UAC February 2017 Update


Learning Resource on Trans-disciplinary Research (TD)

Prepared by Jill Allison (co-chair, CCGHR Capacity Building Committee)

The CCGHR Resource on Transdisciplinary Research (TD) has been created to provide some key information to researchers but more importantly, to start a conversation about the importance of a TD approach to the deeply complex problems in global health.  Often called “wicked problems” the kinds of challenges being explored by global health researchers are often hard to define, multi-faceted and deeply embedded in social contexts.  As a result, there is little agreement on the origins of a wicked problem, the necessary approaches to resolving (or indeed its capacity to be resolved!) and the necessary resources and actors who will participate in the work of resolving such problems.  TD approaches demand that we move beyond disciplines and perspectives to bring many voices to the table, including civil society and community members.

The TD approach aligns well with the Canadian Institute for Health Research’s focus on Patient Oriented Research.  The grants available under the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) program are aimed at increasing the opportunity for health research to address the main concerns of the people who will benefit from findings.  CIHR defines patient oriented research as:

A continuum of research that engages patients as partners focusses on patient-identified priorities and improves patient outcomes. This research, conducted by multidisciplinary teams in partnership with relevant stakeholders, aims to apply the knowledge generated to improve healthcare systems and practices.

CCGHR is well positioned to encourage and support the growth of research teams that take a TD approach in meeting the CIHR funding mandate.  The concept of engagement is at the heart of the TD approach and the resource will provide opportunities for people to explore ideas, get feedback and add to the references and case studies, ensuring that this is a lively and interactive resource for all members of CCGHR.  A product of an interdisciplinary team with a variety of experiences in research, from social sciences to OneHealth to clinical and lab bench approaches, the resource is also intended to build a network of advocates and help promote the importance of trans-disciplinary work among University administration and research funders.

The current version of this Learning Resource has been placed into the documents section of this UAC website. We would like to have a dialogue with your views about this resource. Please send your comments to Jill at: .  Thank you.

UAC December Update 2016


Important steps taken at 6th UAC Workshop in Vancouver 

The sixth annual workshop of the CCGHR’s University Advisory Council (UAC) took place in Vancouver on November 15th, 2016, just prior to the global Health Systems Research symposium. Of the current twenty-one institutional members, seventeen (17) were represented in the deliberations. Guided by previously distributed materials (that included an annual report), the participants focused on three questions:

  • What have we achieved in the past 12 months?
  • What is the UAC “added value”?
  • How can we make a case for increased membership fees?


Achievements in the past 12 months:

Updates were presented about the following activities:

  • Shawna O’Hearn (working group on internationalization and global health research) reported that the national dialogue on this issue was broadening to include various expressions of social responsibility. It was recommended that we share experiences from member institutions in the form of “stories”.


  • Jennifer Liu (working group on curriculum sharing) encouraged members to contribute to this resource on the UAC website;


  • Jill Allison (working group on trans-disciplinary research collaboration) reported (in absentia) that the document on this issue will be made available on the website for comment. She will facilitate an on-going dialogue on this theme over the next year.


  • Craig Janes summarized an example of the CCGHR’s “harmonization” initiative by describing a cluster of activities in Zambia’s western province, known as the “Zambezi Ecohealth Partnership” (ZEP).


  • As an example of Mentorship, Jennifer Liu described the recently completed “Ontario Coalition Institute” (OCI) and distributed reports on this event. Several members indicated an interest in organizing something like this in their own regions. The OCI team will write a “how to” toolkit for those interested.


  • The co-chairs of the CCGHR’s Policy and Advocacy Committee (PAC), summarized the recent work of this group.  Michael Clarke described efforts to speak with federal government Ministers Philpott and Bibeau about the Coalition and Canada’s potential role in global health research. This has led to upcoming meetings with Alain Beaudet (CIHR president) and a senior IDRC official.  Katrina Plamondon provided an update on the distribution and use of the recently published CCGHR Principles for Global Health Research.


