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Today’s challenging and transforming healthcare environment requires leaders in health to stay at the forefront of knowledge and to collaborate across sectors. CIFAR works with a diverse range of health-related communities to connect them to the latest research advances and insights emerging from our research programs. Over time, our goal is to position those thought leaders to solve complex problems and drive innovations in health care delivery.

Global trends

Healthcare is undergoing significant change with a growing focus on precision and customization based on new, revolutionary technologies. One of the most notable trends is the push towards precision medicine for driving more predictive and preventive care through targeted therapies. From the launch of large-scale population genome sequencing efforts whose data will provide a foundation on which precision medicine can be based to pharmaceutical companies striving to develop more personalized medicines, customization will significantly transform the sector in years to come.

Another growing global trend in public health is the decline in deaths from communicable diseases towards a rise in deaths caused by chronic diseases. Lifestyle and social determinants of health, as particularly experienced in early life, are receiving much attention as core drivers of chronic disease, providing key opportunities for intervention to improve lifetime health and well-being, patient outcomes and to reduce healthcare costs.

The health sector also has been witnessing an influx of new and emerging technologies including machine learning, biosensors, next generation sequencing and virtual reality. These technologies have the potential to transform how diseases are detected and treated but are also providing new tools by which researchers gather data to better understand the functioning of the human body.

Finally, in a world which is experiencing growing income inequality, socio-economic inequalities in health and well-being have also been on the rise, not only between countries but across populations within countries. Creating environments that support healthy development, particularly early in life, will be key for sustaining well-being across the lifespan.

Health & Well-being at CIFAR

CIFAR has been committed from its inception to connecting novel research-driven insights and ideas to influential thought leaders in the health and well-being sectors. During its early years, CIFAR’s founding president, Fraser Mustard, took a visionary approach of bringing together leaders from different professions, interests and regions to support the Institute in exploring the scientific and societal challenges related to two of its programs, Population Health (1987) and Human Development (1993), in order to create real change in practice. Those efforts led to substantive changes in policy and programs related to the early years and determinants of health.

CIFAR seeks to engage Canadian and global leaders in health-based organizations, including healthcare practitioners and public health officials, and decision makers within non-governmental organizations, government, associations, and industry, in dialogue around topics of mutual interest and importance to our research programs in order to advance knowledge and understanding and drive innovation in both health research and practice. We develop opportunities for dialogue around topics that warrant sustained interactions between influential knowledge users and our fellows in these programs.

Current Knowledge Mobilization Areas

  •   What are the implications of the microbiome to public health?

  •   How can we decipher and attribute gene variants to complex traits and how can this knowledge be used to understand disease progression and the longer-term pursuit of precision medicine?
  •   What are the clinical and ethical implications of emerging consciousness research across the lifespan?

  •   How can we drive more targeted structure-based drug design?


Stanford Medicine 2017 Health Trends Report: Harnessing the Power of Data in Health PDF

Vision 2025 - The Future of Healthcare: Projecting Market Transformations and Growth Opportunities Site

Deloitte: 2017 Global Healthcare Outlook - Making progress against persistent challenges Abstract