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Knowledge Mobilization

McMaster Health Forum

Improving health outcomes through collective problem solving

The McMaster Health Forum is a leading hub for improving health outcomes through collective problem solving. 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.

To promote lively discussion and informed action, the Forum has developed a range of products and services, which include:

Health Systems Evidence

The world's most comprehensive, free access point for evidence on how to strengthen or reform health systems and on how to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them, is a self-serve resource that can help policymakers and stakeholders rapidly identify research evidence related to their work. Register for free today at healthsystemsevidence.org to access the database or sign up to receive monthly alerts on topics of interest. 

Health Systems Evidence is available at www.healthsystemsevidence.org

Rapid response

Introduced by the McMaster Health Forum to fill the gap between the ‘self-serve’ option of using Health Systems Evidence, and the ‘full-serve’ option of requesting a stakeholder dialogue informed by a pre-circulated evidence brief, this service offers a summary of research evidence on a particular health system issue within three, 10 or 30 business days. 

For more information on the Rapid Response program, contact mhf@mcmaster.ca

Stakeholder dialogues

Stakeholder dialogues bring together policymakers, leaders, citizens and researchers for off-the-record deliberations about pressing health challenges. One of the Forum’s signature programs, each dialogue consists of a multi-stage process that consolidates relevant research evidence on a specific topic in an evidence brief to inform off-the-record deliberations, with the goal of spurring action on pressing health challenges.

Stakeholder dialogues address some of the factors that have been identified as ways to increase the use of research evidence in policymaking and support the translation of research evidence into action. First, dialogues increase interaction among policymakers and researchers and build the informal relationships that have been shown to increase the use of research evidence. Second, dialogues can be organized on short notice in order to respond in a timely way to a 'window of opportunity.' Third, dialogues enable all participants to understand how the existing research evidence does or does not align with the existing beliefs, values, interests or political goals of key stakeholders (including within their own stakeholder group), and therefore where opportunities for synergy can be capitalized upon and tensions can be addressed more openly.

View a list of all of our stakeholders dialogues.

Citizen panels

Among its core programs, the Forum convenes panel deliberations, each informed by a citizen brief, to provide the opportunity for citizens to share their views and experiences on high-priority issues, which can uncover unique understandings of these issues and spark insights about viable solutions that are aligned with citizens’ values and preferences.

View a list of all of our citizen panels.

Health Systems Learning

The Forum provides online and in-person training about how to strengthen or reform health systems, and how to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them, based on the best available research evidence. The program builds on the experience of Forum Director John Lavis in conducting nearly 100 training workshops in more than 30 countries with health system policymakers, stakeholders and researchers drawn from more than 60 countries. The workshops have been continuously updated based on formative and summative evaluations. The training is designed for policymakers and stakeholders, as well as researchers, journalists and students. 

For information and course registration, please email hslearn@mcmaster.ca or visit our Health Systems Learning page.


Through these, and other approaches, the McMaster Health Forum aims 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. 

For more information about the McMaster Health Forum, visit our site or register for our monthly Forum Update newsletter