UAC’s added Value:

In the vigorous discussion that followed these presentations, participants indicated that all the above activities need to continue. In particular, it was recognized that further thinking and action was needed about the UAC’s role in communication and advocacy.  These two issues were discussed in more detail.


  • Regarding communication, it was recognized that the UAC needs to work more closely with the CCGHR’s student and young professionals (SYP) network. There now are ten student chapters in member universities that will need strong support and encouragement. It was recognized that students can help in particular through the use of social media.  There also is considerable interest in planning other regional “Coalition Institutes” .


  • Regarding advocacy, a joint UAC-PAC work plan was discussed to include the following components:
  • clarify the way we talk about our identity and language as a network;
  • raise awareness of CCGHR activities, resources and benefits;
  • create a “Champion Toolkit” for work at an institutional level;
  • consider organizing a national conference on GHR with simultaneous regional hubs (“nodes”).


Making the case for increased membership fees:

This issue also led to a spirited discussion.  It was agreed that each member institution would be asked to contribute one of two “levels” of membership fees, depending in part on the size of the university and the amount of global health research activity at a given university:

  • an increased fee of $2,000 per year; or
  • continuing an annual fee of $1,000 per year, but with intentional discussions about how the institution’s capacity for GHR could be strengthened.

Participants requested that a statement summarizing potential benefits of institutional membership be prepared, for detailed discussions at each university. [Note: after the workshop, a small team drafted such a statement—it is attached to this summary.]

In addition, several participants excused themselves in order to attend a concurrent invitation session on “Canada’s Vision and Strategic Directions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.  Later, a few colleagues were able to return to the UAC workshop to provide their observations on this special session, and its implications for the CCGHR, including the UAC.


During the lunch hour, representatives of member institutions provided summaries of global health research activities at their own institution over the past year, in particular raising issues for the UAC to consider as a “collective”.

In the final “wrap up” session, individuals stated particular insights (“a-ha’s”) that occurred to them during the day, including how they planned to use these insights to strengthen GHR at their own institutions.

Based on all the contributions and deliberations of the day, the UAC executive committee will prepare a 2017 UAC work plan outline, that will be made available to all members, and also posted on the website.



UAC October Update


Agenda for November 15th UAC Workshop

We’re pleased that so many of you are able to join us for the November 15th workshop. Here is a preliminary agenda for the day.

  1. Welcome and a quick round of introductions
  2. Approve proposed agenda
  3. What have we achieved in the past 12 months? [See Annual Report].
  • Working Groups:
  • Curriculum Sharing – Jennifer Liu
  • Internationalization and Global Health Research – Shawna O’Hearn
  • Trans-disciplinary Research Collaboration – Jill Allison (or designate)
  • Harmonization: Craig Janes about the “Zambezi EcoHealth Partnership” (ZEP) as an example of harmonization
  • Mentorship: Susan Elliott about the Ontario Coalition Institute (OCI) as an example of “nurturing the next generation” (mentorship).
  • Advocacy: Updates from PAC (Michael Clarke; Katrina Plamondon)
  1. What is the UAC “Added Value”?
  • Brief introduction by Jennifer and Vic
  • Small group discussions (on-the spot “huddles”)
  • Key priorities for 2017
  1. How can we make the case for increased membership fees?

–  Brief introduction by Charles

–  Small group “huddles”

–  Revised funding strategy

  1. UAC issues for Pan Canadian Session (parallel session from 1:00 – 3:00 pm)
  2. Highlights and issues from member universities (to be discussed during lunch)
  3. Synthesis of priorities and outline of 2017 UAC work plan
  4. Observations and comments from invited guests.
  5. Feedback from Pan Canadian Session
  6. Conclusion

To prepare for a productive day, each liaison person will also receive a preparation letter from the UAC Executive Committee with questions to discuss with your university colleagues, along with a UAC annual report. We have also posted this report in the documents section of the website.

If you have any further questions, please send e-mails to Jennifer Hatfield at – and Vic Neufeld at .  See you soon.






