McMaster Health Forum | Citizen Panels

Our citizen panels provide an opportunity for 14-16 citizens with a variety of types of lived experience with the issue at hand, and selected to ensure ethnocultural, socioeconomic, gender and other forms of diversity, to deliberate about a problem and its causes, options to address it, and key implementation considerations. Participating citizens are informed by a pre-circulated, plain-language citizen brief, and the values that they believe should underpin action to address the issue are captured in a panel summary. For every citizen panel we’ve convened, a topic overview, citizen brief and panel summary can be found through our Products page.  

When we first began to convene citizen panels, we did so separately from our stakeholder dialogues. While we sometimes continue to do so, we have found that convening one to three 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. When one or more citizen panels are convened to inform a stakeholder dialogue, the topic overview covers both the panel(s) and the dialogue.

If you are a health-system leader (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; and
  • if your topic has not been directly addressed recently, email us at to discuss how we can help.

If you are a citizen, you can:

  • browse the topics we have addressed using citizen panels;
  • read the products that were prepared to inform these panels (citizen briefs) or that arose from these panels (panel summaries); and
  • use the products to influence decision-making about your health system.

Soon both health-system leaders and citizens will be able to join and spark action through the communities of practice we’ll be building and supporting on the topics we address in our citizen panels.

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.