Health Research Categories

As defined in our Legislation and Regulations, the NSHRF’s four health research categories are: 

Medical Research
Basic scientific and biomedical study; clinical and epidemiological investigations.

Health Policy Research
Impact of social factors; allocation of resources; legal and ethical issues; administration, organization and financing of health care.

Health Outcomes Research
Changes in the health status of populations as a result of health programs or services.

Health Services Research
Efficiency and effectiveness of management, organization, and delivery of health services.

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The word "health" is defined broadly at the NSHRF. We have accepted the Ottawa Charter definition of health as "a complete state of physical, mental, social and emotional well-being ... a resource for living that enables people of all ages to realize their hopes and needs and to change or cope with the environments around them". We recognize the determinants of health, as outlined by the World Health Organization, as factors that influence health.   

Health Research

The NSHRF defines health research as a systematic investigation to establish facts, principles, or generalizable knowledge in the areas of biomedical research, health outcomes research, health policy research and health services research.

Health Research Enterprise

The NSHRF defines the health research enterprise as a community that is an integral part of the health system and includes not only researchers and research institutions but also those who use research to develop policy, deliver care and maintain the health system. By extension then, the national research enterprise is defined as an integral part of the economic and social fabric of Canada and it includes not only those who generate knowledge, but also those who use knowledge to develop policy, deliver goods and services and maintain our socio-economic structures.

Statement of Principle

The NSHRF believes that research is a central component of the health system and the health research enterprise plays an integral role in supporting the health system. We are committed to supporting the health research enterprise in Nova Scotia.  

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Health Research Priorities

As the NSHRF broadly defines health and recognizes there are many factors which influence health, our priorities have been designed to fit within this complex system. We have defined our health research priorities in broad topic areas which will ensure all four health research categories can be reflected within any priority. To work towards improving the health of Nova Scotians through health research, all areas of health research, including basic science, are required. We recognize basic science questions are central to understanding the potential causes, treatment and prevention of disease and promotion of health and sustainability of the health system. Basic science plays a key role in both the area of population health and health services. 

In 2010-11, we identified new health research priorities which have been implemented through our programs and services. To learn more about the priority identification process click here.

The NSHRF’s Health Research Priorities are:

Population Heath

  • Changing demographics
  • Factors that contribute to inequities (income, education, race, culture, literacy, etc.)
  • Issues specific and unique to marginalized populations in Nova Scotia
  • Disease prevention
  • Mental health 

Health Services

  • Continuing care models
  • Primary health care (access)
  • Models of Health Human Resources (HHR)
  • Governance, sustainability and costs

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