Preview of November 15th UAC Workshop


We hope that many of you are planning to join us for the 2016 annual UAC workshop that will take place in Vancouver on November 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., just prior to the major Symposium on Health Systems Research that begins that evening. The venue for the workshop is the SFU facility at 515 West Hastings Street, in room 2250 (the “West Coast Energy Executive Board Room”). Here is a brief preview of the plans for this important event.


This will be the sixth (6th) UAC workshop since the CCGHR’s institutional membership was inaugurated in 2010. Obviously, the global health research context has changed substantially since then, both nationally and globally.  So we want to take this opportunity to consider the question: What is the ‘added value’ of the UAC, what are our priorities going forward, and what can we do together to implement them? To help us with these considerations, we are preparing a succinct annual report of our efforts since our November 2015 workshop in Montréal. We will get this to you soon, along with more detailed background note and an agenda.


As a proposed framework for our Vancouver discussions, we put forward the view that the UAC’s added value is seen in the following priorities:

  • Advocacy: with an update on the dissemination of the CCGHR’s “Principles for global health research”, and a report from the Coalition’s Policy and Advocacy committee (PAC);
  • Harmonization: with examples from Tanzania and Zambia. Also, we will review how we can collaborate more closely with existing national groups such as the AFMC committee on social accountability.
  • Mentorship: with a special commitment to facilitating the career development of the “next generation” of global health researchers in Canada. We will report an important pilot event—the “Ontario Coalition Institute”, and also review how we can work more closely with the Coalition’s Student and Young Professionals (SYP) network.
  • Special Interest Groups: with update reports from the working groups on Trans-disciplinary Research Collaboration, and Share Curricula.


We will consider how better to implement these priorities, by re-examining how we are structured as an organization, and how we support ourselves financially. You will see specific proposed options about this in the upcoming pre-workshop background note.


Finally, since our workshop is taking place in conjunction with the major Health Systems Research Symposium, we plan to invite selected guests from other countries as observers.


Stay tuned for further details.  Meanwhile please inform us about your plans to join us by sending e-mails to Jennifer Hatfield at – and Vic Neufeld at .  See you soon.

UAC May Update


Some new information

This month’s update introduces the activities of a new working group, and provides some details about the next UAC workshop in Vancouver in November.  Also included is a note about an interesting editorial in a recent Lancet.

Working Group on Curriculum Sharing:

 In the UAC website, under the “working groups” tab, you will find an introduction to a new working group. As you will see, this group is collecting information about graduate level courses offered at Canadian universities, on the theme of global health research. Two kinds of courses will be listed: on-line courses where students from any university could enroll; and other courses (not on-line) that have useful and interesting materials to share.

Next UAC workshop in Vancouver on November 15:

 Most of you will know that for this year, the annual Canadian Conference on Global Health has been incorporated into the “Fourth global symposium on health systems research” to be held in Vancouver  14-18 November 2016. Here’s a link for more information: . The main meetings will take place on November 16-18.

We’re pleased to inform you that this year’s annual UAC workshop will be hosted by Dr. John O’Neil and colleagues at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The workshop will take place on Tuesday, November 15th in the downtown SFU facility at 515 West Hastings Street, Room 2250 (the “West Coast Energy Executive Board Room”). Our workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please mark this date in your calendars.  More details about the workshop coming soon.

Editorial on Canada’s global health budget:

 In the April 9th issue of the Lancet, Toronto-based free lance writer (and CCGHR member) Jocalyn Clark contributed an editorial with the title: First Liberal budget good for Canadian science, but what about global health?”. The editorial was published online: Here is Jocalyn’s closing sentence: “A newly revitalized Canadian research community should hold the government to account for a bright future in global health”. Do you agree? Let’s have your views, by clicking “LEAVE A COMMENT” just under the title.

Prepared by Jennifer Hatfield and Vic Neufeld


UAC March Update


Journal Article Review

This month’s update consists of an introduction to a journal article that we think is

relevant to our work. Here are the particulars:

• Title: Moving global health forward in academic institutions

• Lead author:  Didier Wernli, Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva

• Source:  Journal of Global Health, June 2016 Vol.6, No.1.



