Patterns and Pathways of Inequities Research Program is a research stream of RRASP/PHIRN which is a province-wide population health research network in Ontario.

The Patterns and Pathways project was developed in response to the growing need and demand for strategic short-and long-range policy evidence in order to inform action on reducing health inequity by way of the social determinants of health. The Patterns and Pathways of Inequities Program attempts to expand the evidence base for policy interventions related to the social determinants of health and looks at the intersections among different forms of social stratification and the connections between proximal and distal determinants of ill health. Additionally, our research focuses on the institutions and processes that influence the allocation of health and social resources.

Our research also looks at the difficult and contentious policy questions that surround health equity, and will explore the impacts of closing the inequality gap on various outcomes, including health care utilisation, social services utilisation, and disease preventing behaviours. This will aid in an assessment of what economic and social impacts can be expected through efforts such as poverty reduction strategies by conducting retrospective and prospective analyses of governmental and non-governmental policies which are likely to have an influence on equity in health and social determinants of health. Our goal also includes the nature of intersectionality, which aid in an assessment of where governments can concentrate efforts to have the greatest impacts. Lastly, the research will explore and engage in effective knowledge transfer and exchange activities (both academic and popular) that will inform the public and policy dialogue on achieving greater health equity by ‘levelling up the bottom’.

We were created with funds from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to support high-quality applied population health research that addresses complex issues that affect health and health equity using a collaborative approach and to promote the production and dissemination of new knowledge, best practices, and policies.

We are housed within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa and headed by Ivy Lynn Bourgeault as Scientific Director and Nancy Edwards as Scientific Advisor.


The “Hub” has been developed in order to enhance capacity in population health research in Ontario and to inform policy and practice related to population health in the province with the ultimate goal of improving overall health and health equity.