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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis
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John N. Lavis

Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems
Director, McMaster Health Forum 

Associate Director, Michael G. DeGroote - Cochrane Canada Centre
Member, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis
Professor, Department of Health Evidence, and Impact (HEI)
Associate Member, Department of Political Science
Adjunct Professor Global Health, 
Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

T: (905) 525-9140, ext. 22121

McMaster Health Forum
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, L8S 4L6

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 Michael G. DeGroote-Cochrane Canada Centre; Professor in the Department of Department of Health, Evidence, and Impact (HEI); member of the Centre of Health Economics and Policy Analysis, 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 led the creation 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 leases 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) program at McMaster, a simulations course in the same program, and the doctoral seminar for the PhD in Health Policy program. 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 holds an MD from Queen's University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD (in Health Policy) from Harvard University.


  • use of research evidence in health systems policymaking  
  • politics of health systems 


Lavis JN, Tugwell P. Appreciation: David Sackett’s unintended impacts on health policy. Milbank Quarterly. 2015; 93(4): 867-870.

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.

Lavis JN. Strengthening health systems. In Frenk J, Hoffman SJ. To Save Humanity: What Matters Most for a Healthy Future. New York, USA: Oxford University Press; 2015, p. 209-212.

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.

Lavis JN, Guindon GE, Cameron D, Boupha B, Dejman M, Osei E, Sadana R, Research to Policy and Practice Study Team. Bridging the gaps between research, policy and practice in low- and middle-income countries: a survey of researchers. CMAJ. June, 2010. 182(9): 350-361.

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.

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.

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.


  • health systems and health policy
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