Interdisciplinary PhD in Rural and Northern Health

News Release

June 19, 2006

Interdisciplinary PhD in Rural and Northern Health will enhance health care in the North and add to Laurentian's recognized strategic focus on health

Laurentian University is pleased to announce that an Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Rural and Northern Health has been recently approved by the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies (OCGS). This will be Laurentian's fifth doctoral program and the only one of its kind in Ontario.

"This is terrific news, not only for the University, but also for Sudbury, all of Northern Ontario and rural communities nationwide," said Dr. Susan Silverton, Vice-President, Academic. "We will be able to train highly qualified individuals with advanced knowledge in rural and northern health issues, and provide 'rigorous training' in research for careers in a variety of public- and private-sector health organizations. This program will benefit from existing research strengths at Laurentian in a number of related fields - midwifery, nursing, social work and human kinetics, among others - and will eventually complement newer health-related research to be carried out at our Northern Ontario School of Medicine."

Housed in the Faculty of Professional Schools, the Interdisciplinary PhD in Rural and Northern Health will draw upon a broad range of disciplines from the Faculties of Professional Schools, Social Sciences and Humanities, Science and Engineering and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. It will encompass population health, health promotion, occupational health and safety, wellness, health human resources, health systems and services, environmental influences on health, mental health and mental illness, knowledge translation, and policy.

"The PhD program will help inform policies and practices related to health status issues in rural and northern communities," said Dr. Anne-Marie Mawhiney, Dean of Professional Schools. "Also, students enrolled in the program will benefit from the University's extensive track record of applied research and interdisciplinary teaching at the graduate level." As outlined in the University's submission to the OCGS, the program will build upon existing capacities in interdisciplinary graduate education and provide added depth and breadth to the University's acknowledged research strengths in this field.

This PhD program will be linked with a number of Laurentian's existing research centres - for example, the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR) and the Centre for Research in Human Development (CRHD) - and research activities, such as the University's Canada Research Chair in Rural and Northern Children's Health, and existing PhD program in Biomolecular Sciences. Students enrolled in the program will benefit from Laurentian's extensive, leading-edge communications and networking technologies which link internal educational and research resources with universities, teaching hospitals and other research facilities province-wide.

The program has been approved to be offered in both English and French. Although initially it will be offered in English only, additional faculty resources will be added to ensure that that full program can be offered in both languages. It is expected that the first students will begin the program this coming fall; only full-time applicants will be admitted for the first three years of the program.

Michel Béchard, Director
Public Affairs, Laurentian University
Sudbury, Ontario
(705) 675 1151, ext. 3408