Research and partnership across Canada are critical to building back a better healthcare system

By: Kiersten Combs, President, AstraZeneca Canada

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed that the Canadian healthcare system had been operating at stretched capacity with little ability to weather extra strain. From healthcare worker burnout and shortages, to testing and treatment delays for patients, to ballooning surgical wait times and intensified mental health challenges – the impact of the pandemic will have to be managed for years to come.

The pandemic also highlighted the inextricable link between good health and a strong economy, and further demonstrated the ability of public sector and private sector organizations to work together in the best interests of Canadians.

So, how can we take these lessons, learn, grow, and create a more resilient and sustainable healthcare system, one that Canadians can be truly proud of?

It’s going to take collaboration.

This is why AstraZeneca, the London School of Economics, and the World Economic Forum created the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience (PHSSR) in March 2020. The goal of the partnership is to develop research and build capacity around the world in creating healthcare systems that can be more shock-proof, predict and respond better to future crises.

This week, we launch the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience here in Canada. We have the privilege of working with Philips Canada and the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) and its North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (NAO).

NAO Director and IHPME Assoc. Prof. Sara Allin will use a framework developed by the London School of Economics to assess Canada’s health systems to identify strengths, potential weaknesses, opportunities, and risks. Her assessment of the Canadian healthcare system will be released in September 2022 and will offer evidence-informed policy recommendations to improve the sustainability and resilience of the healthcare systems across the country.

We will also take these recommendations and turn this research into action by working in partnership with health and policy leaders and other stakeholders to identify and co-create solutions with the greatest potential impact for our healthcare system.

The pandemic has shown us the importance of collaboration, the power of science and technology and how public-private partnerships delivered at scale can drive innovation and solve challenges at the speed needed. Everyone has a role to play in this discussion because no one group or stakeholder alone can make healthcare more sustainable in Canada. We must partner and act with a sense of urgency around health system reform to ensure that the greatest health crisis of our lifetime can become the catalyst for stronger health systems and better health outcomes for Canadians.

To learn more about the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience, stay up to date on news and read research findings, visit



AstraZeneca Canada is a Sponsor of Research Canada’s 2022 Annual General Meeting. Visit to learn more.