February 25 , 2010


Editors: A photo of Arthur Sweetman can be downloaded at:


Ontario research chair appointment signals 'new era' in health policy

Arthur Sweetman named Ontario Research Chair in Health Human Resources


Hamilton, Ont. February 25, 2010The doctor shortage, health budgets, and the number of medical radiation technologists, and pharmacists needed in the province of Ontario are examples of some of the projects Arthur Sweetman will tackle.

Sweetman has become the inaugural Ontario Research Chair in Health Human Resources, a position funded by an endowment from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as part of the province’s health human resources strategy—Health Force Ontario. This Chair was awarded to McMaster University by the Council of Ontario Universities through the Ontario Research Chairs Selection Panel. Sweetman will join the University July 1.

“Ontario is being very innovative by, among other things, introducing new categories and roles for health professions, including physician assistants, dietitians, midwives, respiratory therapists, and physiotherapists,” says Sweetman. “But the province faces challenges because of its sheer size and the rate of growth of the health care budget. This chair will be able to address some of the most pressing public policy issues facing us today, and I look forward to working with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to assist its planning and policy development.”

A native of Montreal, Sweetman was most recently director of the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University. However, he is no stranger to Hamilton or to McMaster: He worked at Stelco before pursuing his PhD in economics.

“I’m thrilled that Arthur Sweetman has agreed to come on board to develop the evidence that will help us improve health human resources planning and strengthen patient care across this province,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

It’s not surprising McMaster was selected to develop a centre of excellence in health human resources research and modeling, says Charlotte Yates, dean of Social Sciences.

“There exists at McMaster a large and dedicated group of health policy and labour economics researchers. This chair joins a hub of expertise in this field and will find many experts with whom Arthur can collaborate,” says Yates. “But what makes this appointment exciting is that it signals a new era in which government is recognizing that universities are places of relevant knowledge and expertise that have the sophisticated level of research needed to shape policy development.”

“With health care accounting for almost 50 per cent of the province’s budget,” adds Bill Scarth, chair of McMaster’s Department of Economics, “considerable skill is needed to make the system more efficient without hurting patient care during the coming period of deficit reduction. Arthur has the ability to bring policy and rigorous empirical study under one umbrella.”

About Arthur Sweetman
Arthur Sweetman is a professor in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University, and is cross-appointed in the Department of Economics, and in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology.

Sweetman holds a Doctorate in Economics from McMaster University. Prior to studying economics full time he worked in Hamilton as an engineer and he has a Bachelor in Engineering with a minor in computer science from McGill University, where he received the British Association Medal for Great Distinction upon graduation.

His research interests focus primarily on empirical economic issues related to labor market, social and health policy. Recent research topics include health policy, education, immigration, poverty, employment insurance, program evaluation and microfinance.

He has edited a number of books, and published articles in a variety of collected volumes, and refereed journals including the Canadian Journal of Economics, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Economica, Research in Labor Economics, World Development, Review of Economic Dynamics, Journal of Population Economics, and Industrial and Labor Relations Review.

About McMaster University
McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.





For more information please contact:


Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988




Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869