Forum+ (beyond health)

Our work now goes beyond the health sector. As Forum+, we are building on McMaster’s expertise in advancing human and societal health and well-being in our efforts to strengthen social systems and get the right programs, services and products to the people who need them. We base our efforts on the best available research evidence and systematically elicited citizen values and stakeholder insights.

By social systems we mean the following government sectors and program areas: citizenship, children and youth services, community and social services, consumer protection, culture and gender, economic development and growth, education, employment, financial protection, food safety and security, government services, housing, infrastructure, public safety and justice, recreation, and transportation. Said another way, our work through Forum+ addresses most of the Sustainability Development Goals, with the exceptions of the health part of goal 3 (which the Forum already covers well), most of goal 7 (energy), and all of goals 13-15 (climate, water and land).

Social Systems Evidence is the world’s most comprehensive, continuously updated repository of pre-appraised, synthesized research evidence about the programs, services and products available in a broad range of government sectors and program areas (e.g., community and social services, culture and gender, economic development and growth, education, and transportation), as well as the governance, financial and delivery arrangements within which programs and services are provided and the implementation strategies that can support getting these programs and services to those who need them. Policymakers and stakeholders can access the database for free at and register to use enhanced features, or to sign up to receive monthly alerts on topics of interest.

The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal provides helpful, evidence-based information about the health and social aspects of aging, supporting citizens in making informed decisions about aging optimally, living well with their conditions, and about treatment choices.

We can now help social-system leaders in many ways. You can contact us at to follow up on any of the opportunities listed below.

  • Learn how to make evidence-informed decisions
    • You can register to take our face-to-face courses or contact us to set up an agreement to host one of our customized training sessions.
  • Find the evidence that matters
    • You can contact us to:
      • set up a service agreement so your organization can call on us to prepare rapid syntheses in three, 10 or 30 business days;
      • commission us to prepare an evidence brief or citizen brief (to inform a stakeholder dialogue or citizen panel, which we return to below); and
      • engage us to create and maintain a ‘white label’ version of Social Systems Evidence or the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal.
  • Spark action on pressing issues
    • You can contact us to:
      • commission us to convene a stakeholder dialogue, citizen panels or a combination of the two; and
      • set up a service agreement so your organization can rely on us to build or re-invigorate and support a community of practice.
  • Embed supports for evidence-informed decision-making
    • You can contact us to find out how you can engage us to conduct ‘supportive audits,’ undertake external reviews of reports, and adapt resources to the needs of your organization, among other services.
  • Evaluate innovations
    • You can contact us to discuss how to commission us to plan and execute evaluations.

Health-system leaders seeking similar types of support can also access our services.