Signature Research Areas & Strategic Planning

Framing Our Future

Throughout 2015 and 2016, the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) embarked upon an ambitious plan to develop a comprehensive strategy that would drive its research activities for the next five years. The result was the Faculty of Health Sciences Strategic Research Plan - Framing our Future: 2016-2021 - a document which underscores the opportunities that exist for researchers within FHS to have a profound impact on how we define health, and on the health outcomes of people around the world. 

Defining Health

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in our understanding of the factors that determine health. Greater attention is being paid to a range of social, economic, environmental, and health service factors, commonly referred to as the Social Determinants of Health, that interact in complex ways to positively or negatively influence health. These developments have been added, and are complementary, to the foundation provided by basic biomedical and clinical health research. A key concept in this reconceptualization of health is that we can link studies in the health and social sciences, to shed light on the ways in which health is determined by biological factors, by social factors or the interaction between the two and the pivotal role of policy and practice in designing health care services that promote health and well-being.


At the core of this plan is the need to work together, to conduct interdisciplinary research that transcends traditional boundaries, builds on existing competencies and works toward creating meaningful change for people in all walks of life. To this end, it became clear that the work being done in FHS coalesced around four areas of research strength.

Signature Research Areas

On the Move

On the Move

Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health

Health Information & Technology

Health Information and Technology

Changing Health Services, Systems & Policy

Health Services, Systems and Policy