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Diane Finegood

Professor, Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University & Executive Director, Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance

Expert in systems thinking & cross sector partnerships as approaches to solving complex problems including obesity and chronic disease


Public Salon 26 Diane Finegood

Dr. Diane Finegood is an experienced research leader with a deep knowledge of the health research ecosystem and extensive experience in building complex partnerships across disciplines and sectors at all levels. As President & CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, she champions the growth of BC’s health research enterprise and works closely with government and other stakeholders to advance key projects to support health system transformation. From 2000 to 2008, Diane served as the inaugural scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. She has also served in a range of other leadership positions including as executive director of the CAPTURE Project (Canadian Platform to Increase Usage of Real-World Evidence).

KT 2.0: Embracing complexity

Produced by MSFHR. Filmed and post-production by the Knowledge Mobilization Studio ( KT 2.0 takes knowledge translation to the next level -- deepening our understanding and broadening our perspectives as to what might be possible in the field. As researchers and research users engaged in meaningful partnerships, the challenge will be to embrace complexity in the health system and think differently about addressing problems in health care. View additional videos and share your reflections at

A new evidence base for tackling complex problems

Leading Canadian public health researcher Professor Diane Finegood visited Sydney recently. She spoke about the need for a new evidence base for tackling complex problems that enables continuous adaptation and improvement. Professor Finegood is the President and CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Obesity Seeking Solutions

BTV/Global National TV Production (November 2003)Television


Interview incorporated into a 30 minute documentary on obesity.

Is It OK To Meet With Friends While Social Distancing?

Health System Transformation

Reboot Communications (May 2016)Online


Interview in advance of the 16th Annual Healthcare Summit.

Expert's Corner, Healthcare Q & A

Reboot Communications (May 2015)Online


Interview in advance of the 15th Annual Healthcare Summit.

Challenges of obesity for individuals and society

Canadian Obesity Network (May 2009)Online


Interview on the personal and professional challenges of dealing with obesity.

The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments.

Published by Lancet 378: 804-14, 2011.

This collaborative effort to bring focus to the obesity pandemic is part of a series of papers in The Lancet. This paper has been cited more than 700 times and has an Altimetric score in the top 5%.


Systems Science and Obesity Policy: A Novel Framework for Analyzing and Rethinking Population-Level Planning.

Published by American Journal of Public Health 104(7): 1270-8, 2014.

This paper arises out of our research program applying systems thinking to the complexity of obesity and behavior change.


Knowledge to action for solving complex problems: insights from a review of nine international cases.

Published by Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can 35(3): 47-53, 2015.

This examination of nine international organizational experiences with bringing knowledge to action uses a systems lens to understand best practices.


Grand Challenges in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases: The top 20 policy and research priorities for conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

Published by Nature 450: 494-496, 2007.

This collaboration brings attention to the global challenges of chronic disease prevention. Almetric score in the top 5%


Cross-Sector Partnerships and Public Health: Challenges and Opportunities for Addressing Obesity and Noncommunicable Diseases Through Engagement with the Private Sector.

Published by Annual Reviews of Public Health, 36: 255-271, 2015.

Invited review article reflects our work in the area of public-private partnerships and their application to public health issues like obesity and chronic disease prevention. This is a contentious issue in the policy domain and we address both the challenges and the opportunities.



Dr. Diane T. Finegood is an experienced research leader and strategic visionary with an exceptional track record of heading provincial and national leading-edge health research organizations. She served as President & CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2012-2016) and inaugural scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (2000-2008). As a bridge-builder and systems thinker, She has successfully facilitated the needs of disparate stakeholders to carve out common ground for effective collaboration and impact. Finegood is also an internationally recognized researcher whose work and expertise range from cell biology, physiology, and mathematical modeling to population and public health, health policy and knowledge translation.


YWCA Women of Distinction | Professional

Presented by the Vancouver YWCA in recognition of leadership in Science, Research and Medicine (2002).

Top 100 Women: Trailblazers and Trendsetters | Professional

Presented by the Women's Executive Network (2006).

Inaugural Distinguished Lecturer Award | Professional

Presented by the Canadian Obesity Network, for outstanding contributions to the obesity research community in Canada (2009).

Frederick G. Banting Award | Professional

Presented by the Canadian Diabetes Association, for significant contributions through leadership in the diabetes community in Canada (2008).

E.W. Crampton Award | Professional

Presented by the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, in conjunction with McGill Nutrition and Food Science Centre, in recognition of distinguished service in fields dealing with nutrition and food (2011).

Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences | Professional

For recognition of national and international contributions to the promotion of health science. Fellows will have demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and a commitment to advance academic health science (2007).

Past Talks

Thoughts on the Role of Science in Public Policy

Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) Luncheon - Science, Technology and Public Policy

Vancouver, BC (March 2015)

The food industry: Friend or foe?

Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (APPC) Investigators' Forum

Sydney, Australia (March 2015)

Shifting the paradigm in chronic disease prevention from attribution to adaptation: What data do we need?

The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre

Sydney, Australia (March 2015)

Innovation - Accelerating uptake

International Initiative for Mental health Leadership

Vancouver, BC (September 2015)

Complex is not the same as complicated

Global Civic Policy Society's Public Salon

Vancouver, BC (October 2016)

A Systems Approach to Implementation of Evidence

Global Implementation Conference

Toronto, Ontario (June 2017)

Research Grants

The CAPTURE Project (CAnadian Platform To increase Usage of Real world Evidence)

Organization: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
Grant amount: $3,000,000 (2009-2012)


Unique 3 year knowledge translation project focused on the vision of having effective primary prevention in Canada because we learn from what we do. Engaged more than 500 chronic disease prevention informants, including public health practitioners, evaluators, public health decision makers, and public health and intervention researchers in consultations using multiple methods including concept mapping, expert panels, stakeholder workshops, key informant interviews, focus groups, web surveys and usability testing. Built a web-based platform to support organizations and individuals in program and evaluation planning, reporting on progress, sharing and reflecting on the results of interventions, and connecting with others who are working with similar populations or interventions. Identified multiple needs and opportunities in building systems to support real-world learning for improvement.

More information:

Scale-up and Spread of MEND Programs in Canada

Organization: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Grant amount: $200,000 (2011 to present)


MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition Do-It!) is a scaleable childhood obesity treatment program imported from the UK to Canada. This project is studying the scale-up and spread of MEND into three provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia).

Beta-Cell Apoptosis and Autoimmunity Network

Organization: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Grant amount: $1.2 million (2004-2008)


This program project grant followed from a previous grant from JDRF and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (for $2.7 million) to explore triggers and mechanisms of autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes.


  • Research Ecosystem
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Obesity
  • Knowledge Translation
  • Implementation Science
  • Health Research
  • Complex Systems
  • Chronic Disease Prevention


  • University of Southern California
    Physiology and Biophysics
    PhD, 1984
  • University of Michigan
    Chemical Engineering
    BSChE, 1978
  • Northwestern University
    Biomedical Engineering
    MSc, 1980

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