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Health Studies

The Honours Bachelor of Health Studies (BHS) in Health Studies and the Specialized Honours BHS in Health Policy, Management, and Digital Health, offer students a broad perspective about all aspects of the health care system, as well as other factors that affect our health such as income, employment, and housing. Learning takes place not only in classroom settings but also through experiential education and, in the Specialized Honours degree, field placements with community organizations. The faculty in the School are internationally recognized for their research and teaching.

Programs of Study

Health Studies Video Transcript

In the News

Cuban delegation visits SHPM! New Cuba course in Summer 2024 term!

SHPM has a new exciting course in Holguin, Cuba in Summer 2024 term! Taught by Dr. Jessica Vorstermans, spend 2 weeks exploring key areas of the right to health, education, art, history, and culture and ways that Cuba has built their social fabric in a way that delivers exceedingly high health outcomes, rooted in a health equity approach. This course will take place in Holguin, Cuba in partnership with the University of Holguin and the Medical University of Holguin. We will be learning in many different spaces: at the two universities, in community health clinics, hospitals, cultural sites, historic sites and in exchanges with Cuban students. You do not need to speak Spanish, we will have simultaneous translation for all learning.

Cuba is a country in the Global South experiencing a difficult economic crisis and has been under a brutal blockade by the United States since 1962 (which has been condemned yearly by UN Resolution in which 185 state support and just 2 oppose: in 2022 for the 30th time the UN has rebuked the decades-old US policy). Despite this, Cuba has not wavered in its commitment to health as a human right, health equity and the full development of every Cuban. Come learn about what this looks like in practice from Cuban professors, professionals and workers!

This is a unique opportunity to learn alongside Cubans in how their ongoing revolutionary project is rooted in rights and access for all! All students will be automatically granted a York study abroad bursary for $1000.

All details about the course are here

In October 2023, professors from the University of Holguin, Vilma Paez, and the Medical University of Holguin, Salvador Escalante, visited SHPM. (See the photos).

More SHPM News

Universities, faculty gearing up in response to Afghan refugee crisis | University Affairs

An informal working group led by Professor Farah Ahmad was featured on the University Affairs website.

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Supporting mental health at a time of crisis

Professor Farah Ahmad was quoted in York Magazine, Summer Issue, 2021.

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York Research Chair in Indigenous Health Policy and One Health

Professor Sean Hillier has been appointed York Research Chair in Indigenous Health Policy and One Health (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2026).

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Three people standing together, smiling, below a sign saying: Faculty of Health
Dr. Vorstermans, Dr. Escalante, and Dr. Pàez visiting the Faculty of Health
6 people sitting around a large table, smiling and facing the camera.
Dr. Vorstermans (SHPM), Julie Hard (Manager of International Relations, Faculty of Health), Yasaman Delaviz (Educational Developer, Faculty of Health), Dr. Karin Page-Cutrara (Associate Dean Teaching, Faculty of Health), Dr. Vilma Pàez (University of Holguin, Cuba), Dr. Salvador Escalante (Medical School of Holguin, Cuba) meeting to establish a collaborative relationship between our three Universities- exploring teaching and research possibilities.
Four people standing together, smiling for the camera, beautiful, brilliant red leaves on trees in the background.
Dr. Escalante, Dr. Vorstermans, Dr. Pàez and Julie Hard on a campus tour – the trees showed off their beauty!

Angelique Gordon and Chanelle Chanelle Perrier-Telemaque are winners of the SHPM First Annual Graduate Student Paper Award on Anti-Black Racism in the Fields of Health and Disability in Canada, and Interventions to Policy, Practice and Alternatives from Community Activism and Organizations

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Canadian ethicists recognize the critical importance of science and research

Steven J. Hoffman, director, Global Strategy Lab and professor of Global Health, Law, and Political Science, contributed to an article in The Conversation July 2.

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Awards and Recognitions

Health Studies graduate Hanaa Ameer recognized with Murray G. Ross Award.

