“Today’s major challenges in health compel us to look beyond a sickness-care model to examine how people can stay healthy. Our Health Institute will respond to this vital gap while advancing our university’s strategic direction to double our research.”
— Concordia President Alan Shepard
Rethink how we approach health
The average Canadian today lives an unprecedented 81 years, according to Statistics Canada. While longer life is good news, increased incidence of disease greatly reduces quality of life.
About one in two Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes (Canadian Cancer Society);
Eleven million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes (Diabetes Canada);
In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem. Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).
The personal toll on individuals, families and communities is immense and the financial costs are rapidly expanding. According to statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canada’s total health spending in 2017 was $242 billion or $ 6,604 per person.
Tackling today’s health challenges requires new and interdisciplinary approaches. Canada needs a nexus where emerging discoveries can be translated to real-world applications — where big questions on health and well-being find novel solutions from across academic boundaries.
Concordia is the ideal place to launch such a pivotal undertaking — one that mobilizes a cross-section of experts from different fields to tackle the biggest challenges to health and well-being. Our ability to integrate activity across a wide spectrum of research — whether it’s sleep, mental health and addiction, healthy aging, nutrition or new technology — is a crucial advantage.
Canada’s next-generation university
As the country’s top-ranking university under 50 years old, we have a unique opportunity to create imaginative new research, teaching and outreach programs that others cannot.
The Health Institute will integrate Concordia expertise from more than 150 faculty members across our four faculties, including 27 research chairs in health-related areas. Among our research strengths are clinical psychology, exercise science, neuroscience, biomedical science and creative arts therapy. Our experts continue to advance health technologies, diagnostic tools, wearable devices and biometric textiles.
From prevention to new interventions and treatments to public-policy innovations, our cross-disciplinary researchers tackle a continuum of critical health issues affecting Canadians from childhood to old age. They engage individuals, community groups, research participants and other stakeholders as full partners. They empower people to embrace well-being.
Our institute will amplify our strengths to make Concordia a powerhouse in health research — one that complements institutions grounded in medical environments. We will do so by focusing on six primary themes:
Biomedical Fundamentals: Study the underlying mechanisms at the (epi)genetic, molecular, cellular and system levels to better understand disease and health states, explore the impact of external factors on health, and inform and guide health research and treatment, interventions and diagnostics to improve health;
Preventive Health: Improve and sustain long-term health and develop measures to prevent disease, in part through behaviour and lifestyle changes;
Health and Technology: Improve and develop imaging devices; nanoscale materials for detection and targeted treatment of disease; sensitive, rapid and specific diagnostic tests; new methods for drug production; and ways to collect and analyze health data to optimize care and research;
Health Policy and Governance: The study to evaluate the effects of public policies that address health issues, financing, and knowledge translation activities to guide decision-making and the development and implementation of health policy by government authorities;
Health and Wellbeing: Examine the physical, social, psychological, cognitive, spiritual and historical factors that contribute to healthy lives and healthy living. This includes research investigating specific health problems and behaviours as well as the mechanisms to assess and intervene to improve them;
Health Interventions: Investigate specific health problems and behaviors as well as mechanisms and interventions (treatment, therapy, medication, exercise societal and policy) to assess and intervene to improve them.
The future of health
The Health Institute will respond to the most urgent issues of our time. It will
unlock the potential to transform the lives of countless Canadians, while relieving an
increasingly burdened and unsustainable health care system. We look to you to help
us set a new standard in the study of health — an effort that will impact generations.