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About the Healthier Societies Initiative

McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy (IHSP) operates the Healthier Societies Initiative (HSI), a research program whose mission is to inform the broader community on health care issues related to increasing costs, quality and access in Canada and other leading economies.

Understanding what engenders a “healthy” society requires in-depth knowledge of the interactions between health and social policies, health system characteristics, health expenditures, and socioeconomic determinants of health, among other factors.

The mission of the Healthier Societies Initiative (HSI) is to identify health and social policy solutions that address rising health care costs and concomitantly improve population health outcomes and equity.


Health care costs have been rising in most OECD countries over the past three decades. This challenge is likely to persist given other coincident economic, demographic, and epidemiologic trends, including reductions in government revenues, the demographic aging of populations, and increases in chronic disease morbidity.

The Canadian context reflects these broader international trends. For example, in their latest report on health costs in Canada (Health Care Cost Drivers: The Facts – 2011), the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) showed that Canadian health care costs are growing at a faster rate than economic growth and government revenues. This places direct pressure on provinces and territories to realize health cost savings.

The Healthier Societies Initiative is a research program of the Institute of Health and Social Policy (IHSP) at McGill University. The cross-faculty project was initiated through the leadership and generosity of McGill’s Chancellor, H. Arnold Steinberg, CM.

Recent News
HSI Health Data Blog: Diabetes and Healthy Lifestyles
HSI Health Data Blog: Diabetes and Healthy Lifestyles
Posted 16 days ago

Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence in Canada has been increasing steadily and the burden of diabetes has proven a substantial burden on the health of Canadians, the healthcare system,…

From <em>CBC News</em>…
From CBC News…
Posted 17 days ago

Canada's obesity rates triple in less than 30 years
Health, Monday 3 March 2014
Click here for the full article.

From <em>The National Post</em>…
From The National Post…
Posted 17 days ago

Seven things to know about federal government’s failed $41-billion health care ‘fix for a generation’
Joseph Brean, Politics, Sunday 30 March 2014
Click here for the full article.

From <em>The Globe and Mail</em>…
From The Globe and Mail…
Posted 28 days ago

Men with heart attack symptoms treated faster than women, study shows
Carly Weeks, Health, Tuesday 18 March 2014
Click here for the full article.

HSI Health Data Blog: Do You Have a Regular Doctor?
HSI Health Data Blog: Do You Have a Regular Doctor?
Posted 30 days ago

In 2011-2012, approximately fifteen percent of Canadians did not have a regular doctor. And while the number of practicing doctors per capita throughout Canada has steadily increased over the past…

New to the HSI website: The Provincial Diabetes Intervention Index
New to The Provincial Diabetes Inter…
Posted 35 days ago

Built using data from the HSI Canadian Diabetes Policy Database, the Provincial Diabetes Intervention Index provides a detailed view of provincial-level policies related to the prevention, management and treatment of…


The HSI Approach

Public Tools

HSI builds intuitive and interactive tools to help the public better understand their health system, both through comparisons with other countries and sub-nationally.

Primary Research

HSI conducts comparative health policy research to better understand which health and social policies best promote population health, health equity, and the sustainability of health systems.


HSI is dedicated to the training of undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students in health policy analysis.