Max Bell Population Health Project

Moving from Evidence to Effective Policy

2009 Policy Fellows
2009 Policy Fellows
Funded by the Max Bell Foundation, this five-year project provided a unique training opportunity to McGill students in moving research to policy, produced new knowledge of successful policies and programs in Canada and globally to in key social determinants of health, and effectively mobilized this knowledge locally, nationally and internationally to impact policy change.

Each year, the project addressed a different topic of critical importance to equity and health: labour conditions and challenges faced by the working poor; educational equity; civic participation and equity; sustainable cities in a changing climate; and disability and equity.  

The goals of this project included:

1) pulling together a comprehensive overview of the research evidence on social problems impacting on health for policy makers;

2) conducting compelling case studies of programs seeking to address these problems;

3) developing expert recommendations for next steps; and

4) creating teaching tools for the next generation of leaders.


Over the course of 5 years, 44 students from 26 departments learned how to conduct research that will be useful to policy development and how to effectively communicate this to policy audiences to influence policy change.  These fellows conducted case studies in 24 countries and 6 Canadian provinces on promising policies and practices. Through internship opportunities, 103 students from 37 different disciplines received training in Canadian and global policy data collection and research and worked on in depth research projects with input from senior staff.

Expert Advisory Boards

Thematic scientific and policy advisory committees advised the annual theme and mentored cohorts of fellows.  Advisors were instrumental in providing valuable input on case study selection, fellows policy briefs and presentations, and were key experts to involve in policy strategy discussions and conferences. See tabs to the left for thematic advisory boards.

A high-level policy advisory board of Canadian government and NGO leaders informed the entire process, providing advice on research and training as well as the development and dissemination of policy recommendations throughout the five year initiative.


Antonia Maioni, Associate Professor, McGill Political Science and Institute for Health and Social Policy

Jody Heymann, Founding Director, McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy


James Chauvin, Director of Policy Development, Canadian Public Health Association, and President-Elect/Vice-President, World Federation of Public Health Associations

Nabanita Giri, Director General, Obesity Policy Coordination Office, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch, Public Health Agency of Canada

Siobhan Harty, Director General, Social Policy Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Diana Mackay, Director, Education and Health, Conference Board of Canada

Christopher MacLennan, Acting Vice President of Strategy Policy and Performance and Director General of Thematic and Sectoral Policy, Canadian International Development Agency

Sharon Manson Singer, Adjunct Research Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, and Co-founder of

Michael McCulloch, Senior Advisor, Human Rights Policy Division, Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Michael Mendelson, Senior Scholar, Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Shawn Tupper, Assistant Deputy Minister, Community Safety and Partnerships Branch Public Safety Canada

International Conferences

The IHSP hosted yearly international research to policy conferences bringing together top Canadian and international researchers and policymakers to discuss creative and effective policies and programs for promoting health, human and economic development. Conferences brought together an international group of leading practice, policy and academic experts from 28 countries, 7 Canadian provinces, 48 universities, 94 non-governmental organizations, 17 departments of the Canadian government, and 8 intergovernmental organizations.

Knowledge Mobilisation and Dissemination

The IHSP has produced a series of edited volumes based on the conferences and the case studies:

  • Lessons in Educational Equality: Successful Approaches to Intractable Problems Around the World (Oxford University Press)
  • Making Equal Rights Real: Taking Effective Action to Overcome Global Challenges (Cambridge University Press)
  • Ensuring a Sustainable Future: Making Progress on Environment and Equity (forthcoming by Oxford University Press)
  • Disability and Equity at Work (forthcoming by Oxford University Press)

In addition to the edited volumes, case study results have been published as journal articles and as web publications.


  1. Labour Conditions of the Working Poor 2007
  2. Educational Equity 2008
  3. Civic Participation and Equity 2009
  4. Sustainable Cities in a Changing Climate 2010
  5. Disability and Equity Across The Lifecourse 2011

See the theme tabs to the left for additional information.

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