Health Policy Series Kick-off!: A retrospective look at public engagement, with Julia Abelson

We’re back! We’re excited to get rolling on this new series on Health Policy!  We have a range of questions we want to explore, including: who is involved in making policy, and how are public needs identified? How is public engagement defined? And who is included or excluded?

We’re kicking off the series with a conversation with Julia Abelson. Julia is a professor at McMaster University in the Department of Health Evidence and Impact and an associate member in the Department of Political Science.  She has a special research interest in public engagement in health system governance, and the analysis of the determinants of health policy decision making.

Julia’s been on the podcast before (Evaluating Patient Engagement) and this time around, she’s back to talk about the Public Engagement in Health Policy project, based at McMaster.

We reconnected with Julia to chat about some of the early insights learned in the project so far. One of the research themes in the project is Looking Back, reflecting on the evolution of engagement practices and health policy and seeing what can be learned from past experiences.

In this episode, Julia shares her insights related to trends in engagement in health policy, and also discusses one of the project’s first outputs – a case survey of government-initiated public engagement in health policy.

This series is supported by the Public Engagement in Health Policy project, which promotes research, critical reflection and dialogue about engagement issues that have a health and health policy focus. Learn more about this Future of Canada project at

[download transcript]