Robert Evans


Emeritus Faculty, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research
Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC


A founding member of the Centre, Dr. Evans is a lifelong leader in academia and an internationally esteemed health economist. His groundbreaking comparative studies of health care systems and funding strategies have shaped policy in Canada and provided insight to governments and health agencies worldwide. A decorated academic, Professor Evans is the recipient of Canada’s highest honour for lifetime achievement, as an Officer of the Order of Canada. He also served as a member of the British Columbia Royal Commission on Health Care and Costs in 1990, and of the National Forum on Health, chaired by the prime minister of Canada, from 1994 to 1997. His canonical works, “Strained Mercy: The Economics of Canadian Health Care” and “Why Are Some People Healthy and Others Not? The Determinants of Health of Populations” are considered classics in the field.

In addition to serving as an Officer of the Order of Canada, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Institute Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, where he was director of the Population Health Program from 1987 to 1997. He is also an honorary life member of the Canadian College of Health Services Executives and of the Canadian Health Economics Research Association, and a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (US). In 2001, he became the first Canadian (and the second non-American) to win the Baxter International Foundation Prize for Health Services Research.

2016 CHSPR Health Policy Conference

For nearly three decades, CHSPR’s annual conference has provided a platform for thought-provoking dialogues on emerging research in the health services and policy domain. In April 2016 in Vancouver, the conference celebrated the career of Canada’s Undisciplined Economist, Robert G. Evans. Bob Evans has spent his career exposing “inconvenient truths” about the impacts of interests, positions, and policies in the health realm. The conference, intended to celebrate the vision, contributions and impacts of that body of work, featured speakers addressing some of Bob’s most visible lifetime preoccupations. Conference themes included international perspectives on contemporary Canadian health policy challenges, health care financing, other current health policy issues such as legal challenges, and the role of broader health determinants. Conference summary

The Robert G. Evans Legacy Fund

CHSPR has established a series of awards to continue Bob’s legacy and to advance leadership in the field. Your gift will support bursaries for new trainees and visiting lectureships by internationally-recognized researchers whose work is advancing our understanding of health care system organization and financing. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by CHSPR. More


PhD, Economics, Harvard University
BA, Political Economy, University of Toronto

Affiliations and Awards

  • Officer, Order of Canada
  • University Killam Professor, UBC
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • Baxter International Foundation Prize for Health Services Research
  • Professor Jacob Biely Faculty Research Prize, UBC
  • Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
  • National Health Research Scientist award, UBC
  • Health Services Research Advancement Award, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, 2002
  • Senior Investigator award, CIHR, 2001 to 2005

Recent Publications

In September 2016 McGill-Queens University Press released “An Undisciplined Economist: Robert G. Evans on Health Economics, Health Care Policy, and Population Health.” Edited by Morris L. Barer, Greg L. Stoddart, Kimberlyn M. McGrail, and Chris B. McLeod, the volume collects Evans’ most important contributions and includes two new articles. More information and to order

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

Evans RG. Of Mussels and Men. Healthc Policy. 2016 Aug;12(1):12-7. Read more

Evans RG. Health, Wealth and the Price of Oil. Healthc Policy. 2016 May;11(4):12-9. Read more

Evans RG. Migrants, Manpower and Math in the Coming Europe. Healthc Policy. 2015 Nov;11(2):13-19. 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

Evans RG. A New Paradigm For Health Economics? We Already Have Three! Nordic Journal of Health Economics, 1,1 (2012); 1-16. Read more

Evans RG. Putting some mustard into economic growth. Healthc Policy. 2012 Nov;8(2):14-22. Read more

Evans RG. A Casualty in the Class War: Canada's Medicare. Healthc Policy. 2012 Feb;7(3):14-22. Read more

Evans RG.  Stumbling over iron rice bowls: the quest for integrated continuing care for the elderly.  Healthc Pap. 2011;11(1):36-40; discussion 86-91. Read more

Evans RG. Hancocked: Manulife and the limits of private health insurance. Healthc Policy. 2011 Aug;7(1):14-21. Read more

Evans RG. The Sorcerer's Apprentices. Healthc Policy. 2011 Nov;7(2):14-22. 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

Evans RG. The TSX gives a short course in health economics: it's the prices, stupid!  Healthc Policy. 2010 Nov;6(2):13-23. Read more

Evans RG. Tough on crime? Pfizer and the CIHR. Healthc Policy. 2010 May;5(4):16-25. Read more

Older publications