Global health has attracted growing attention from academic institutions. Its emergence corresponds to the increasing interdependence that characterizes our time and provides a new worldview to address health challenges globally. There is still a large potential to better delineate the limits of the field, drawing on a wide perspective across sciences and geographical areas. As an implementation and integration science, academic global health aims primarily to respond to societal needs through research, education and practice. From five academic institutions closely engaged with international Geneva, we propose here a definition of global health based on six core principles:

1. cross-border/multilevel approach;

2. inter-/trans-disciplinarity;

3. systems thinking;

4. innovation;

5. sustainability, and

6. human rights/equity.

This definition aims to reduce the century-old divide between medicine and global health while extending our perspective to other highly relevant fields.  Overall, this article provides an intellectual framework to improve health for all in our contemporary world with implications for academic institutions and science policy.

Based on the six principles above, the authors proposed the following definition of academic global health (AGH).  Within the normative framework of human rights, global health is a system-based, ecological and transdisciplinary approach to research, education and practice which seeks to provide innovative, integrated and sustainable solutions to address complex health problems across national boundaries and improve health for all.

Prepared by Vic Neufeld 28 March 2016

UAC February Update

Progress on UAC’s 2016 Work Plan

Signing up for 2016 activities:

Thanks very much to those of you who indicated your interests in working on the various activities that we discussed at the November 4th annual UAC workshop. We are in the process of assembling and launching working groups. If you have not yet indicated your preference, please do so as soon as possible. [The sign up sheet can be found in the “Documents” section of the UAC website.}

Introducing the UAC Executive Committee:

We are pleased to inform you that the following colleagues have agreed to serve on the UAC Executive Committee (UAC-EC):

  • Jennifer Hatfield (chair)
  • Jacques Girard (Laval University)
  • Manisha Kulkarni (University of Ottawa)
  • Susan Elliott (University of Waterloo)
  • Vic Neufeld (Special Advisor)

The committee held its first meeting on January 29th. Look for reports from the UAC-EC in upcoming Updates.

Call for CIHR Global Health Scientific Reviewers:

Our National Coordinator, Charles Larson, has been in discussion with the CIHR about providing support through the CCGHR membership in reviewing research proposals with a global health research focus. With our considerable “hands on” experience living and working in low and middle-income countries, many of our members have the ability to judge protocols in terms of their cultural, social and political contexts. It has been agreed that the Coalition will identify scientific reviewers from within its membership (both Canadian and international members) who would be qualified to serve as reviewers. If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, please contact Charles at: , to complete a profile that will then be submitted to CIHR.

 A reminder about November:

Most of you will know that this coming November, the annual Canadian Conference on Global Health will be “integrated” into the Fourth global symposium on health systems research taking place in Vancouver from November 14-18. The theme is: “Resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world. For more information see: . The annual UAC workshop will take place in conjunction with this event. We will keep you informed about details as they become available.

UAC December Update

UAC December Update

Stories from the SYP Network: Targets and Tactics for the Upcoming Year

This guest Update has been prepared by Emily Kocsis, CCGHR Research Assistant

For the SYP (student and young professionals) Network, the past few months have been spent quietly strategizing for the upcoming year. With SYP memberships and Student Chapters growing on campuses across the country, the SYP Network has amassed a considerable number of energetic, keen and committed SYP fellows since its inception in 2014. While this growth has provided momentum to SYP programming, it has also challenged the SYP Executive to evaluate its role in leading this incredible group of SYP ‘go-getters’. How can we foster linkages between undergraduate and graduate students? What is unique about the needs and interests of ‘young professionals’? How can we better connect with the UAC? These are just some of the many questions the SYP Executive (with the helpful wisdom of Vic as our guide) has been engaging with and building on to inform our strategy for the upcoming year.

With this in mind, we believe an update to the UAC is due regarding one of our priority projects for the upcoming year: Student Chapters. A Student Chapter is a student-led initiative designed to foster research and networking in global health among university students across all disciplines and at all levels of university study (i.e., undergraduate, graduate). The goal of the Student Chapter is to bring together interdisciplinary students interested in global health research and provide a collaborative environment to enhance learning through educational discussions, seminars, and social networking.

