Strengths of our graduate program


CHS currently has 43 full-time faculty members and over 100 part-time nil-salaried appointed faculty members. The 43 full-time members include 11 geographic full-time (GFT) members, who are medical doctors, and most of whom have clinical appointments or work in government, and spend a minority of their time at the University. Of the other 32 faculty members, 29 are in tenured or tenure-track positions, two are in contingent positions, and one is an instructor in undergraduate medical education.  A strength of the Graduate Program is the diversity of interests of faculty and, hence, the diversity of opportunities for students learning in a multidisciplinary environment. The following are some areas of particular strength.

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Indigenous health research

A longstanding area of strength in CHS is our focus on Indigenous health. Ongomiizwin – Research (formally known as the Manitoba First Nations Centre for Aboriginal Health Research or MFN CAHR) is known nationally and internationally for promoting research excellence through the support and development of partnership-based health research with First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and/or Indigenous communities in Manitoba, Canada, and the world. The unit had historically been located in CHS when the centre was established in 2001, through collaboration between the University of Manitoba, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and the Foundations for Health. Following the creation of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Ongomiizwin – Research is now considered a centre within the Rady Faculty, and is tasked to bring together and serve the needs of all Rady Faculty of Health Sciences researchers engaged in First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Indigenous health research. However, Ongomiizwin – Research continues to be closely linked to CHS through faculty members and students.

Global health

The Centre for Global Public Health (CGPH) was established in the CHS in June 2008, in collaboration with the Department of Medical Microbiology. CGPH enhances the contribution of the University of Manitoba to the improvement of public health systems, programs and activities in diverse global settings. A cornerstone of CGPH is the design and implementation of international health and development projects in several countries, including among others India, China, Kenya and Pakistan. The primary foci of the CGPH are in the areas of HIV and STI prevention, and improving maternal, newborn and child health outcomes. The Centre conducts and supports applied public health research, and to this end houses a public health data laboratory. This provides a secure environment for the analysis of public health data sets from around the world, and for the development and testing of new and innovative methods of public health research and surveillance.

Health services and health policy

CHS is nationally and internationally known for the activities of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) , founded by Drs. Noralou and Leslie Roos in 1990. MCHP is a research centre of excellence that conducts world class population-based research on health services, population and public health, and the social determinants of health. MCHP develops and maintains a comprehensive population-based data repository on behalf of the Province of Manitoba for use by the local, national and international research communities. MCHP promotes a collaborative environment to create, disseminate and apply its research. The work of MCHP supports the development of evidence-informed policy, programs and services that maintain and improve the health and well-being of Manitobans.

Family maltreatment and violence

Child maltreatment became a strength in CHS, largely through the work of Dr. Tracie Afifi. With the recent merger with the Department of Family Social Sciences, CHS has gained substantial additional strength in family maltreatment and violence, with several former FSS faculty members involved in research and teaching in this area. Using diverse methodologies, such as population-based data analyses and qualitative research, faculty members study: child abuse, neglect, and physical punishment; child injuries at home; resilience in children; intimate partner violence; elder abuse; and the relationship between family violence and problem gambling.   

Health over the life course

Beginning with the internationally recognized work of Drs. Evelyn Shapiro and Betty Havens, CHS has a longstanding reputation for its contributions to the field of health and aging. This work continues with several CHS faculty. Currently, CHS houses the Manitoba Follow-up Study (MFUS), one of the world’s longest running prospective longitudinal health studies, which has followed a cohort of initially healthy young men for close to 70 years. CHS is also the departmental home for the Manitoba site of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, the largest study on aging ever conducted in Canada, which will follow approximately 50,000 Canadians between the ages of 45 and 85 for at least 20 years. Other faculty members’ research work in this area focuses on: economic costs of caregiving; families and caregiving; older men and depression; dementia; health and wellbeing of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and falls prevention in older adults.

Applied public health and epidemiology

Epidemiology is a core strength in CHS that is reflected in courses (an introductory epidemiology course, CHSC 7520, Principles of Epidemiology 1, is a required course for all programs) and many faculty members’ research approach. Similarly, there is a strong applied public health focus in the Department, as reflected in the introduction of the MPH program. In this respect, the Department responded to the need for enhanced public health capacity in Canada. In offering the MPH program, CHS is supported by partnerships with Manitoba Health, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, and other federal and regional agencies and organizations.

Critical Social Sciences

A critical social science perspective is reflected in the research of a number of CHS faculty members, as demonstrated in the examination of how the social, economic, political and organizational structures contribute to health inequities. This approach complements a social determinants of health framework by explicitly examining power relations and is grounded in critical social theory. Faculty members focus on a wide range of issues, such as: the politics of care for disabled individuals; the historical and sociopolitical determinants of diabetes among First Nations populations; the distal (historical, political, social, and economic contexts), intermediate (community infrastructure, resources, systems, and capacities), and proximal (health behaviours, physical, and social environments) social determinants of health as root causes of health among Indigenous populations; how contemporary global health interventions enact forms of governance that shape new modalities of citizenship, community, and subjectivity; and the interplay among obesity discourse, social inequalities and cis women’s, trans-men’s, and trans-masculine people’s reproductive health.

Methodological strengths

Consistent with the multidisciplinary nature of CHS, faculty and students use diverse methodologies, ranging from applying statistical techniques to analyzing administrative databases or survey data, to using qualitative methods to collect primary data.

CHS has several faculty members whose research focuses on biostatistics, including research on spatial and temporal models, cluster detection, small area estimation, longitudinal data analysis, generalized (general) linear mixed models, measurement errors, latent class analysis and growth mixture models, structural equation modelling (SEM), Bayesian SEM, and robust statistical methods. CHS biostatisticians are also linked to the Data Science Platform, George & Fay Yee Centre For Healthcare Innovation (Platform Director Dr. Lisa Lix).  The Data Science Platform in the Centre for Healthcare Innovation also houses the Biostatistical Consulting Group (Lead, Dr. Depeng Jiang), Computational Biology, the Bioinformatics Group, and the Clinical Research Data Group. The Platform facilitates the development, management, linkage, analysis, and visualisation of clinical, administrative, and other data resources for patient– oriented research. The Data Science platform works in close collaboration with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy to achieve its three-fold mandate of research, collaboration, and training.

Qualitative methods
Qualitative methods have been an integral part of CHS since the graduate program was first developed in the 1980s, consistent with the vision to merge the health sciences with the social sciences, as applied to health, in one department. In the last few years, the hiring of new faculty members and the merging of faculty members from the former Department of Family Social Sciences into CHS, has substantially increased the expertise in qualitative methods. With this additional capacity, the qualitative courses will be restructured in the coming year, in order to provide students with a full range of training in qualitative methods, ranging from an introductory course to more advanced qualitative methods courses.