Morris Barer


Faculty, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research
Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health
(604) 822-5992


Morris L. Barer is a Professor in the Health Services and Policy Division within the School of Population and Public Health. He was the inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (one of the thirteen Canadian Institutes of Health Research). He was the founding Director of the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, serving from inception in 1990 to 2001, and again from 2007 through 2012. Dr. Barer has served on the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee on Health Services, as senior editor for Health Economics with the journal Social Science and Medicine, as a member and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (and its predecessor the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation [CHSRF]). Dr. Barer delivered the Justice Emmett Hall Memorial Foundation lecture in 2004, and was the recipient of the Health Services Research Advancement Award (from CHSRF) in 2006. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.


PhD, Economics, University of British Columbia
MBA, University of British Columbia
BSc, Mathematics, University of British Columbia

Research Interests

  • Physician resource policy; patterns of use of physician services; implications of changes in methods of physician remuneration
  • Health human resources – scopes of practice, recruitment/retention
  • Access to care, wait lists and wait times
  • The effects of an aging population
  • Health care financing
  • Pharmaceutical policy (drug promotion and regulation)
  • Use of health care services, particularly by seniors
  • Health care “zombies” (seemingly obvious truths about health care that have no evidentiary basis, but persist anyway)

Current Projects

  • Exit Strategies – The Timing and Impacts of Physician Retirement

Affiliations and Awards

  • Founding Director, UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research
  • Inaugural Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
  • Former Member, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Advisory Committee on Health Services
  • Former Senior Editor, Health Economics with Social Science and Medicine
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences
  • Health Services Research Advancement Award, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (2006)
  • Emmett Hall Memorial Lecturer, The Justice Emmett M. Hall Memorial Foundation, Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (2004)

Currently Recruiting Graduate (Masters only) Students Interested in

  • Physician resource policy
  • Health care financing
  • Health human resources research
  • Analysis of changes in patterns of hospital, home care, or physician services utilization
  • The discordance between commonly known ‘truths’ about health care, and research evidence

Note: Not currently accepting new PhD students for supervision (though will serve on committees). Will supervise Masters students who are contemplating theses in areas of common interest.

Recent Publications

Barer M, Stoddart G, McGrail K, McLeod C, editors. An Undisciplined Economist: Robert G. Evans on Health Economics, Health Care Policy, and Population Health. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press; 2016. Read more

Barer M, Engelhardt M, Hedden L, Mooney D. Contested Ground: Why are some policies healthy and others not? Conference Summary. Vancouver (BC): UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research; 2016. Read more

Lavergne MR, Barer M, Law MR, Wong ST, Peterson S, McGrail K. Examining regional variation in health care spending in British Columbia, Canada. Health Policy. 2016;120(7):739–48. Read more

McGrail K, Lavergne R, Lewis SJ, Peterson SL, Barer M, Garrison SR. Classifying physician practice style: a new approach using administrative data in British Columbia. Med Care. 2015 Mar;53(3):276-82. Read more

Hedden L, Barer ML, Cardiff K, McGrail KM, Law MR, Bourgeault IL. The implications of the feminization of the primary care physician workforce on service supply: a systematic review. Hum Resour Health. 2014 Jun 4;12:32. Read more

Barer ML, Evans RG, Hedden L. Two wings and a prayer: should Canada make it easier for Canadian doctors trained abroad to enter practice here? Healthc Policy. 2014 May;9(4):12-9. Read more

Barer ML, Evans RG, Hedden L. False hope for Canadians who study medicine abroad. CMAJ. 2014 Apr 15;186(7):552. Read more

McGrail KM, Lilly MB, McGregor MJ, Broemeling AM, Salomons K, Peterson S, McKendry R, Barer ML. Health care services use in assisted living: a time series analysis. Can J Aging. 2013 Jun;32(2):173-83. Read more

McGrail KM, Lilly M, McGregor MJ, Broemeling A, Salomons K, Peterson S, McKendry R, Barer M. Who uses assisted living in British Columbia? : an initial exploration. Vancouver (BC): UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research; 2012. Read more

Sivananthan SN, Peterson S, Lavergne R, Barer ML, McGrail KM. Designation, diligence and drift: understanding laboratory expenditure increases in British Columbia, 1996/97 to 2005/06.  BMC Health Serv Res. 2012 Dec 21;12:472. Read more

Koehoorn M, McLeod CB, Fan J, McGrail KM, Barer ML, Côté P, Hogg-Johnson S. Do private clinics or expedited fees reduce disability duration for injured workers following knee surgery? Healthc Policy. 2011 Aug;7(1):55-70. Read more

McGrail KM, Evans RG, Barer ML, Kerluke KJ, McKendry R. Diagnosing senescence: contributions to physician expenditure increases in British Columbia, 1996/97 to 2005/06. Healthc Policy. 2011 Aug;7(1):41-54. Read more

Sutherland JM, McGrail KM, Law MR, Barer ML, Crump RT. British Columbia hospitals: examination and assessment of payment reform (B-CHeaPR). BMC Health Serv Res. 2011 Jun 24;11:150. Read more

Sutherland JM, Barer ML, Evans RG, Crump RT. Will paying the piper change the tune? Healthc Policy. 2011 May;6(4):14-21. Read more

Evans RG, Barer ML, Hertzman C, Roos NP, Wolfson M. Why are some books important (and others not)? Can J Public Health. 2010 Nov-Dec;101(6):433-5. Read more

Older publications