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John N. Lavis


John Lavis is relied on by policymakers and stakeholders in Canada and a broad range of countries internationally to harness research evidence, citizen values and stakeholder insights to strengthen health and social systems and get the right programs, services and products to the people who need them.

He founded and continues to direct the McMaster Health Forum . He is committed to helping policymakers and stakeholders to: 1) learn how to make decisions based on the best available research evidence; 2) find evidence through the Forum’s own products and the best available sources of pre-appraised, synthesized research evidence (including the Forum’s Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence and the Forum-supported and citizen-targeted McMaster Optimal Aging Portal); 3) spark action through stakeholder dialogues, citizen panels and more; 4) embed supports for evidence-informed decision-making, by institutionalizing promising and proven approaches; and 5) evaluate innovations in supporting evidence-informed decision-making.

He co-chairs the Global Steering Group for the World Health Organization (WHO)-sponsored Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet). 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.

Other roles

  • Director, Forum’s Impact Lab and Forum+
  • Director, World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Informed Policy
  • Co-Lead, COVID-19 Evidence Network to support Decision-making (COVID-END)
  • Co-lead, Rapid-Improvement Support and Exchange
  • Associate Director, Michael G. DeGroote – Cochrane Canada Centre
  • Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems
  • Professor, Department of Health Evidence and Impact (HEI)
  • Member, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA)
  • Associate Member, Department of Political Science

Activities and outputs

Contact information

McMaster Health Forum
1280 Main St West, MML-417
Hamilton, ON Canada  L8S 4L6

McMaster Health Forum’s 
Impact Lab
Location: CRL-209

John Recommends


McMaster Health Forum and WHO partner to support evidence-informed policymaking

Jan 10, 2019|
Recognizing the valuable contributions made by the McMaster Health Forum over the past eight years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its region... Read more


Adapting policy-support mechanisms to help achieve the non-health SDGs

Nov 28, 2018|
While evidence-informed policymaking approaches have helped drive progress in many health systems around the world, a new partnership among the Forum,... Read more


McMaster Health Forum programs

Learn more about the Forum's programs and opportunities to collaborate. Read more


Forum +

As Forum+, we’ve moved beyond the health sector to strengthen social systems and get the right social programs, services and products to those who nee... Read more