Where we work

The Institute works at the intersection of policy and research, sparking the changes needed to improve health in our communities

The O'Brien Institute promotes impactful public health research, working as an impartial knowledge broker and thought leader to support public health information and create policy impact through its international and local partnerships and collaborations.

The Institute works in four main areas:

  • Policy 

  • Academia

  • Community

  • Care providers



New partnership building opportunities can arise through any of the Institute’s activities, and several such opportunities have developed into meaningful partnerships. 

Initiatives and partnerships

Effective partnerships are the building-blocks in the Institute's success.

Improved health achieved through a provincially-integrated health outcomes and public health research and education system.

The overriding goal is to produce synergies and collaboration among provincial stakeholders in health outcomes and public health. Alberta has considerable potential to lead international innovations in these areas.  Through the formal establishment of Campus Alberta Health Outcomes and Public Health, participating partners seek to align creativity, expertise, educational programs, and research platforms toward the common goal of internationally-leading innovation in the domains of health outcomes and public health. 

The following academic entities exist within a context of engaged government agencies that oversee public health and health care delivery in the province of Alberta. These include AHS (with its many portfolios engaged in public health), various branches of Alberta Health, and Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions. 

  • the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta
  • the O'Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary
  • the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry (which includes the Health Outcomes Research Institute)
  • the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge


The Urban Alliance is a research partnership between the City of Calgary and University of Calgary, created to encourage and co-ordinate the seamless transfer of cutting-edge research between the university and city. 

The Urban Alliance was created in 2007 with the signing of a 24-year agreement between the two organizations. The purpose of the alliance is to pursue common areas of interest in research, development, and education that relate to finding the best solutions to complex problems facing Calgary, fostering world-class multi-disciplinary research and innovation, developing highly qualified personnel, and realizing the city’s and the university’s long-term priorities and plans and the imagineCALGARY vision.

The Urban Alliance is co-governed by both organizations, and both are deeply committed to its success. The Urban Alliance is a prime example and vehicle for one of the three foundational commitments of the university’s Eyes High vision, to fully integrate the university within the community.

In November 2018, the University of Calgary was designated an age-friendly university by the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network.

The AFU network consists of institutions of higher education around the globe who have endorsed the 10 AFU principles and committed themselves to becoming more age-friendly in their programs and policies.

Already home to the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging, this AFU designation will further mobilize UCalgary to contribute an educational movement of social, personal, and economic benefit to students of all ages and institutions of higher education alike.

Street CCRED (Community Capacity in: Research, Education, and Development) is a community-based response to the suffering of Calgary's most vulnerable citizens.  It is an inclusive collaboration comprised of community members, front-line service providers, academics, programs and agencies.  Street CCRED nurtures grassroots initiatives seeded by community members and fills a gap in the current landscape of care for vulnerable individuals and populations. Driven by passionate champions and relationships, the Street CCRED service philosophy is deeply influenced by the principles of health equity, collaboration, decolonization, addressing structural violence, upstream determinants of health, compassion, harm reduction and housing first. Street CCRED strives to build inclusive partnerships that extend beyond the agencies to which individuals belong by building support for each other, while collectively working towards a common vision.

makeCalgary: is a community based research platform in the University of Calgary's Faculty of Environmental Design. It brings together faculty researchers, graduate students, industry professionals, and community partners to help design a bright future for Canada's most enterprising city. makeCalgary has organized its research into four design criteria that define a great city: RESILIENT, HEALTHYVIBRANT, and EQUITABLE.

Find out more about makeCalgary.


The International Population Data Linkage Network facilitates communication between centres specializing in data linkage and users of linked data to produce benefit in the population and health-related domains. 

The Centre for Health Informatics is the newest University of Calgary research and innovation centre within the Cumming School of Medicine. The Centre came into existence in 2018 to advance and innovate health informatics for Precision Health through timely data access, data analytics such as visualization, linkage and coding, and leading research using secondary data for research trials, and clinical decision support.

In Alberta's unique healthcare environment with a single Electronic Medical Records system, the Centre for Health Informatics brings together data assets to foster collaboration among investigators, support grant development, recruit faculty and students, develop cutting-edge analytics, and build capacity in data science and machine-learning.

IMAGINE Citizens brings together patients, family members, communities, health-care professionals, and individuals from the public and private sectors to tackle the health problems important to Albertans.

The O’Brien Institute helped launch the initiative in 2015, and although the project reigns have been handed over to a citizen- led committee, the Institute continues to support through funding, functioning as the initiative’s secretariat and providing logistical and technical support to the citizens’ efforts. Currently, the Institute is working in partnership with IMAGINE to plan and host a public symposium on the topic of digital health. The intent is of the symposium is to educate, empower and engage Albertans in the discussions about the potential of digital tools (including personal health records).