Population Health Pillar

Population Health Co Leads: Meghan Azad and Nathan Nickel


Population Health Researchers: Alex Singer, Chelsea Ruth, Elinor Simons, Elizabeth Sellers, Jennifer Protudjer, Kellie Thiessen, Leona Star, Leslie Ross, Lisa Lix, Marcelo Urquia, Elizabeth Sellers, Chelsea Ruth


Observational studies are essential to human developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) research, requiring detailed and longitudinal health data throughout life- from conception to adulthood. 


Population Health builds on existing infrastructure to enhance capacity for observational DOHAD research by leveraging and expanding population health databases held in the Manitoba Population Research Data Repository at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy.  New datasets required for DOHaD research will be incorporated into the Repository, including clinical data from neonatal intensive care units and pediatric primary care providers, routinely collected infant feeding data, and child health survey data from First Nations communities. In addition, clinical cohorts (e.g. the Manitoba CHILD and NextGen pregnancy cohorts) will be linked into the Repository, facilitating:

measurement of key DOHaD exposures and clinical outcomes that are not captured in cohort data;

extended follow-up of cohort participants through administrative data; and

validation of case definitions using administrative data. Finally, our pillar will advocate for the abstraction of key DOHaD variables that are not currently captured in the Repository (e.g. maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain).


Manitoba Infant Feeding Database

This is a population-based data file capturing infant feeding information collected at routine vaccination visits. A pilot test of the data collection strategy following infants from birth until six months of age has been conducted.


The data collection will now continue until the infants’ first birthday. Having longitudinal infant feeding data routinely collected and housed at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy will facilitate important research on the relationships between infant feeding, maternal/child health outcomes, and the social determinants of health. This type of infant feeding database is the first of its kind in Canada.

Linking Databases

Gestational and Pregestational Diabetes Exposure in Utero

Given the potential differences in effects of gestational and pregestational diabetes on fetal development and long term metabolic health, it is imperative to have a validated definition that differentiates gestational and pregestational diabetes in large administrative databases.  Using administrative data in the Population Health Research Data Repository at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy linked with the Diabetes Education Resource for Children and Adolescents Database, we will determine the best administrative definition for gestational and pregestational diabetes. 


Research using these definitions will help advance our understanding of both the short and long term effects of exposure to diabetes in pregnancy (both gestational and pregestational exposure).