Primary Prevention

The Primary Prevention Research Group

The Primary Prevention Research Chair held by Dr. Alan Katz is funded by the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Research Manitoba. Dr. Katz has recruited a dynamic interdisciplinary team that is working on multiple projects focused on primary prevention and risk behaviours including: tobacco use and exposure, physical inactivity, mental wellbeing (resilience), nutrition and risk stratification.

The Primary Prevention Research Group has published several articles and presented at provincial, national, and international conferences. For a list of publications and presentations, click here.

Tobacco Use and Exposure

Tobacco related health consequences are world-wide and one of the earliest examples of a global non-infectious disease epidemic (WHO, 2008). Research from the Primary Prevention Research Group aims to understand the scope of literature on the topic as well as explore topics such as effectiveness of tobacco interventions and the integration of equity within tobacco research.

For a list of tobacco related publication and presentations from the Primary Prevention Research Group, click here.

Physical Activity

The World Health Organization (WHO) (2010) recommends that adults obtain 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. Physical inactivity, less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week, contributes to approximately 9per cent of premature mortality and is considered the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality rates. Research from the Primary Prevention Research Group has focused on understanding (1) What is working in physical activity, (2) what could strengthen what is working, (3) needs that are common across health regions, (4) actions that can be used to address identified needs, and (5) strategies to support cross-regional and interdisciplinary collaboration (Gonzalez, et al., 2017). In partnership with the Wellness Institute and Reh-Fit Centre of Manitoba the Primary Prevention Research Group’s current study aims to assess the association between physical activity and the burden of illness.

Follow the links below for the Physical Activity Environmental Scan of each Manitoba Health region:

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (RHA)
Southern RHA
Prairie Mountain RHA
Interlake-Eastern RHA
Northern RHA
Physical Environmental Scan Methodology

For a list of physical activity publications, presentations and current research activities from the Primary Prevention Research Group, click here.

Mental Wellbeing

Health policies and programs promoting mental health or preventing mental illness in the general public are under-recognized facets of primary prevention. Increasing awareness and adoption of such strategies could reduce the burden of mental illness in individuals, families, communities and society as a whole (Enns, J. et al, 2016). The Primary Prevention Research Group conducted a scoping review of reviews to understanding the interventions that promote mental health. The Primary Prevention Research Group is currently exploring next steps for mental health research.

For a list of publication, presentations and current endeavors in the area of mental health, click here.

Primary Care

Primary care is often an individual’s first point of contact with the health system. It is an important setting for attending to primary prevention. A pilot project, “Implementation of a Risk Factor Identification Tool (RFIT)” is currently underway. The RFIT program was built to assist physicians with personalized counseling around ‘Risk Behaviours’. RFIT creates an encounter note in the physician’s electronic medical record (EMR) identifying areas for primary prevention counselling. This study will assess RFIT implementation and obtain feedback from providers and patients who used RFIT.


One of the key social determinants of health is poverty, which is the quintessential target for primary prevention. It is a key risk factor for chronic diseases and poor health outcomes. A study team, which includes Dr. Katz and members of the Primary Prevention Research Group, is working to address poverty initiatives on the national level, including a Manitoba initiative, ‘Get Your Benefits’, with funding from the Winnipeg Foundation and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. For more information on the program, click here.

Raise the Awareness of Primary Prevention

A major mechanism to raise the awareness of primary prevention is increasing media attention of Primary Prevention messages. The key is to provide the support and resources for sustained and incremental change over time.

The Primary Prevention Facebook page and Twitter profile that feature regular blogs reflecting current Primary Prevention topics appearing in popular and social media.

Dr. Katz is a regular guest on CJOB (“House Doctor”) speaking about health issues. These discussions focus on a current issue in the news.

The Primary Prevention Research Group collaborates with colleagues locally and on the national level, mentors local trainees to continue Primary Prevention research, and will provide public messaging to promote the profile of primary prevention. If you are interested in more information on, or collaboration with, the Primary Prevention Research Group, please contact Dr. Alan Katz.

Updated July 11, 2018

Contact Us

Primary Prevention Chair
Dr. Alan Katz
Tel: 204-789-3442

Research Coordinator
Leanne Kosowan
Tel: 204-272-3086