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About us


Health care, education and research in Southwestern Ontario were built on leadership, innovation and community support. Advancing these systems to achieve better results in today’s complex environment is critically dependent upon the development of cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary partnerships, new models and new thinking. A renewed vision is taking shape — a vision that will take shared innovation and new knowledge to new heights in serving the people of Southwestern Ontario and impacting care, education and research on a provincial, national and global level.

This is SWAHN — the SouthWestern Academic Health Network. We are a network, focused on population health and communities across the region that is open to expanded and collaborative relationships near our closest provincial and national borders. SWAHN seeks to transform health in Southwestern Ontario through integrated excellence in research, education and clinical practice. Our goal is to bring academic research closer to clinical practice in order to improve patient and population health. We also seek to position Southwestern Ontario as the region of choice for healthcare education and training – ensuring that education is both accessible and an integral component of all health professionals’ jobs. We will do this through interprofessional and interorganizational collaboration on projects that will address the health priorities of our region.

SWAHN brings together professionals, educators and researchers across all health disciplines, including volunteers in universities, colleges, hospitals, research organizations, healthcare delivery organizations, clinicians, educators, and Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs) to achieve extensive, sustainable and evidence-based health outcomes for communities and residents of Southwestern Ontario.

What is SWAHN's value proposition?

SWAHN facilitates interprofessional collaboration, networking, and knowledge-sharing opportunities across health-care related education, research, health service providers, and other stakeholders in Southwestern Ontario to identify gaps and to improve the health of individuals, families, communities, and systems.

What are SWAHN's goals?
The primary goal of SWAHN is to positively transform health outcomes and delivery of health care in Southwestern Ontario through integrated excellence in research, education and clinical practice. SWAHN brings together professionals, educators and researchers across all health disciplines, including partners in the universities, colleges, hospitals, research organizations, healthcare delivery organizations, clinicians, educators and LHINs to achieve extensive, sustainable and evidence-based health outcomes for communities and residents of Southwestern Ontario. SWAHN intends to improve the health of the population of Southwestern Ontario and be a national leader in health care, education and research by:
  1. Leading the development of innovative and value-added health care services, education and research, evaluation and knowledge
  2. Accelerating the dissemination of research-based evidence and leading practices into clinical practice to enhance patient and population health outcomes, quality, accessibility and affordability of health care
  3. Integrating innovative collaborative models of education with health care delivery and research
  4. Engaging community partners, patients and families to inform the academic service integration
  5. Identifying appropriate performance measures to monitor progress and performance
  6. Enhancing and advancing synergies and the sharing of resources between our organizations for mutual benefit in integrated patient care, education and research
What are the current priorities?

In addition to reviewing information concerning community needs and priorities, as well as demographic and epidemiological data, SWAHN’s three "Streams" help to identify, assess, and guide the network’s areas of focus in alignment with its value proposition:

  • Interprofessional Collaboration Stream
  • Knowledge Generation & Translation Stream
  • Networking & Engagement Stream

A Communication Advisory Committee is also in place to help SWAHN build its information and communication foundations. All are working within a coordinated leadership framework.

What makes SWAHN different from other health networks?

We are committed to improving population health by creating a unique synergy of community health-service providers, grassroots connections, research, academic enterprise, and industry. In essence, SWAHN is a “virtual network of networks,” backed by interdisciplinary leaders, representing a variety of organizations and institutions from across the region. Through the engagement of committed members and stakeholders across the region, SWAHN is able to bring people together to focus on the predominant health care, education and research needs of Southwestern Ontario.

Who can engage with SWAHN?

Any organization, group or individual focused on the health of others can be affiliated with SWAHN. The network has engaged academic, community, research and healthcare organizations across Southwestern Ontario and beyond.

Why does this network matter?

SWAHN is unique given the demographics of our region. Southwestern Ontario is home to approximately 1.6 million people – 4.8% of the total Canadian population – who are distributed across rural areas as well as small and midsize cities. The region has a growing population of seniors. It is also rich in cultural diversity. In terms of economics, the area has faced significant issues as a result of unemployment. The population base is known to have a lower median income than those in the rest of Ontario.

Southwestern Ontario also has a rich array of health care services and is known for its numerous educational and research programs and leaders. Its proximity to the United States also adds to the region’s uniqueness.

In terms of health, the data shows that several illnesses have higher incidence rates in this region than in the rest of the province and the country. For example, the death rates due to all cancers, circulatory diseases and premature mortality rates are concerning. Other chronic conditions and diseases that are prevalent include respiratory illnesses, cardiac disease, diabetes and mental illness.