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Statement of Support & Solidarity

We stand in firm solidarity with York University graduate students. While we are pleased that the employer is now bargaining with CUPE, we remain concerned by the unacceptable poverty-level funding of graduate students amidst a severe cost-of-living crisis.

Our graduate students have presented a clear and compelling case outlining the severe financial hardship they endure, with funding packages well below the poverty line even as Toronto's housing costs are skyrocketing. The university's early proposals for pay increases fell drastically under the rate of inflation, and earlier attempts to exclude owed retroactive pay for former CUPE members were unconscionable. These tactics, alongside efforts to erode grievance processes and job security, threaten to plunge a vast number of graduate students further into precarity and debt.

It's profoundly unacceptable that these actions occur while senior university administration enjoys exorbitant pay increases. This is compounded by the Faculty of Health's pressure on CUPE members to return to work, undermining the principles of equity and justice the faculty claims to uphold. Graduate students correctly identify the university's actions as hostile and antithetical to creating an attractive and supportive academic environment.

We also strongly condemn the escalation of police presence and intimidation tactics aimed at strikers. The documented instances of excessive force by the Toronto Police Service highlight a troubling double standard in the way protests are policed, prioritizing the interests of the university administration over the constitutional rights of striking workers.
In light of these deeply concerning developments, we join the graduate students in calling upon all members of the York University community to:

Pressure the university administration to strike a fair deal at the bargaining table, ensuring fair compensation, job security, and robust grievance procedures.
Condemn the selective enforcement and escalation of policing tactics against picketers.
Reject the recruitment of strike-breaking labor, reaffirming the fundamental importance of collective action.
Actively demonstrate solidarity with striking graduate students through participation in picket lines, amplification of their messages, and sustained advocacy.

The graduate students have displayed immense courage and determination in their struggle for a fair deal. It's imperative that all who value fairness, justice, and the fundamental rights of workers stand with them. York University's quality and reputation depend on the well-being and equitable treatment of its graduate student population—a fact the administration must not be allowed to ignore.

We are York, and together we must demand better.

Farah Ahmad
Rachel da Silveira Gorman
Elene Lam
Christo El Morr
Sean Hillier
Vijay Mago
Marina Morrow
Dennis Raphael
Geoffrey Reaume
nancy viva halifax davis
Jessica Vorsterma

The School of Health Policy & Management (SHPM) is in solidarity with the York University Staff Association - Association du Personnel de L'Université York (YUSA) in its negotiations with York University for a new collective agreement.

The University is demanding major concessions from YUSA including allowing for the unlimited hiring of interns and co-op students, modifications to the job evaluation system, changes to the vacation time policy, and a doubling of the probationary period for new employees. These concessions will significantly undermine the working conditions and workplace rights of YUSA members. Bargaining updates are available at the YUSA homepage.

YUSA members are our co-workers, friends, and former students. They make invaluable contributions to York University and we rely on their expertise in all aspects of our research, teaching, and service activities. They help ensure a high quality learning experience for our students. SHPM like YUFA condemns the employer for its lack of respect and failure to recognize the contribution of YUSAPUY members during bargaining. They deserve a fair contract without concessions.

We encourage YUSA and the University to arrive at a fair and equitable settlement as rapidly as possible. 

Please click here for the latest update on the collective bargaining with YUSA 

Dear members of the Sipekne'katik First Nation,

The School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health at York University endorses and echoes the statement released by the Indigenous Council at York University on 16 October 2020 that calls on Prime Minister Trudeau to intervene, recognize the modest traditional fishery affirmed by Canada’s Supreme Court, and to stop the violence of commercial fishermen.

As a School, we affirm our support for the Mi'kmaq fishermen of Sipekne'katik First Nation who are facing significant levels of racist violence from Nova Scotia commercial fishermen in their attempts to make a living through lobster fishing, a legal right originating in the Peace and Friendship Treaties signed with the British Crown and affirmed in 1999 by the Supreme Court Marshall decision.

