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New faculty members seek to safeguard the health of populations

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November 4, 2005

Source: Simon Fraser University:

New faculty members seek to safeguard the health of populations

With the unprecedented appointment of a dozen new researchers in seven months and 19 students enrolled in its inaugural graduate degree program, Simon Fraser University's newest faculty - health sciences - is up and running this fall. Ten of the 12 new researchers are faculty members.

The faculty's multi-faceted view of health sciences has attracted an exciting array of nationally and internationally known epidemiologists, biostatisticians, qualitative health researchers and physicians. Their collaboration with researchers in other SFU faculties, public health researchers and a variety of health agencies will ultimately lead to SFU carving out a 21st century niche for itself. The faculty of health sciences aims to become an international incubator of research and policy development that safeguards the health of populations.

Many of the new faculty will teach courses in and conduct research connected to the faculty's inaugural graduate studies program - a Master of Science (MSc) in population and public health (PPH).

Michael Hayes is one of the architects of the FHS and its associate dean. Hayes says launching the MSc in PPH, first, puts the faculty on the right track for achieving its ultimate goals. They are researching sustainable health policies and helping policy developers make a paradigm shift - viewing health care as an investment, not a cost.

"Growing poverty, an aging population, increasing infectious and chronic diseases, and declining health dollars are fostering a costly disease burden that is making our current acute-care based system unsustainable," explains Hayes. "In addition, we see healthcare as the cost of coming up with medical magic bullets to cure diseases. But if we can view healthcare as an investment in preventing diseases in the first place, then we reduce the cost of and need for so many magic bullets."

This kind of paradigm shift requires a good grasp of the myriad factors determining population health. The newly appointed FHS members have devoted their careers to researching and dealing with these factors.

See SFU News for background and profiles of new appointees.

electronic photos available on request.





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