Health Forum named WHO Collaborating Centre
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The McMaster Health Forum
will play a greater international role in supporting
evidence-informed policymaking for health systems with its new designation as a
Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre.
The four-year designation is the culmination of a year-long process and ongoing work
with the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO) and WHO, led by John Lavis, director
of the Forum, and Holger Schunemann, chair of the Department of Clinical
Epidemiology and Biostatistics, to design and coordinate plans for how PAHO's and the
WHO's priorities in the field of knowledge translation could be advanced by this new
Through training and educational activities such as workshops and policy dialogues,
developing products such as guidelines, manuals and methodologies, and supporting
the implementation of WHO programs at the country level (including the WHO-
sponsored Evidence-Informed Policy Networks), the collaborating centre will increase
the capacity of individual countries and their institutions to make better-informed
decisions with regard to healthcare policy and delivery that will ultimately improve the
overall health status of citizens.
The Forum is one of only two units at McMaster University to be granted the
prestigious designation. The WHO Collaborating Centre in Primary Care Nursing and
Health Human Resources was established in 1992, and is currently led by Andrea
Baumann, associate vice-president international health in the Faculty of Health
"The designation of the Forum as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Informed
Policy will enhance our opportunities for applying our innovative initiatives to ensure
that the best available evidence on pressing health challenges is incorporated into
decisions on health system policies throughout the world," said Lavis. "Through our
stakeholder dialogues, the evidence briefs and issue briefs that inform them, as well as
the many other activities in which the Forum and its partners engage, the work of this
new collaborating centre can have a significant impact on improving health outcomes
in an array of developed and developing nations."
Both PAHO and WHO have a long-standing practice of working in partnership with
existing organizations such as research institutes, universities and academies, as they
believe research in the field of health is best advanced by assisting, coordinating and
making use of the activities of existing institutions. There are more than 800 WHO
collaborating centres world-wide, working in areas such as nursing, communicable
diseases, chronic diseases and health technologies.
PAHO is the regional office of WHO that works to improve health and living standards
of people in the Americas.
Lavis and Schunemann will work collaboratively to achieve the mandate of the centre as
outlined by PAHO and WHO. Their efforts will focus on supporting and improving
health systems research and development, and support the implementation of the two
organizations' policies and strategies on research for health. Such work is crucial to
determining how best to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who
For more information on WHO collaborating centres, visit the websites of WHO and
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