For the upcoming year, we hope to accomplish two things with respect to our Student Chapters:

1) Establish a minimum of 3 NEW Student Chapters at our member institutions. This goal not only aligns with the Coalition’s strategic priority of ‘establishing well-functioning, sustainable student chapters at UAC member institutions’ but also helps to better position the SYP Network for future networking, mentorship and outreach projects.

2) Facilitate the development of liaison teams to support Student Chapters. Comprised of 4-5 faculty members, young professionals and recent graduates, liaison teams will advise and provide guidance to their respective Student Chapter, relieving the burden a single UAC liaison person might have to bear. Liaison teams also diversify the expertise available to Student Chapters, and provide young professionals and recent graduates an outlet for becoming better involved in CCGHR activities and programming.

Interested in CCGHR Student Chapters, but still not sure what benefits may come from having a chapter at your university? Below is a list of the advantages of being involved in a Student Chapter

  • Grow the influence of global health at your institution from the bottom-up by supporting students interested in getting involved in global health
  • Access to an energetic, keen population of students who can assist with initiatives in your research group, or help with an event you want to pursue
  • Collaborate with other student chapters in your local area on global health events, advocacy projects and networking initiatives, building stronger inter-institutional relationships at the regional-level. For an example of an inter-institutional collaborative project visit: to learn more about the global health forum organized by Waterloo, McMaster and Brock Student Chapters.
  • Opportunity to support and share your passions in global health with the next generation of Canada’s global health leaders
  • Develop a committee of professionals to support the Student Chapter and connect with other faculty members dedicated to global health at your institution
  • Help shape young minds, and offer guidance and direction through mentorship and networking events and opportunities
  • Gain new insights and ideas on global health topics from a fresh new perspective
  • Exchanges with students entering the field of global health provide the invaluable opportunity for you, and your colleagues to reflect on your own global health career

For more information please email the CCGHR Student Executive at: or the SYP Coordinator, Emily Kocsis, at

UAC November Update

CCGHR’s University Advisory Council:  5 years and onward

November 4th, 2015:  It was a cool clear day in Montréal when representatives of twenty Canadian universities met at the 5th annual workshop of the University Advisory Council (UAC) of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR).

The day began with an overview presentation by Charles Larson, CCGHR’s National Coordinator of the Coalition’s new 5-year strategic plan. He requested advice on how the expertise represented by the UAC as a Canadian university collective could be more visible and used, particularly by Canadian government officials. This concern was highlighted during a recent meeting of the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (CAN-MNCH) to which no university had been invited. It was learned that the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) was drawing upon expertise from an American university for advice about implementation research and tool development for accountability. In the discussion with UAC colleagues, it was agreed that the moment was opportune to bring the interest, expertise and willingness of the CCGHR’s UAC to the attention of DFATD officials. A small working group was struck to develop an action plan to “seize the day”.


Brief update reports were received from the leaders of the UAC’s current working groups. These included working groups on Internationalization and Global Health Research (GHR) by Shawna O’Hearn, Dalhousie University; Trans-disciplinary research & GHR collaboration by Jill Allison, Memorial University; Collaboration with the Student/Young Professional Network by Emily Kocsis, CCGHR Research Officer; and the CCGHR’s Harmonization Initiative by Vic Neufeld, CCGHR Special Advisor. Each report stimulated lively discussions and led to specific suggestions and recommendations. Key actions will be incorporated into the UAC’s 2016 work plan.

A major agenda item was a report of the Coalition’s two-year project: Gathering Perspectives Study (GPS2) presented by the study leader, Katrina Plamondon. The presentation focused on two documents that represented the main products of the work to date. The documents were:  Global Health Research: A Canadian Policy Perspective, and Principles to Guide Global Health Research. Both documents (along with working group summary reports) had been pre-distributed to the workshop participants, and also placed on the UAC’s website. Four discussion groups were created, with two groups assigned to each document. The groups were asked to focus in particular on these questions:

•     How can this document be used in your own institution?

