McIntosh confident about SPHERU transition

September 27, 2012

It was working with the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada that ultimately led Dr. Tom McIntosh to SPHERU.

“I’d gotten to know Ron Labonte, the first director, over the course of the Romanow Commission,” he says. “The stuff that SPHERU does really appealed to me…. It was a different kind of perspective on health that just wasn’t about the health care system. And it linked very closely to the labour market and economic research I did before I became interested in the health system.”

Dr. Tom McIntosh
Dr. Tom McIntosh

After the Romanow Report was submitted in 2002 McIntosh accepted an appointment at the University of Regina in the Department of Political Science but spent the first five years at the university working full-time on SPHERU projects. Along the way, he also spent three years with Canadian Policy Research Network, an Ottawa based think tank, where he led their health research program. 

He brings expertise on public policy making and knowledge transfer and exchange to numerous SPHERU projects. His recent work examines the political and economic components of SPHERU's historical analysis of population health in Saskatchewan. He was also the co-editor of Redistributing Health: New Directions in Population Health Research in Canada (CPRC: 2010) which highlights the work of new population health researchers, many of them SPHERU-trained. Research areas of interest include: health and health human resources; health policy reform; and health governance.

Currently, McIntosh is on a six-month sabbatical from his regular work as a Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science, but is also in the middle of a one-year term as Interim Director of SPHERU. Part of that job this year will be to work with SPHERU’s Management Advisory Group and the research faculty to find a new permanent director for the unit.

“We try to do it in as highly a collaborative way as possible,” he says.

Another priority is balancing the Unit’s work with available funding, and he is quick to credit the administrative support at SPHERU for making these projects possible. “You have no idea how important that is to free the researcher up….That’s the wonderful thing about a unit like SPHERU, that it’s provided that kind of support.”
When the Unit finds its next director, they will be the fifth person to lead SPHERU in a little over a decade. As McIntosh sees it, this shows the resilience of the group. “That says something about the strength of the unit. It survives transitions.”


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