Knowledge and research priorities

Being responsive to current and emerging evidence is important to us

Effective public health practice is foundational to the Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) and is embedded in our agency’s strategic priorities. Our goal is for public health practice to be transparent and responsive to current and emerging evidence, and to emphasize continuous quality improvement.

How do we meet this goal?

How do we generate evidence?

We use existing planning processes and consultation across the agency to identify gaps in knowledge and evidence and to prioritize areas and topics about which we should consider generating evidence.

We generate evidence by conducting research, evaluations, needs assessments, and literature reviews, and by engaging with the public and community stakeholders. This is often done in partnership with other public health units and with community researchers and academic partners.

This document presents a synthesis1 of the priority topic areas for which we do not currently have sufficient evidence. These would be considered current knowledge and research priorities for our agency2.

Our knowledge and research priorities

There are a total of six overarching knowledge and research priority topic areas, including:

Health & Racial Equity

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is committed to decreasing health inequities by considering health and racial equity in all that we do. Social determinants of health, including, but not limited to, income, education, race and racism, gender, sexual orientation, and geography play pivotal contributing roles to an individual’s health.

More evidence is needed on the following topics to support this work:

Public Mental Health

Public Health Sudbury & Districts believes in investing in mental health promotion research to support the delivery of programs and services that improve mental health for all. We endorse the concept of parity of esteem, equally valuing both the mental and physical health of the population.

More evidence is needed on the following topics to support this work:

Substance Use

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is committed to advancing effective health promotion policy and program interventions that support optimal health and reduce substance use and addiction. Our region continues to experience high rates of morbidity and mortality related to opioids, other illicit drug use, cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, and more recently e-cigarettes and the use of vaporizers.

More evidence is needed on the following topics to support this work:

Communicable and Infectious Disease

Public Health Sudbury & Districts understands that prevention of communicable and infectious diseases, particularly for the most vulnerable populations (such as children and seniors) is of vital importance.  Locally, while childhood immunization rates are high, adult vaccination coverage for pertussis and strep pneumo are lower than the provincial average. Additionally there is staffing capacity-disparity among seniors’ residences in knowledge and skills to prevent and control infectious diseases outbreaks.

More evidence is needed on the following topics to support this work:

Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Public Health Sudbury & Districts has a responsibility to engage the public and community partners in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of our programs and services.

More evidence is needed on the following topics to support this work:

Public Health System

Our agency is committed to protecting and growing the public health system. We strive for ongoing excellence and resilience. Additionally, Public Health Sudbury & Districts has played a key role in understanding how to move forward with public health transformation. Our agency will work to better understand ways to strengthen the public health system and best practices to support local populations and our workforce.

More evidence is needed on the following topics to support this work:

Moving forward for the health of our community

The identified knowledge and research priorities cover a wide-range of topics of public health importance. Better understanding these knowledge and research priorities allows us to identify the areas in which we could develop projects that are in line with our evidence needs, which ultimately helps us ensure that our programs and services meet community needs and are reflective of our local context. This also allows us to identify the areas within which we can partner and foster relationships with stakeholders such as other public health units, community and academic researchers, and students.

More information on our work and the breadth of evidence we generate can be found on the Research and Statistics section of our website ( For more information, please contact

  1. A detailed list of current gaps in evidence, otherwise known as practice-based questions, has informed this synthesis document.
  2. Emerging issues may arise and priorities may shift at any time.

This item was last modified on January 16, 2020