20 years

20 Years of Promoting Health Equity through Policy-relevant Research

The story of

For 20 years, the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) has been a leader in population health research—the study of social and structural factors that affect the wellbeing of groups within our province. SPHERU is a bi-university health research unit based at both the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan has long prided itself on innovative policy thinking around health and, for 20 years, SPHERU has been front and centre delivering policy-relevant, community-centred research on the health inequities this province faces. The breadth and depth of their work has made this unique bi-university unit a leader in population health research in the country. Congratulations on your 20th anniversary and here’s to your continued success.

– Dr. Kathy McNutt, Vice-President (Research), University of Regina

Over two decades, SPHERU has established an international reputation as a leader in population health research. SPHERU’s outstanding researchers—whose wide-ranging work ranges from addressing health inequities in Saskatchewan’s rural, remote, and northern communities, to evaluating national prenatal nutrition programs, to engaging in international research collaborations that improve maternal health—have made a transformative and lasting impact on the health and well-being of local and global communities. SPHERU serves as a shining example of interdisciplinary research teams and community partners who together produce cutting-edge research that leads to discovery the world needs. I am excited to witness this unit’s next decade of success.”

Dr. Karen Chad, Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan

Our story starts here.


Our vision

is a healthy society

Our work illuminates health disparities among populations and points to effective responses to these disparities in our social, structural, and physical environments.


we make change

Collaborating across sectors, building relationships between disciplines, and translating knowledge across fields has fostered partnerships committed to positive change for communities.

A history of

exposing health disparities

Two decades of digging deep, building trust, working together, translating knowledge, and highlighting health disparities in the pursuit of health equity.

We are


Our diverse team of researchers, research officers and trainees is the engine that drives relationships, research and a shared body of knowledge and builds positive change for people and communities. Interdisciplinary by design, our team members have diverse backgrounds in geography, rehabilitation science, political science, anthropology, epidemiology, social work, kinesiology, physical therapy, and nutrition.


health research

The core of SPHERU is research and action for health equity. Our collective work is guided by values that together create the spirit of SPHERU, and bring our research unit to life. With FEET on the ground, many EYES on the issues, and HEART at the centre of our research, we work to amplify the VOICE of community members and work to put our findings into the HANDS of partners that can use it directly.

20 years

of putting our values to work


…FEET on the ground

We go back and forth many, many times to our partner communities. We know this matters and we recognize the significance of placethat where you stand matters. For 20 years, SPHERU has been showing up, being present and working locally with communities throughout Saskatchewan.

…working to put data in the HANDS of partners

SPHERU’s focus is on intervention research, the bridging of understanding, and the action needed to address health inequities. That means prioritizing knowledge translation and exchange, and working in collaboration with partners who can use our findings directly for the good of local communities.

…using research to amplify the VOICE of communities

SPHERU’s research can amplify the voices of partners, their experiences and community needs. We are committed to research that reflects the diversity of voices within local communities, specifically the voices of the unheard and vulnerable communities.

…many EYES and perspectives on the issues

As researchers, we know you need many perspectives to see the truth. As an interdisciplinary team, we work to widen the lens on health equity issues, and challenge historical assumptions, blame and bias to support evidence-based understanding and policy decisions.

…putting HEART at the centre of our research

People and community needs are at the heart of SPHERU research. We work with community and for community. This means respectful, meaningful engagement and recognition of the shared ownership of knowledge with our community partners.