McMaster Health Forum | Citizen Panels

Our citizen panels provide an opportunity for 14-16 citizens with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to deliberate about pressing health and social issues. Participants are informed by a pre-circulated, plain-language citizen brief describing what is known from research evidence about the problem and its causes, potential solutions to address it, and key implementation considerations. Participants are then convened to a virtual or face-to-face deliberation where they can share their ideas and experiences on the issue and learn from research evidence and from the views of others. A citizen panel helps us to understand the values that citizens think are important when making decisions about the issue, and reveals new understandings about the issue and how it should be addressed.

Our citizen panels are increasingly done before hosting a stakeholder dialogue on the same issue. We have found that convening citizen panels in advance of a dialogue, and capturing the key message in the evidence brief that informs the dialogue, creates a win-win situation. Participating citizens know that their insights will – within days to weeks – inform the deliberations of key stakeholders, and key stakeholders have access to the systematically and transparently elicited values of citizens when deliberating about what needs to be done.

If you are a citizen, a policymaker or stakeholder, you can:

  • check to see if your topic of interest has been directly addressed recently
  • if so, download the topic overview, citizen brief, and panel summary
  • if your topic has not been directly addressed recently, email us at to discuss how we can help.

The Forum recognizes and acknowledges that, for citizen panels hosted at McMaster, we meet on the traditional territories of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee nations, and within the lands protected by the ‘Dish With One Spoon’ wampum agreement.