About the Primer on Population Health

In 2007, a group of teachers from Canadian medical schools formed a Public Health Educator’s Network (PHEN) and agreed that integrating public and population health concepts into clinical practice is essential to providing high quality health care. They also agreed on the need for a textbook to introduce these concepts to medical students. The text would cover the population health learning objectives of the Medical Council of Canada, the licensing body, and would illustrate the relevance of public and population health to clinical practice. The text would be web-based and made freely available. It was created collaboratively by PHEN members and helped to establish agreement on a syllabus for public and population health teaching. Feedback on a draft version was received from over 30 reviewers in 2010 and the current, second edition in 2018 reflects feedback from subsequent users. While the Primer is tailored for medical students, it will also serve students of other health care professions and all clinicians interested in improving their knowledge.
The editors have relied throughout on continuing administrative support from the AFMC to manage the review process, the translation and website development.

Denise Donovan, Université de Sherbrooke: Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick
Ian McDowell, University of Ottawa
(with Duncan Hunter during 2008–09, Queen’s University)

PHEN authors are listed by their faculty of medicine from western to eastern Canada:

University of British Columbia Rick Mathias
University of Calgary Laura McLeod
Jim Dickinson
University of Alberta Jim Talbot
University of Saskatchewan Allen Backman
University of Manitoba William Libich
Northern Ontario School of Medicine Vera Etches
University of Western Ontario Mark Speechley
McMaster University Julie Emili
University of Toronto Ian Johnson
Ross Upshur
Queen’s University Duncan Hunter
University of Ottawa Ian McDowell
McGill University Joe Cox
Université de Montréal Brigitte Maheux
Université de Sherbrooke Denise Donovan
Université Laval Yv Bonnier-Viger
Memorial University, Newfoundland Catherine Donovan
Christine Kennedy


Production of the first edition of the Primer was funded through a contribution by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Office of Public Health Practice, Professional Development Division.

Continuing support in kind from the Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau Brunswick, the Université de Sherbrooke and the University of Ottawa is gratefully acknowledged.


We invite your comments on the Primer and welcome suggestions for its improvement. We will use these to develop new content for future editions. Please email us at info@afmc.ca.

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