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Dr. Mike Evans appointed inaugural Chair in Patient Engagement in Child Nutrition at the University of Toronto

Toronto, June 19, 2014

Dr. Mike Evans, a family physician at St. Michael's Hospital, has been appointed to the new Chair in Patient Engagement in Child Nutrition at the University of Toronto. Dr. Evans said he believes this is the first such chair in patient engagement.

The chair was partially funded by a $5 million gift from Joannah and Brian Lawson to launch a Centre for Child Nutrition, Health and Development, whose mandate it is to improve nutrition and promote healthy food choices, starting in childhood.

“The Chair in Patient Engagement in Child Nutrition puts patients at the very centre of our focus regarding a topic that is a top priority for the public,” said Dr. Evans. “This new endowed chair not only signals transformation in the health care system towards a more patient-centred model, but also emphasizes the importance of quality public education and how the University of Toronto plays a key role.”

The new centre for child nutrition will be located in the Department of Family and Community Medicine of the university’s Faculty of Medicine. The centre will facilitate research among leading nutritional and biomedical scientists to identify the physiological and environmental risk factors for disease; use the research to develop interventions for health care practitioners to test in their practices and in their communities; and design and deliver state-of-the-art nutrition curriculum across the continuum of medical education.

Dr. Evans is a pioneer in patient engagement, an emerging field that facilitates the active and informed participation of people in their own health care. By packaging the best medical evidence in a way that is compelling to the public, people are more likely to share that knowledge and engage in what is being called “peer-to-peer health care.”

Caricature of Dr. Mike Evans Examples of Dr. Evans’ work include the creation of an online six-part information series on health sciences for the public at the University of Toronto (Mini Med School), a radio and print series for the CBC and The Globe and Mail, a children’s book (The Adventures of Medical Man), and “The Truth of It” video series for patients with cancer.

He may be best known for his whiteboard series on YouTube, which has had almost 10 million views globally, and It, which includes the nine-minute video 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?