Renee Lyons

PhD (University of Oregon)
MEd (Xavier University)


Renée Lyons was the Founding Bridgepoint Chair in Complex Chronic Disease (University of Toronto and Bridgepoint Health) and was Scientific Director of the Collaboratory for Research and Innovation, Bridgepoint Health (2009-14). She now holds an Emeritus position within the Lunenfeld-Tannenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System (which includes Bridgepoint), Toronto. She is also a Professor (status) in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Dr. Lyons was a faculty member at Dalhousie University for over 30 years where she held a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Health Promotion and was the Senior Scientist at the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre with appointments in the School of Health and Human Performance and the Department of Psychology.

She is actively engaged in research and writing and is currently leading the development of a special issue of Longwoods Healthcare Quarterly on chronic disease prevention and management in multi-morbidity and complex care. She remains involved as a co-investigator and co-author in research on chronic disease and prevention and management.

Among numerous national and international activities, she was a member of Industry Canada’s Science Advisory Board and Health Canada’s Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She was Special Advisor to the President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Alan Bernstein) for three years. She is currently a Board Member of the Ottawa-based Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, and for the past 4 years was member of the Governing Board of the Dalhousie based NCE-KT, Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts. She recently was the expert advisor to the Alberta Auditor General review of chronic disease services provided by Alberta Health. She is advisor on a newly government funded (2015-) research and evaluation initiative in Scotland (University of Edinburgh) on reforming primary care in the context of chronic disease and multimorbidity.

About the Bridgepoint Chair

The goal of the endowed Bridgepoint Chair in Complex Chronic Disease (CCD) Research (University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare) was the development of a leading-edge research program in CCD and using multi-institutional collaborations on CCD research development and its use. The Bridgepoint Collaboratory for Research and Innovation has been in operation since late 2009.  Its focus is health systems re-engineering for people with complex multiple health conditions around three integrated research themes: service and policy, clinical excellence, and technology and design solutions. The Collaboratory (now a part of the Lunenfeld-Tannenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System, Toronto, engages in training and mentoring of CCD scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and students, development of new research methods, grants development, and knowledge mobilization. The Collaboratory has also developed a governance structure and committees, inter-disciplinary, inter-sectoral collaborations to advance research, donations and grants of approximately $6 million, and mechanisms to help use the research findings at Bridgepoint and elsewhere.

Dr. Lyons’ research has focused on chronic disease, health systems improvement and knowledge translation. She was co-editor for the first book on multiple chronic conditions, When people live with multiple chronic diseases: a collaborative approach to an emerging global challenge (Escuela Andaluza de Salud Publica, 2010). A book chapter on the Future of chronic illness: translating what we know into what we do in Translating chronic illness into practice (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) examines how we should use evidence to take bolder country-wide and global action on chronic illness prevention and management.

Dr. Lyons has been principal investigator for over $25M in health research funding for large health research projects in rural health, stroke and health systems reform, public health, oral health of seniors, and chronic disease prevention in midlife and youth, settings and health, and human relationships and chronic illness. These funds were awarded primarily through national peer review research competitions. She recently completed a 5-year nationally funded (CIHR, Heart and Stroke Foundation) multi-method study on optimizing policy investments in the built environment to address youth obesity, comparing rural, urban and suburban communities and socioeconomic status.

She has conducted research and published in knowledge translation (KT), including work with several Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (e.g. Stroke, Water) on KT development.

Dr. Lyons was Special Advisor to Alan Bernstein, President of CIHR, providing research development leadership in rural and northern health. She also collaborated with over 100 researchers in the social sciences and humanities (SS/H) to develop a document explaining health related disciplines in SS/H and advances in social and behavioral research to facilitate cross-pillar collaboration.

She was a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Science’s review panel on chronic disease in Canada (2009-10). Dr. Lyons provided research expertise and training to guide public health development in the Balkans for the Canadian Public Health Association and was a member of the Michael Smith Foundation expert advisory group for the evaluation of the BC ACT NOW initiative.

In 2009, Dr. Lyons was a visiting scholar in Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, and hosted a Knowledge Translation Symposium with Alastair Buchan, Oxford’s Head of Medical Sciences. The symposium presenters collaborated on a monograph ( about innovative approaches and roadblocks in knowledge utilization in health services and public health.

Dr. Lyons received her university education at Dalhousie University (BA in psychology and sociology), Xavier University, Cincinnati (MEd in counselling psychology), the University of Oregon, Eugene (PhD in health studies – coping and adaptation and systems improvements in chronic disease management).



Additional Recent Publications

Kirk, S.F.L., Price, S.L., Penney, T.L., Rehman, L., Lyons, R.F., Piccinini-Vallis, T., Vallis, T.M., Curran, J., Aston, M. (2014). Blame Shame and lack of Support: A Multilevel Study on Obesity Management.   Qualitative Health Research. 24(6) 790-800. DOI: 10.1177/1049732314529667. JA

Kuluski, K, Dow, C., Locock, L., Lyons, R.F., Lasserson, D. (2014). Life interrupted and life regained? Coping with stroke at a young age. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being. 9: 22252. doi:10.3402/qhw.v9.22252. JA

Dorfman, R., Khayat, Z., Sieminowski, T., Golden, B., & Lyons, R. (2013) Application of personalized medicine to chronic disease: A feasibility assessment. Clinical and Translational Medicine 2013, 2:16 (18 December 2013). JA

Jeffs, L., Law, M.P., Straus, S., Cardoso, R., Lyons, R.F., Bell, C. (2013). Defining Quality Measures for Complex Care Patients Transitioning Across the Continuum Using a Structured Panel Process. BMJ Quality & Safety, doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001473. JA

Jeffs, L.P., Lyons, R.F., Merkley, J., Bell, C. (2013) Clinicians’ views on improving inter-organizational care transitions. BMC Health Services Research. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-289. JA

Kuluski, K., Hoang, S., Schaink, A.K., Alvaro, C., Lyons, R., Tobias, R., Bensimon, C.M. (2013). The Care Delivery Experience of Hospitalized Patients with Complex Chronic Disease. Health Expectations. doi: 10.1111/hex.12085. JA