Our approach
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Our approach

Our vision

To be a leading hub for improving health outcomes through collective problem solving

Our mission

To harness the best available evidence, convene concerned citizens and influential thinkers and doers, and prepare action-oriented leaders to meet pressing health challenges creatively


Public impact – We aim to improve the lives of citizens.

Quality and excellence – We harness the best available evidence, engage the best people and strive for excellence in all we do.

Inclusiveness – We give voice to all stakeholders and respect their unique perspectives.

Innovation – We use creative approaches to spark insights and generate action.

Transparency and integrity – We place all of our products in the public domain to encourage discussion and action.

How we work

The Forum's activities centre around dialogue and debate, research and education, with the goal of preparing the leaders of today and tomorrow, and citizens to act to address key health challenges. Building on McMaster's tradition of evidence-based medicine and problem-based learning, we draw on an unparalleled breadth of synthesized evidence to empower stakeholders to set agendas, take well-considered actions and communicate the rationale for actions effectively.

The Forum selects its topics based on the potential for action to make a difference in the lives of citizens. Timing also plays a key role in our decisions. For instance, if a government minister makes it clear that she wants to be known for delivering improved access and outcomes in the mental health sector, the Forum is ready to take action. Or if a coalition of continuing professional development stakeholders wants to contribute to chronic disease management in their province, the Forum can help.

We provide a laboratory for the study of Stakeholder Dialogues and Citizen Panels. Our Faculty-led Dialogue and Debate series and our Visiting Leaders program serve to spark new research areas, and act as a magnet for graduate students and researchers from McMaster University and beyond.

In addition, we host an active educational program that seeks to expose students to real-world knowledge translation and decision-making. Our public-focused talks, debates, and dialogues encourage discussion in the wider community.

Overview of events and programs

To promote lively discussion and informed action, the Forum convenes a number of different types of events:

Stakeholder dialogues bring together policymakers, leaders, citizens and researchers for off-the-record deliberations about pressing health challenges. While discussions are off-the-record, materials produced before and after a specific dialogue are made publicly available on the Forum's website and promoted widely.

Citizen panels engage groups of 15 to 18 people in off-the-record discussions about health challenges. Summaries of the discussions are posted on the Forum's website.

Public events feature guest speakers from the frontiers of efforts to address pressing health challenges.

Student-led events focus on highly topical health challenges that concern them and the general public.

Simulations courses offer students the chance to participate in simulated hospital board meetings, cabinet meetings, and World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board meetings, and interact with decision makers.

Global health courses give students the opportunity to consider critical factors and catalysts that influence global health decision-making processes and governance. 

The Forum also offers Visiting leaders and Fellows programs that allow researchers and students from McMaster and around the world to contribute to Forum events and conduct research on our stakeholder dialogues and citizen panels.

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