PHIRN: Population Health Improvement Research Network

Tools for Research


ophidThe Ontario Population Health Index of Databases (OPHID) is "live" and available for use

  • It can facilitate, expand and strengthen population health research, policy and decision making by expanding knowledge about available data.
  •  It's free. Give it a try!

Browse the OPHID Database

Flyer | Presentation CPHA 2012

What is it?

OPHID is a free database index resource for researchers, students, or anyone working on or with population health issues. It provides an on-line, searchable index of a wide variety of data sources relevant to Ontario (as well as Canada), details about their content, and how to gain access to them.

When is it needed?

When research or research data is needed but you:

  • Don't know if there is data available to meet the need.
  • Are convinced that there is no way to get the data.

What it's not?

A database access portal. We can tell you what's out there and how to access it; you have to take it from there.

What's the objective?

Facilitate, expand and strengthen population health research by maximizing knowledge of the broad range and quantity of social, economic, natural and built environment data resources. Our mission is to be inclusive rather than exclusive, to enable and facilitate population health research by making as much information available as possible.

Want to make OPHID even more useful?

Contribute – recommend a relevant database; we will add as many as you can recommend (they just have to be, at least in part, about Ontario). Give feedback - on the index or the portal.

Who's behind this?

OPHID is a service of the Population Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN). We were created with funds from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to support high-quality applied population health research.  We have partnered with the Ontario Council of University Libraries and Scholars Portal on the technical side in order to create optimal index access and search capabilities.


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MIP Toolkit


The multiple intervention program toolkit is an interactive tool to help public health staff and managers strengthen the design and evaluation of multiple intervention programs and also to provide public and community health practitioners with resources to support co-ordinated and resource-effective comprehensive programming.

Who is the Tool Kit for?

Public and community health practitioners responsible for designing and evaluating multiple intervention programs.

This tool kit was developed for the Ontario public health system but its ideas, examples, and activities are relevant to anyone involved in designing, implementing or evaluating community health or health-promotion programs.

Visit  Website


PHIRN Library

The Population Health Improvement Network (PHIRN) is pleased to announce the launch of its online library!!

The objectives of PHIRN library is to inform the range of knowledge users about where and on what population health research is taking place in the province; who is doing the research and how.

librarySearch Library

  • The PHIRN library is a searchable repository of academic and grey literature on population health equity and intervention research undertaken in and on the province of Ontario.
  • This tool gives ready access to the open access academic journal articles, grey literature including research-based resource materials, power point presentations; and citation and summary information for restricted publications with easy link to the complete documents.
  • Presently the PHIRN library provides access to 173 open and restricted academic literature; and 114 open access grey literature published between 2005- 2009.
  • This library will soon provide access to 2010 and 2011 academic and grey literature publications of Ontario-based population health research.

Updated on a regular basis, this searchable library offers range of descriptive information on population health research projects in Ontario for:

  • researchers,
  • students,
  • policy decision makers, and
  • practitioners working in the field of population health.

PHIR Casebook


The Canadian Population Health Initiative (CPHI) of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), in partnership with the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), produced a casebook that showcases population health intervention research (PHIR) in Canada.


Health-evidence aims to support evidence-informed decision making in public health by providing current research evidence in a searchable online registry. The team regularly searches for, screens, and rates systematic and narrative reviews, and meta-analyses from a variety of electronic and print sources.

Vist website


Content Tracking Tool: Canadian Community Health Survey - Updated

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The Content Tracking Tool (CTT) was developed as a spreadsheet document. The related worksheets provide information on selected CCHS modules and their variables across cycles, including the questions, coding and universe of respondents associated with each variable. Changes that have taken place between cycles are detailed. In addition, colour-coded cautions allow users to quickly identify the variables that are consistent or inconsistent through cycles.

Organization of the tool is detailed in Document Overview.

xlsDocument Overview - Updated 7 Feb 13

Join the discussion Forum


SDoH-Canadian Facts


The primary factors that shape the health of Canadians are not medical treatments or lifestyle choices but rather the living conditions they experience. These conditions have come to be known as the social determinants of health. This information – based on decades of research and hundreds of studies in Canada and elsewhere – is unfamiliar to most Canadians.

Canadians are largely unaware that our health is shaped by how income and wealth is distributed, whether or not we are employed and if so, the working conditions we experience.

Our health is also determined by the health and social services we receive, and our ability to obtain quality education, food and housing, among other factors. And contrary to the assumption that Canadians have personal control over these factors, in most cases these living conditions are – for better or worse – imposed upon us by the quality of the communities, housing situations, work settings, health and social service agencies, and educational institutions with which we interact.


OPHL Search Engine

Custom Search Engine for Ontario Public Health Unit Websites created by Ontario Public Health Libraries Association (OPHLA):

Try Custom Search Engine


Other Tools

Method for Synthesizing Knowledge about Public Policies

Public Health Agency of Canada through funding for the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP) 2010


Available online PDF [65p.] at:

The objective of this document is to propose a knowledge synthesis method that is applicable to public policies and takes into account not only data linked to their effectiveness, but also data on issues related to their implementation, with the aim of identifying the policies that are most likely to succeed in the specific context in which their implementation is being considered.

Read more

DPoRT: Diabetes Population Risk Tool

The Diabetes Population Risk Tool (DPoRT) calculates the future risk of diabetes, for diabetes-free individuals, without the requirement of clinical information. The tool was specifically designed to allow users to estimate future population risk using population survey data.

The tool is based on the publicly available national population health surveys administered by Statistics Canada (Canadian Community Health Survey). The cross-sectional nature of these surveys allows DPoRT to be applied to the newer releases—providing estimates that more accurately reflect Canada's current population.

Read more