O'Brien Institute for Public Health

Together, we will create solutions to deliver better health and better health care

We provide innovative solutions to tough challenges – those affecting the public health of Canadians and issues that arise in Canada’s evolving health care system.

Better health is about ideas and actions that improve the health of individuals and populations, like reducing obesity or increasing vaccinations. Better health care is about improving the systems we use to deliver health by cutting waste, building value, creating efficiencies in services, reducing wait times and improving patient outcomes.

Our health care system is among the best in the world. Yet it faces critical problems including rising costs, access to surgery and waiting times in emergency.

The solution?

Innovative improvements developed at the O’Brien Institute for Public Health help to solve complex health care problems quickly and efficiently.

More than 400 academics and professionals are working together to achieve better health and better health care. Our health care experts focus on targets that enrich lives.

Together, we will use information to change the future of health.

Community connections to strengthen our ties

Be a catalyst for meaningful change

$25 million

Health, wellness and disease prevention

Our partnerships with community leaders, government agencies and municipalities contribute to our understanding of crucial medical and public health policy problems.

We are pioneers in public health with evidence-based research that provides energizing solutions.

Vulnerable children and youth are served when vital information sparks public policy.

Signature projects include improving children’s oral health, reducing obesity and ensuring there are healthier babies and mothers through innovations in pregnancy and early childhood.

Exploring the link between environment and our health

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a potentially debilitating and incurable disease of the gastrointestinal tract affecting 233,000 Canadians, and can lead to lifelong pain.

Institute member Gil Kaplan was the first to find a link between IBD and air pollution, after conditions including heart and lung disease, stroke and diabetes were also correlated to the air we breathe.

By understanding the cause, we can develop solutions to help those with these diseases.

Health systems performance and innovation

We have a growing problem. Our health care system is not sustainable with an aging population, with 50 per cent of every tax dollar funding health care and more than 60 per cent of us having a chronic disease needing care.

The O’Brien Institute’s solution is to achieve transformational change through actionable ideas – we will innovate care for the elderly and people with chronic disease,; expand the use of e-health tools to make patients active participants and provide care in people’s homes.

Let’s save time and money by making the health care system healthier.

Keeping patients healthy with safe, secure information

Health providers record a lot of information about a patient while they are in the hospital — diagnosis, medications, care recommendations — that the patient’s regular doctor needs to continue their care. Without that continuity of care, patients can take the wrong medication, be readmitted to hospital or suffer other serious health problems.

Researchers in the O’Brien Institute for Public Health’s W21C (Ward of the 21st Century) Program developed the Electronic Transfer of Care Tool, a secure, web-based application that gives community health care providers access to a patient’s critical information.

This tool has been implemented in all adult acute care facilities in Calgary, and the project will be adapted for use across Alberta and nationwide.

Big data and smart analytics

With the right data and analytic tools, we can answer big questions, including what is and what is not working in health care.

We’re creating health information dashboards for health system planning, providers and patients.

We’re enabling doctors to make better decisions and provide better information to their patients.

Our analytics for health focus on the development and application of new data and information methods.

Let’s save lives – and money – by turning information into ideas with impact.

Learning from the past to save lives today

The experiences of others can be used to make better health decisions, thanks to the ability of precision medicine to personalize treatment.

Procedures used to visualize cardiac events like artery blockages – while vital to helping save a person’s life – can also wreak havoc on the kidneys. Matthew James uses health data to evaluate a patient’s risk so that important steps can be taken to carry out these procedures safely.

The information collected through big data, and the insights it provides, is helping physicians make informed decisions to save lives.

Join us in creating the future of health

Contact information

Janelle Wakaruk, Director of Development
Cumming School of Medicine
403.220.6161
jwakaruk@ucalgary.ca