by Philip Fine

McGillians of all stripes conduct research, counsel government agencies and explain health threats facing the public, including Ebola, Zika, obesity, workplace hazards, climate change and mental illness. Now, a new Faculty of Medicine school will be home to that expertise.

Announced in spring 2017, the School of Population and Global Health (SPGH) will become a training ground, a research facility and a centre for knowledge transfer, grouping together more than 50 faculty members.

“It will create a hub or critical mass of experts in a variety of areas related to public health that can interact with government and the formal public health sectors, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization,” says Dr. Gilles Paradis, MSc’87, Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health.

Five Faculty of Medicine units will come together to create the new School: the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, the Institute for Health and Social Policy, the McGill AIDS Centre, McGill Global Health Programs and the Biomedical Ethics Unit.

Enhanced collaborations with professors and researchers in other faculties and centres across the University will be critical to the success of the new School.

The SPGH proposes a number of research priorities, among them the reduction of health disparities within Canada and globally, and the creation of efficient health systems.

Paradis says the School will interact with the formal public health sectors in a similar way the Faculty of Medicine partners with hospitals and primary care practitioners. He also sees an opportunity for students who graduate from the School to be hired by those health authorities.

The SPGH is part of the McGill proposal for a revitalized Royal Victoria site but will remain at first where most of its units are located on Pine Ave. near Peel.

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