Katherine Frohlich to take up a new role

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Katherine Frohlich, Professor at the University of Montreal and public health re
Katherine Frohlich, Professor at the University of Montreal and public health researcher in Canada Credit: Amélie Philibert | Université de Montréal
The UdeM public-health specialist has been named scientific director of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s Institute of Population and Public Health, for a four-year term starting next fall

Université de Montréal professor Katherine Frohlich , one of Canada’s leading public-health researchers, has been named scientific director of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health.

Her appointment is for a four-year term starting Sept. 1. The announcement was made today by CIHR president Michael J. Strong.

"I am delighted that Dr. Frohlich is joining CIHR," said Strong. "She brings a wealth of experience and an exceptional record of achievement as a public-health research leader. She will build on the Institute’s leadership in improving the health of populations and promote health equity in Canada and globally through research."

As scientific director at the Institute, Frohlich will develop and advance research initiatives that address population and public-health priorities in Canada while supporting the implementation of CIHR’s strategic plan. During her term, the Institute will be based at UdeM.

"Population and public health science in Canada are facing the health effects of social inequities and climate change, a development exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and reinforcing the science to confront these issues is an urgent challenge," said Frohlich, a professor in UdeM’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and School of Public Health, as well as a research associate at the UdeM-affiliated Centre for Research in Public Health.

"It is a great honour for me to take up this task as the next scientific director of the IPPH. I bring to the role over 20 years of experience in social-science-informed interdisciplinary public health research," she said. "Among my ambitions for Canadian research at IPPH is to help strengthen CIHR’s ’Pillar 4’: research that seeks to better understand how social, cultural, environmental, occupational, and economic factors shape health and health inequities in the Canadian context and globally."

Funded for over 20 years by both CIHR and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Frohlich is an interdisciplinary scholar who seeks to better understand and reduce social inequities in health for young people in cities. Her work straddles the fields of health promotion, social epidemiology, sociology of health and health geography.

She co-holds the Myriagone McConnell-UdeM Chair on Youth Knowledge Mobilisation with colleagues from the university’s arts-and-science faculty, and sits on the editorial boards of two scientific journals: Health and Place, and Social Science & Medicine.

She currently runs a large-scale population-intervention project called Levelling the Playing Fields, focusing on the interplay between urban planning and health promotion and how cities can provide more opportunities for children and young people to play freely outdoors and better access urban spaces.

"The past few years have taught us how central the topic of population health is to our scientific, social and political concerns; I am therefore delighted that Professor Frohlich has been appointed to lead the IPPH," said UdeM rector Daniel Jutras.

"I am confident that she will put into action the collaborative and inclusive approach that characterizes health researchers at Université de Montréal for the benefit of Canada’s research community and, ultimately, its entire population."