 •     What actions should the UAC (as a collective) consider?

Each group identified some specific actions for the GPS2 research team to consider. A summary of these suggestions was to be presented to a special meeting held later in the week (November 7th) where a selected group of colleagues will develop a comprehensive GPS2 dissemination plan. Details about the dissemination plan (including the recommendations from the UAC workshop) will be available upon request.

Workshop participants then turned their attention to updates from each participating university about important developments of the past year, along with challenges and opportunities for the coming year. As was the case in previous years, these institutional “stories” represented a remarkable range of experiences and developments. There were important cross-cutting themes such as the following:

•     The continuing challenge of within-university “silos”, and the need for more creative arrangements for inter-faculty and trans-disciplinary interaction and collaboration;

•     Some exciting examples of major breakthroughs, such a significant fund (contributed by donors) at McGill University for student fellowships; renewed leadership for global health research at a deanery level at the University of Toronto; a major donation for global health research at York University; a new directorate for global health at Laval University and several other similar stories.

•     There is an increasing number of graduate programs in global health, some within the framework of population and public health programs.

•     There is growing interest in global health research by students at all levels. Over the past year, CCGHR student chapters have been created at five universities.

The workshop concluded with creative responses to the question: What should the UAC include in its work plan for the coming year, and how can we do things better?  Suggestions included the following:

•     Capitalizing on the new political environment to re-imagine Canada’s role in the world, and more specifically push for a Canadian strategy for global health;

•     Promote a critical dialogue about global health scholarship, including “stories” about global health research activities and innovations;

•     Include universities in the dissemination plans of the two documents being promoted by the Coalition’s Gathering Perspectives Study;

•     Clarify the interaction between global health education and research;

•     Facilitate regional inter-university global health research events (workshops; forums; possibly “institutes”);

•     An exploration about how universities with global health graduate programs across Canada can collaborate effectively and creatively;

Each participant was asked to consider his/her own role in achieving the proposed actions. A “sign-up sheet” will be circulated to members to help create working groups within the framework of the 2016 UAC work plan.

In summary, it was confirmed that the UAC plays a vital role as a collective voice to move the global health research agenda forward within individual institutions and nationally. Participants also stated that the UAC is a resource for Canadian universities, and the annual event along with the contribution of working groups provides a forum for collaborative and non-competitive approaches to addressing shared issues and opportunities. This is rare and valued.

[Note: there currently are twenty-one (21) Canadian universities that are institutional members of the CCGHR. Of these, 18 were represented at the workshop. Two “guest” participants were from universities that are currently considering membership.]

Policy Document Available


 (September 2015 UAC Update) 

We hope you all had a good summer, and are now back into the “academic swing”.

You will remember that in the June 2015 UAC Update, we alerted you to the fact that CCGHR’s Gathering Perspective Study (GPS-2) team was preparing a policy document about global health research. We’re pleased to inform you that the document: “Global Health Research: A Canadian Policy Perspective” is now available in the documents section of the UAC website. You can also click here.

Please consider doing the following:

  1. Download the document and read this analysis. In particular, please become familiar with the seven recommendations.
  2. In particular, please forward this document to the leadership of your university (for example, Vice-Presidents for Research), inviting them to consider the implications for your university, and discussing these with you.
  3. In addition, members of the GPS team are willing to meet with you for a “fireside discussion” (probably by Webex) to go over the analysis and recommendations in more detail.  If you would like to have such a discussion, please contact Roberta Lloyd at: .

Also please note:

• A longer background document will soon be available on the main CCGHR website;

• The policy analysis will also be presented as a paper at the upcoming Canadian Conference for Global Health in Montréal in November.

*  *  *

A reminder:

The 5th annual workshop of the CCGHR University Advisory Council will take place on Wednesday November 4th from 08:30 to 15:00 (3 p.m.) in Montréal.  The location is:  Charles Meredith House, 1130 avenue des Pins Ouest.  A detailed agenda will be sent to you soon.

Representing Institutional Members of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research