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Using OHS Data for Research

With 225,000 participants, the Ontario Health Study (OHS) is a rich resource for researchers investigating cancer and other chronic diseases. Researchers can now apply for access to de-identified data and biospecimens collected by the Study.

Here’s what you need to know about using OHS data for research:

  • Collaboration amongst researchers is strongly encouraged to maximize the access to and use of Study data and biosamples.
  • Access is time-limited and for approved analyses only.
  • Proposals will be accepted for access to:
    – Questionnaire data
    – Physical measures
    – Biorepository materials
  • OHS data can be linked with datasets through data custodians such as ICES and Cancer Care Ontario.
  • Only de-identified data and biosamples will be provided to investigators.
  • Exclusive access to any data and/or biosamples will not be permitted.
  • Researchers will not receive exclusive access to an analysis or question of interest.

Applications will be reviewed by our Data Access Committee who will consider:

  • Scientific merit of the research project
  • Potential impact on research participants
  • Appropriate use of limited resources

Latest Research Underway Using OHS Data

Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are the primary causes of death in Canadian adults and treating these and other illnesses costs the Canadian health care system billions of dollars annually. The researchers using Ontario Health Study data are investigating factors that increase the risk of developing various diseases, as well as what can be done to reduce the chance of developing them. These risk factors may include where people live and work, what they eat, how much they exercise, whether they smoke and other factors that have not yet been identified.

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CanPath Webinar: Using population cohorts to support COVID-19 research

Aug 27, 2020

Dr. Philip Awadalla, (National Scientific Director, CanPath; Executive Scientific Director, Ontario Health Study) discusses how data from large population health cohorts like CanPath can be harnessed to support research into COVID-19 such as the socioeconomic and mental health impact, as well as disease severity, infection rates, and mapping of where people are most likely to

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What’s behind a cancer diagnosis in women under 50? Researcher looks to OHS data for clues

Feb 3, 2020

A University of Calgary epidemiologist is using data from Ontario Health Study (OHS) participants to explore how environmental or lifestyle factors could be associated with breast cancer in younger women. Dr. Darren Brenner recently gained approval to study the de-identified data for female participants who were ages 35 to 50 and cancer-free at the time they

Latest Research Findings Resulting from OHS Data

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Physical Activity is Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Self-Reported Obstructive Sleep Apnea in a Large, General Population Cohort Study

Aug 6, 2020

Former Principal Investigator of the Ontario Health Study, Dr. Lyle Palmer, co-authored this paper on the positive impact of physical activity on sleep apnea. Read the abstract (A subscription is required to access the full paper.) Learn more about the project in this Forbes article

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Harmonization of the Health and Risk Factor Questionnaire data of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project: a descriptive analysis

Apr 23, 2019

The Ontario Health Study is one of five regional cohorts that make up the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, a health research platform using data and biosamples from more than 300,000 Canadians. The complex process of harmonizing a subset of data collected by each of the five regional cohorts, so that they are standardized and