CIHR: Supporting better health for all Canadians

better health for all, CIHR
© Colin Temple

CIHR was created in 2000 as an independent funding agency to provide leadership and support to health researchers and trainees across Canada, promoting better health for all

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) focuses on the health priorities that are important to Canadians, guided by several key principles.

CIHR supports researchers pursuing cutting-edge scientific discoveries for the benefit of Canadians and people throughout the world. CIHR accelerates the discovery, development, evaluation and integration of health innovations into practice so that patients receive the right treatments at the right time.

CIHR supports culturally sensitive policies and interventions

CIHR supports the health and wellness goals of Indigenous peoples through research investments, shared research leadership and the establishment of culturally sensitive policies and interventions.

CIHR takes a proactive approach to understanding and addressing the causes of ill health and to supporting physical and mental wellness at the individual, population and system levels. CIHR increases understanding of multiple, co-existing chronic conditions and supports integrated solutions that enable Canadians to continue to participate actively in society.

CIHR works in collaboration with partners and researchers to set priorities for and find solutions to healthcare challenges. It does this through 13 institutes: Institute of Aging

The Institute of Aging invests in research that promotes an optimal lifelong approach to healthy aging and improves the health and wellness of Canada’s aging population by supporting advances in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care delivery and social determinants of health.

Institute of Cancer Research focuses on psycho-social support

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) invests in research in all areas of cancer control. ICR helps reduce the burden of cancer on individuals and families through research on prevention strategies, screening, early diagnosis, effective treatments, psycho-social support systems and palliation.

The Institute of Circulatory & Respiratory Health invests in research on conditions associated with the heart, lungs, brain (stroke), critical care, blood, blood vessels and sleep.

The Institute of Gender & Health (IGH) invests in research that examines the influence of sex and gender on health. IGH also works to ensure this research evidence supports the development of policies and programmes that address pressing health challenges facing men, women, boys, girls and gender[1]diverse people.

Institute of Genetics offers strengthening healthcare policies

The Institute of Genetics (IG) invests in research on cell biology, biochemistry, human genetics and genomics, and the impact of related scientific advances on society. Genetic research touches all areas of health, allowing IG to strengthen healthcare policies and practices, and improve the health of all Canadians.

The Institute of Health Services & Policy Research (IHSPR) invests in research that will strengthen Canada’s healthcare system. By promoting evidence-based best practices, IHSPR seeks to improve the way healthcare services are managed and delivered to maximise benefits for patients.

The Institute of Human Development, Child & Youth Health (IHDCYH) invests in research that promotes the best health from the very start of life. By supporting research to improve reproductive, child and youth health outcomes, IHDCYH helps young Canadians and families achieve their full potential for ideal growth and development.

The Institute of Infection and Immunity (III) invests in research on infectious diseases and the body’s immune system. Through this research, III addresses a wide range of health concerns related to infection and immunity, including disease prevention and treatment, as well as public health promotion.

Three other institutes work on key health situations in Canada

The Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH) invests in research to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. The institute’s pursuit of research excellence is enhanced by respect for community research priorities and Indigenous knowledge, values and cultures.

The Institute of Musculoskeletal Health & Arthritis (IMHA) invests in research related to bones, joints, muscles, skin and teeth. By supporting advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, IMHA seeks to promote active living, preserve mobility and improve oral health.

The Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health & Addiction (INMHA) invests in fundamental and clinical research on the brain and spinal cord to enhance the understanding of cognitive, emotional and sensory motor functions.

The Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism & Diabetes invests in research on diet, digestion and metabolism to address the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a wide range of conditions and problems associated with hormones, the digestive system, kidneys and liver function.

The COVID-19 pandemic underlined importance of public health

The Institute of Population & Public Health invests in research to examine how biological, social and environmental factors and policies affect health. 1 The Covid-19 pandemic underlined the importance of maintaining a strong public health system. In January, minister of health Jean-Yves Duclos announced a major $10 million government investment to increase public health research.

This includes $8 million for seven new applied public health chairs, who will carry out research in areas such as infectious diseases, urban and environmental health, and disease prevention. In addition, there is $2 million for a research funding opportunity that will support projects linked to priorities outlined in the chief public health officer of Canada’s annual report for 2021. The initiatives are being supported through a partnership between CIHR and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Announcing the funding, Duclos said: “We recognise the vital importance of investing in public health research to better protect the health and safety of all Canadians. “The recipients of these applied research chairs will work with public health leaders to design and implement new approaches to addressing the complex health challenges facing Canada and help build a healthier future for everyone.” 2




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