Our History

Key Phases in the Development of the Collaborations for Health Initiative:

  1. Consultation phase of the Refining Directions process recommended the University leverage its strengths in health.
  2. Establishment of a Task Force on Integrated Health Research and Education (2004) supported by Dr. Ken Norrie, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, Vice-President (Research and International Affairs) and charged with identifying the means, methods and opportunities, either available or needed, to encourage and support collaborative, interdisciplinary health-related research and education.
    1. Initial focus was on identifying opportunities for interdisciplinary health-related collaborations drawing on the social and behavioural sciences, humanities, and business.
    2. Resulting report contains much of the rationale for pursuing this initiative at McMaster and considers many of the factors that would be necessary for its success. Report available here.
  3. Public announcement of initiative with two key features:
    1. Expanding the scope to include all Faculties, in order to capture the breadth of collaborative health-related initiatives at the University.
    2. Identification of areas of particular strength and potential synergies to situate McMaster competitively in the external environment.

    "McMaster is world-renowned for its excellence in health-related education and research. This reputation has been built on unique interdisciplinary collaborations, a commitment to excellence, and the willingness to take risks and innovate. We now have the opportunity to build on existing strengths across all sectors of the university to ensure that McMaster’s capacity for excellence and leadership in meeting existing and emerging health challenges is fully realized." … "The goal of this initiative is to mobilize the university’s strengths in health-related research and education to excel locally, nationally, and internationally."

    Memo available here.

  4. Announcement of a University-wide pre-retreat Call for Ideas as a strategy to identify projects suitable for, and people interested in, interdisciplinary health collaborations. Announcement available here.
  5. Broad-based review of the more than sixty submissions suggesting a framework for organizing the initiative.
  6. Collaborations for Health Retreat to discuss the framework and the means to implement it.

University endorsement provided by Mamdouh Shoukri who welcomed the participants on behalf of senior University administration.

Invited guests Lillian Bayne (moderator), John Frank, Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Population and Public Health (CIHR-IPPH), and Jonathan Lomas, CEO, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF), provided an external perspective on the trends and challenges inherent in an interdisciplinary health initiative. Their comments informed group discussion and subsequent recommendations for sustaining the Collaborations for Health initiative.