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Canadian Social Determinants Urban Laboratory (CSDUL)

Funded by The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Since 2017, Dr. Charles Plante has been leading a team with the UPHN Research Group to advance the measurement of health inequalities in Canada’s cities using existing data. We call this project “Measuring Trends in Health Inequalities in Cities.” In 2023, CIHR provided the team with $100,000 in bridge funding to begin the development of the Canadian Social Determinants Urban Laboratory (CSDUL, pronounced \si-jil’ \).

In 2021, we released the report Urban Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada: City-Level Results in Health System Use and Self-Reported Indicators, which has framed our work ever since. The report found that income-related health inequalities in Canada’s cities were prevalent for every indicator we examined, but they were also very different between cities. Additionally, health inequalities have not tended to improve since the early 2000s, although there were exceptions. Much of the team’s attention has now turned to assembling data and creating tools for unpacking what drives city-level differences in health inequalities.

Research Team

The team is co-led by Dr. Plante and Dr. Cory Neudorf. It consists of many collaborators in academia, at Statistics Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, and several rotating knowledge users across the country. Drs. Plante and Neudorf supervise a team of students, helping them advance this work at the University of Saskatchewan. It includes three Ph.D. students, an M.Sc. student, and a medical student.

2023 Highlights

Over the past 12 months, some key highlights have been:

  • The team resubmitted and was granted a CIHR Project Grant for $650,000 to fund development of CSDUL. CSDUL will consist of a suite of programs, algorithms, and data components that will combine over 15 leading sources of personal and area-level health information to conduct local-level comparative health analysis.
  • Ph.D. student Daniel Yupanqui is working with former CH&E student Anousheh Marouzi, who now joins Dr. Plante at the SHA, and will prepare an updated version of this analysis that will be shared with UPHN members as an addendum to our 2021 report.
  • Daniel has also begun a project exploring the implications of using different measures of area-based based income in health inequalities reporting. Area-based income is routinely used by UPHN researchers and is becoming a global standard as it can be measured the same way in every country.
  • Ph.D. student Ladan Kashaniamin is working with the team to update the analysis for self-reported health indicators presented in our 2021 report for the latest years of data. She is also developing her Ph.D. thesis around becoming one of CSDUL’s first users.
  • Dr. Plante continues to work with a working group of applied social epidemiologists from across the country to advance a conversation around improving area-based measures of socioeconomic status and deprivation and their effective use.
  • Ph.D. student Rasha Elamoshy and M.Sc. student Raissa Chagas have joined our Research Group in 2023.
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