Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

John N. Lavis

MD (Queens), MSc (LSE), PhD (Harvard)

Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems

Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

Associate Member, Department of Political Science

Director, McMaster Health Forum

Associate Director, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA)

Adjunct Professor of Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

905.525.9140 x 22121

McMaster Health Forum
1280 Main St. West .
Hamilton, ON, Canada
L8S 4L6

Executive Assistant: Julie Baird
905.525.9140 x 22121

Academic Interests

John N. Lavis, MD PhD, holds the Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems. He is the Director of the McMaster Health Forum, Co-Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Evidence-Informed Policy, Associate Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, Professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Associate Member of the Department of Political Science at McMaster University. He is also Adjunct Professor of Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His research focuses on how to support the use of research evidence in health policymaking, both in high-income countries like Canada and in a broad range of countries internationally.

He founded and continues to direct the McMaster Health Forum (, an agent of change that empowers health system policymakers and stakeholders to set agendas, take well-considered actions and communicate the rationale for actions effectively. The Forum’s Impact Lab undertakes cutting edge research and research synthesis about how to support the use of research evidence in health systems. He founded and oversees the continuous updating of Health Systems Evidence (, the world’s most comprehensive, free access point for high-quality evidence about how to strengthen or reform health systems, and how to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them. Health Systems Evidence is also now home to the Intergovernmental Organizations’ Health Systems Documents Portal, Canada’s Health Systems Documents Portal, and the Ontario Health System Documents Portal.

He also founded and oversees the periodic expansion of Health Systems Learning (, which combines online and face-to-face learning opportunities for health system policymakers and stakeholders about how to find and use research evidence and how to set agendas and develop and implement policies. He leads one of the five teams contributing to the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (, which provides the world’s best research evidence about optimal aging, specifically packaged for citizens, clinicians, public health professionals and policymakers. He teaches an undergraduate course on the politics of health systems for the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) programme at McMaster, a simulations course in the same programme, and the doctoral seminar for the PhD in Health Policy programme. He is Co-Chair of the WHO-sponsored Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Global Steering Group and a member of the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research. He oversees the Policy Liaison Office of the Canadian Cochrane Centre. He holds an MD from Queen's University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD (in Health Policy) from Harvard University.

Current Health Policy (and HRM) Graduate Students
Jaime Ardila Salcedo, Ph.D.
Maria Bargeman, Ph.D.
Cristina Mattison, Ph.D.
Heather Bullock, Ph.D.
Kassu Ketema Gurmu, Ph.D.
Firas Khalid, Ph.D.
Mohammad Kibria, Ph.D.
Tommaso D’Ovidio, M.Sc.

Recent Health Policy (and HRM) Graduate Students
John McLennan, Ph.D. (2005)
Martha Paynter, M.Sc. (2008)
Jonathan Sachs, M.Sc. (2009)
Jennifer Boyko, Ph.D. (2010)
Michael G. Wilson, Ph.D. (2010)
Jessica Shearer, Ph.D. (2014)
Kaelan Moat, Ph.D. (2014)
Daniel Patino Lugo, Ph.D. (2014)
Liz Alvarez, Ph.D. (2016)

Selected Publications

  1. Lavis JN, Tugwell P. Appreciation: David Sackett’s unintended impacts on health policy. Milbank Quarterly 2015; 93(4): 867-870.
  2. Lavis JN, Wilson MG, Moat KA, Hammill AC, Boyko JA, Grimshaw JM, Flottorp S. Developing and refining the methods for a ‘one-stop shop’ for research evidence about health systems. Health Research Policy and Systems 2015; 13:10 doi: 10.1186/1478-4505-13-10.
  3. Lavis JN, Røttingen JA, Bosch-Capblanch X, Atun R, El-Jardali F, Gilson L, Lewin S, Oliver S, Ongolo-Zogo P, Haines A. Guidance for evidence-informed policies about health systems: 2) Linking guidance development to policy development. PLoS Medicine 2012; 9(3): e1001186. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001186.
  4. Lavis JN, Oxman AD, Lewin S, Fretheim A: SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP). Introduction. Health Research Policy and Systems; 2009, 7(Suppl 1):I1 doi:10.1186/1478-4505-7-S1-I1.
  5. Lavis JN. How can we support the use of systematic reviews in policymaking? PLoS Medicine 2009; 6(11): e1000141. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000141.
  6. Lavis JN, Oxman AD, Moynihan R, Paulsen E. Evidence-informed health policy: 1. Synthesis of findings from a multi-method study of organizations that support the use of research evidence. Implementation Science 2008, 3:53.
  7. Lavis JN, Lomas J, Hamid M, Sewankambo N. Assessing country-level efforts to link research to action. Bulletin of the World Health Organization; 2006; 84(8):620-628.
  8. Lavis JN, Davies HTO, Oxman A, Denis J-L, Golden-Biddle K, Ferlie E. Towards systematic reviews that inform healthcare management and policymaking. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy 2005; 10 (supplement 1): 35-48.
  9. Lavis JN, Becerra Posada F, Haines A, Osei E. Use of research to inform public policymaking. The Lancet 2004; 364:1615-1621
  10. Lavis JN, Robertson D, Woodside JM, McLeod CB, Abelson J and the Knowledge Transfer Study Group. How can research organizations more effectively transfer research knowledge to decision makers? The Milbank Quarterly, 2003;81(2):221-248.

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