Twenty-one years ago, the landmark Marshall decision affirmed that Mi’kmaq People had a right to achieve a “moderate livelihood” through fishing, to alleviate the impoverishment they have faced since being forced from the fishery by commercial interests for over a century. At that time, after that decision, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans criminalized the attempt of the people of Esgenoopetitj First Nation to sell lobster, forcing them into a narrow licensing system that ignored the rights affirmed in Marshall. For twenty-one years since then, Mi’kmaq First Nations have sought to negotiate for the right to a traditional fishery, practiced on the scale that they can accommodate. Ultimately, they have begun to practice their own modest licensing system, and have provided seven fishers with 40 traps each. The commercial fishermen, who practice large-scale harvesting of lobster, involving hundreds of thousands of traps, have launched a campaign of violence against them, blocking their access to the water, and forcing those out on the water to retreat to shore through forming flotillas of large boats advancing on them and firing flares at them; some have narrowly escaped being set on fire this way. The RCMP have proven ineffective or unwilling to stop the violence, standing by while this horrific violence ensues.

At stake are the abilities of an Indigenous People to alleviate poverty by fishing in the modest and sustainable manner that they have been doing for thousands of years. Given the disproportionately negative health outcomes faced by Indigenous Peoples across Canada, it is vital that sovereignty over food resources, a right affirmed by Canadian colonial law, be upheld to the fullest extent. The reliance on and access to traditional food sources is supported by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and is a fundamental criterion for overcoming health and social inequities stemming from historical and ongoing racist colonial policies and actions.

Wel’alioq, Meegwetch, Niawan, Nya:weh ko;wa, Thank you

School of Health Policy & Management
Faculty of Health
York University

Land Acknowledgement:  We recognize that many Indigenous Nations have longstanding relationships with the territories upon which York University campuses are located that precede the establishment of York University. York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.

We, the Faculty and staff of the School of Health Policy and Management, would like to express our solidarity with Black communities and the protesters and organizers who are once again bringing to public awareness anti-Black racism and the ongoing violent attacks on Black people in Canada and the US by police and members of the public. As academics and university staff we understand anti-Black racism to be systemic and entrenched in all aspects of society’s structures and in the day to day actions of individuals.

In the School, we recognize that calling out anti-Black racism is not enough, that collectively and individually we need to be working alongside of Black communities to engage in anti-racism work that changes relationships of power, that creates the conditions for Black people to thrive and builds a collective future that values Black life. To this end, we endorse the statement released by the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas, which calls on York University to increase its hiring of Black faculty (a York 2018 Employment Equity Survey revealed that only 16 of 1395 or 1% of York faculty self-identified as Black) and to find ways to better support Black students and, we would add, Black university staff members in our School.

In the School, we recognize our failure to hire Black faculty into tenure track positions, and we, therefore, support cluster hires of Black faculty, as recommended by the Report and Recommendations by the Joint Subcommittee of Employment Equity and Inclusivity [PDF], and have internally made commitments to hiring Black faculty. We need York’s support to ensure that these hires are completed.

We also recognize that other concrete steps need to be taken in the form of anti-racist education and the support of organizations working against anti-Black racism. We are committed to undertaking the following four initiatives, to be developed in the 2020/2021 academic year:

  1. Establish an Anti-Racism Working Committee in the School to consult with students, staff, and faculty (including part-time faculty) on what supports, and changes are needed;
  2. A curriculum review at the graduate and undergraduate level to ensure that issues related to racism and (neo) colonialism and their impact on health equity are infused throughout our teaching;
  3. Organizing a seminar series on anti-Black racism in health policy and health care in Canada, that will add to the anti-racist education work the Indigenous Health speaker series in the Faculty of Health has started in 2019;
  4. An annual award for the best student essay/text on anti-Black racism in the field of health in Canada, and interventions to policy, practice, and alternatives from community activism and organizations.

As health scholars and health program administrators, we pledge to expose and oppose the interconnected anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and colonialism that pervade our healthcare system and our society. As we write this, we grieve the deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Afro-Indigenous woman who died on May 27 when Toronto police arrived to attend to her mental health crisis, and of Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman shot by Edmundston police on June 4 during a wellness check.

Thank you

School of Health Policy & Management
Faculty of Health
York University

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