  It fits with the rankings and reputation initiative and the graduate student recruitment and retention goal of the Strategic Enrolment Management initiative. 

Completed meetings and consultations

Date Topics to be discussed
November 13, 2018
  • Introductions, ground rules for group
  • Scope of project
  • Process, site visits, timeline, survey, website, Consultations, townhalls
  • Discussion about how we define “health” at UVic
November 27, 2018
  • Health inventory - programs/research
  • Environmental Scans
  • Feedback from Deans, ADRs, Centre Directors
  • Finalize survey questions
December 11, 2018
  • Consultations
  • DMS faculty confirmed
  • Department heads confirmed
January 7, 2019
  • Consultations
  • HSD Directors
  • Health programs - Social determinants of Health/BME/Neuroscience
January 21, 2019
  • Consultations
  • BC support unit
  • Island health
February 4, 2019
  • Faculty survey results
  • Other external data - MoH, BC support unit
  • University of Saskatchewan/UNBC presentation
February 11,2019
  • Research pillar
February 19, 2019
  • Townhall everyone is welcome to attend
    • 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Medical sciences Building, Room 150.
March 4, 2019
  • Programs pillar
March 18, 2019
  • Structures pillar
April 1, 2019
  • Infastructure pillar
April 2, 2019
  • Townhall everyone is welcome to attend
    • 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building, Room 160
April to May 2019
  • Additional meetings
June-December 2019
  • Finalizing concept paper